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Thread: Training a bunch of high school athletes (asking for feedback)

  1. #1
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    Training a bunch of high school athletes (asking for feedback)

    Hi CF forums,

    Currently coaching a large group of high school athletes. More personally accountable for the hurdlers, but I also coach sprinters (when I can) with a fellow high school teacher.

    May 10th is the meet that matters.

    Spoke to ESTI and here are some lessons I've found extremely valuable:

    1) "realize that you only have XX practices left."
    2) put them in groups, let them run fast with competitive juices.
    3) tip hurdles to get athlete to run over with aggression
    4) Telling them that what's going on is max velocity work won't be max velocity. Making them try their hardest will get them closer to Max V.
    5) Don't get too cute with drills. Especially with the time I have left. Just let them run.
    6) time them in runs to get them to try harder and run faster

  2. #2
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    Re: Training a bunch of high school athletes (asking for feedback)

    The biggest preoccupation I'm dealing with is teaching them how to push.

    I want to make sure every session, we are getting better at acceleration.

    When I get a lot of them hold a fence to do wall posture drills, they are all inclined to kick back (ankle to butt), instead of stepping down. This very simple thing is hard to coach given the number of the entire squad. I believe there are 60+ people coming out for sprints/hurdles on a sunny day.

    I realized from day 1 that I talked too much. I loved worshipping my philosophy, my knowledge, my plan. But on careful reflection, I understood that decorating their minds with my knowledge would never make them run fast, even if they understood what I was saying. The athletes need only feel, not know. Some of the fastest people don't care a fig about how to run fast... but if they know how to run fast... well done coach! Every session, I try to say less and less.

    Put the athlete in a position where they can run fast... do that repeatedly... and they will succeed.

    I've been trying to demonstrate that way of coaching a lot more.

    Does anyone have successful methods/strategies to teach acceleration to a big group of people with minimal cueing?

    I remembered Charlie's push up starts just this morning, but it was raining today and I rather they skip that. Need to give that a go next week. I have them Tuesday and Thursday.

    Today I had 2 strategies I wanted to try out.

    10 standing jumps holding onto a fence. Tell them for the first jump, get AS HIGH as possible. And gradually quickening it up by lowering height. At the end it should be very quick. Would sound like this: BOOOOM BOOOM BOOM Boomboomboombombom. You're still pushing down with prejudice, but you travel less high because you quickened ground contact, not because you tried less hard. I paired it with some audio feedback where I would make noise that corresponds to the quickening of the rhythm.

    I wanted to do the same with standing horizontal jumps. Jump as far as you can the gradually make it more dynamic, reactive, and quick.

    I then made them do 4x20m submax (because of the rain) and I think it kind of helped. Created a situation where they did what I want and I challenged them to mimic it in the acceleration runs. Push up starts definitely might have been thousand times easier to execute tho!

    Always learning.

    In the beginning, I tried teaching deliberation. I told them that stepping down, and posture were the only things needing work. I told them when they run, it should feel like a march.

    I went home.. .realized I didn't even have them march in warmup!! NEVER, ever tell someone to do something that you didn't give time and attention for. Analogical learning requires that they be familiar with the task at hand in some former context. I vowed to never do that again.

    Right now I'm trying to see if I can improve their strength levels through multi-jumps to get them in full ranges of motion. A lot of them cannot hit the hard 'post'.

  3. #3
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    Re: Training a bunch of high school athletes (asking for feedback)

    Quote Originally Posted by jccc110m View Post

    Does anyone have successful methods/strategies to teach acceleration to a big group of people with minimal cueing?
    Unless you have a decent hill near by, given 60 athletes, put them in 12 groups of 5 or 15 groups of 4 and see to it that each group has a strong belt, a 3m rope or strap, a couple carabiners, and something to serve as a sled. This can be some heavy chains, small tires, any weighted object secured on top of a piece of canvas or gortex...

    Find a way to make that happen. If need be, make each group accountable for pitching in an getting what they need (between 12 and 15 athletes per group it wouldn't take more than a few dollars per athlete to buy everything needed). If you go to a local tire store they will probably have a pile of tires you can select from for free and if they don't have any small enough go to an atv, motorcycle, or bicycle store and ask them if they have any used tires to get rid of.

