Texas A&M Head Coach, Pat Henry, is a recognized master at coaching the sprints. One of the things that makes a master coach is the ability to take a complex action, such as moving your body at maximum speed, and breaking that action down. It also is the sign of a master coach to be able to teach those points in a clear manner to other coaches and athletes. Many coaches are familiar with the “high knee” or “A-march” drill, but may not be aware of its importance for building correct sprint mechanics. For Coach Henry, in his own words…”This is where we start..” This drill develops the mechanics and posture needed for sprinting. Take a look at some special coaching points below the video:
1) The athlete needs to have an “ankle cocked” position. The “ankle cocked” position allows rebound and spring and proper form. “Toe –up” and “Ankle-Up” and even “Dorsi-flexed” are all cues to get the athlete to get the proper position. The foot should land under the knee, not be reaching forward.
2) Separation of the arms is important. By this Coach Henry means that the arms should be driving both forward and back. As a coach from the side you should be able to see both elbows as the athlete drives, one reaching forward, the other driving back. The arms are active, and from the front the motion you see should be backwards and forward, with little if any cross body action.
3) The athlete should be tall as they run. The body from the hips up is erect, with no or little lean forward and none backwards. A good coaching point in this series is that “the athlete should be two inches taller as they run.” Basically the extension of the legs into full position gives you this “tallness” in running.
View an additional clip from Texas A&M Track & Field Series – Drills and Progressions for Championship Sprints, Starts and Relays. See what other Sprints DVDs we have in our world class Track & Field DVD collection!
In this week’s edition of All Access we take you to the campus of Texas A&M for a in-depth look into The Aggies Pole Vault Program. Coach Jim VanHootegem and Assistant jumps coach Mike Bina take you through drills & progressions that help make their vaulters some of the best in the country. From their beginning multi jump series, sprint mechanics with the pole, pole plant progression, and specific pole vault strength training with a clear progression will be given to aid even the most advanced pole vaulter.
Multi Jump Progression with stubby:
The progression is started with a single leg bound, and progresses to a double-double. From here the bounding sequence is done both medially and laterally. This series of multi jumps helps the vaulter work the shoulders as well as the legs.
Tips: While doing this progression let the ground come to you. If done correctly the shoulders should counter the hip movement. The movement should be harmonious from the hips to the ankle, and continuously maintaining tall posture.
Sprint Mechanics with Pole:
The progression begins with jogging in place, and progressively adding more speed to the motion. From there a slow jog down the runway can be utilized still focusing on the cues given in the earlier progression. Once this progression is mastered the lowering and plant of the pole can be added, and can eventually lead to the build up with the pole.
Tips: The movement of the knees and hips must act as one unit. As the athlete jogs in place they should focus on relaxing their shoulders, and pushing their hips up. When completing the buildups the cues from earlier in the progression must still be emphasized.
In this crucial portion of the vault the correct timing of the plant timing is everything. Working from the “Shift-Lift-Push” or as it’s commonly known as the curl to press this progression helps the vaulter get into the proper position. From here walking plant drills from a 5 step thru 9 step is demonstrated, and transitions the vaulter into a jogging progression utilizing the same step pattern. Next the wall plants come into play where the pole bend can be utilized while working on the plant fundamentals.
Tips: When setting your plant keep your top hand above your toes. A visual cue to begin the pole plant is when the pole is at eye level.
Specific Strength Training for the Pole Vault:
The strength training begins with static Bubka’s, and progresses to swing Bubkas which are all preformed from a high bar or raised squat rack. From there you progress to L-ups, V-Ups, J-Ups, Wipers, and Muscle ups which are all performed on a high bar.
Tips: For the Bubka’s keep feet above the bar, and roll the shoulders back while extending your hips towards the bar. For the wipers keep your feet above the bar with the hips above the shoulders.
See additional clips on the product page of “Texas A&M Track & Field Series – Drills and Progressions for Championship Pole Vault.” Check out more high quality Pole Vault DVDs from our large selection of Track & Field DVDs.
We have 8 new Track & Field DVDs featuring the Texas A&M coaching staff! They are back-to-back-to-back NCAA Champions and Head Coach Pat Henry was the Head Coach for the U.S. National Track & Field team in the 2007 Olympics. The titles of these recent Track & Field DVDs are:
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