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Any track coach will tell you that the approach is the key to the pole vault. In this segment Indiana State Pole Vault Coach, Jeff Martin, takes you through a simple drill that will help your athletes improve their acceleration mechanics on the runway. Adaptable to any area coaches may have to practice, this drill only requires the athlete’s pole and a couple of cones.
The coach chooses the distance between the cones for the athlete to perform a progression of acceleration mechanics- ankle steps- high knees- jog- run. Athletes get the feel of the acceleration progression and coaches get an opportunity to provide simple verbal cues to improve the vaulter’s acceleration and approach in a controlled environment, while not taking up valuable run-way space.
John Gartland, 10x Missouri Valley Conference Coach of the Year, explains a simple drill that will get your athletes to lean from their ankles and improve their approach, leading to higher jumps. This drill will improve the flexibility in the ankles of your athletes and make them think about their approach footwork in an easy-to-follow way.
Gartland shows you how to set-up the drill, which is based on each individual jumper’s approach. A circle is drawn in chalk or tape on the track and athletes perform the drill while the coach provides feedback. This drill will help your athletes keep their speed at an optimum during their approach, because your jumpers will learn to not lose speed from the approach. This drill can be performed during any part of the season and will be a useful addition to any track coach’s high jump drills progression.
Maurice Wilson was the Jamaican National Team Head Coach at the 2012 Olympic Games, and now he shows you a great drill for working on explosive power during the acceleration phase of the sprints. Athletes will perform an under-hand squat toss with a medicine ball. This will focus on triple extension of the hips, knees, and ankles which is key in explosive power.
Two athletes preform this drill. Both times the film is shown in regular speed and slow-motion so that you can see the breakdown of the drill. Coach Wilson gives cues on what to look for with hip placement of the athletes. This is a great drill to isolate and teach explosive power for starting out of the blocks and the acceleration phase. This drill can be done all year and in any gym or track complex.
Kansas State University Head Track and Field Coach, Cliff Rovelto, provides you with a great drill for working on sprint mechanics that will help with the max velocity phase of the hurdle events. Here, the athlete performs an “A” Run over 4 banana hurdles. This will teach sprint mechanics for the later part of the hurdle event.
One athlete performs this drill. The athlete is staying tall with his thighs parallel to the ground, an important part to applying force into the ground. Coach Rovelto gives an excellent explanation of this drill and goes into why drills are done during practice. This is a great drill to teach running tall and the importance of front side mechanics in applying force into the ground. This drill can be done all year and in any gym or track complex to help give greater meaning to why sprint mechanics are so important during the second half of any sprint/hurdle event.
Here high jumpers will have the opportunity to learn a penultimate drill that focuses on arm movement. Indiana State University Women’s Track & Field Assistant Coach, John Gartland, has a male and female athlete demonstrate how to drive the arms upward to increase your height.
Athletes will make a short approach in a half circle. Also, it is important for athletes to maximize their speed before getting to the penultimate step before takeoff.