  4. #4

    Re: Training a bunch of high school athletes (asking for feedback)

    Quote Originally Posted by jccc110m View Post
    Does anyone have successful methods/strategies to teach acceleration to a big group of people with minimal cueing?
    It's not just teaching technique. It's not just "power speed drills". You have to DEVELOP power>

    Standing Long Jumps
    Short bounds, long bounds
    hurdle hops
    Stadium Steps
    Box jumps onto high jump pit if you don't have boxes available

    This is one of John Smith's workouts for drive phase (do it from 3-pt, 3-4 min rest, so this is a little tedious):

    5X10m
    4X20m
    3X30m
    2X40m

  5. #5
    Administrator Angela Coon's Avatar
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    Re: Training a bunch of high school athletes (asking for feedback)

    Find creative ways to make things happen and do what you can without trying so hard and making things difficult.
    If the coaching becomes unsustainable then it ends and then where are you?
    Let's not forget John Smith had / has volumes that not all people will respond to. According to what little I have learned about John is you need to fit into his ideas and it's not the other way around.
    And.. high volumes or lots and lots of work are designed for certain programs which have zero to do with development.
    I like standing long jumps, short bounds, utilizing stadiums in moderation and one small box will do for a first phase for sure.

  6. #6
    Administrator Angela Coon's Avatar
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    Re: Training a bunch of high school athletes (asking for feedback)

    Quote Originally Posted by jccc110m View Post
    Hi CF forums,

    Currently coaching a large group of high school athletes. More personally accountable for the hurdlers, but I also coach sprinters (when I can) with a fellow high school teacher.

    May 10th is the meet that matters.

    Spoke to ESTI and here are some lessons I've found extremely valuable:

    1) "realize that you only have XX practices left."
    2) put them in groups, let them run fast with competitive juices.
    3) tip hurdles to get athlete to run over with aggression
    4) Telling them that what's going on is max velocity work won't be max velocity. Making them try their hardest will get them closer to Max V.
    5) Don't get too cute with drills. Especially with the time I have left. Just let them run.
    6) time them in runs to get them to try harder and run faster

    ESTI is a real scientist who takes info, puts it to work and evaluates and does a very good job getting results. He has experience with exactly what you are doing and has great advice.

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    Re: Training a bunch of high school athletes (asking for feedback)

    Quote Originally Posted by James Smith View Post
    Unless you have a decent hill near by, given 60 athletes, put them in 12 groups of 5 or 15 groups of 4 and see to it that each group has a strong belt, a 3m rope or strap, a couple carabiners, and something to serve as a sled. This can be some heavy chains, small tires, any weighted object secured on top of a piece of canvas or gortex...

    Find a way to make that happen. If need be, make each group accountable for pitching in an getting what they need (between 12 and 15 athletes per group it wouldn't take more than a few dollars per athlete to buy everything needed). If you go to a local tire store they will probably have a pile of tires you can select from for free and if they don't have any small enough go to an atv, motorcycle, or bicycle store and ask them if they have any used tires to get rid of.
    James I love the idea but it's definitely a riot in application. I figured anything requiring equipment is a no-go because of the sheer size of the group. Would be a good option on days where less people show up (early championship season) for sure tho.

    Say I do do it, I'd like to do it in a circuit where only some athletes are using the sleds while others are doing other work (because we have a limited number of sleds).
    Something like:

    Group A: Skips for distances, straight leg bounds, sled runs
    Group B: straight leg bounds, sled runs, skips for distances...

    Love the recommendation tho.

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    Re: Training a bunch of high school athletes (asking for feedback)

    Quote Originally Posted by lkh View Post
    It's not just teaching technique. It's not just "power speed drills". You have to DEVELOP power>

    Standing Long Jumps
    Short bounds, long bounds
    hurdle hops
    Stadium Steps
    Box jumps onto high jump pit if you don't have boxes available

    This is one of John Smith's workouts for drive phase (do it from 3-pt, 3-4 min rest, so this is a little tedious):

    5X10m
    4X20m
    3X30m
    2X40m
    Good stuff lkh. Always forget how good stadium runs can be in teaching big ranges. Think I never loved them because I myself could push long and hard without ever stepped in the stadium!

    For most of my athletes who don't have big ranges yet... I might complex accel runs with something that requires great pushing.

    i.e. 2x pushup starts, 1x20m run


    Quote Originally Posted by Angela Coon View Post
    Find creative ways to make things happen and do what you can without trying so hard and making things difficult.
    If the coaching becomes unsustainable then it ends and then where are you?
    Let's not forget John Smith had / has volumes that not all people will respond to. According to what little I have learned about John is you need to fit into his ideas and it's not the other way around.
    And.. high volumes or lots and lots of work are designed for certain programs which have zero to do with development.
    I like standing long jumps, short bounds, utilizing stadiums in moderation and one small box will do for a first phase for sure.

    Quote Originally Posted by Angela Coon View Post
    ESTI is a real scientist who takes info, puts it to work and evaluates and does a very good job getting results. He has experience with exactly what you are doing and has great advice.

    ESTI's philosophy definitely prioritizes optimizing over maximizing.. do as little as possible to get as much out. He knows how to keep the ship moving so well. True coach that recognizes the constraints of the situation instead of coaching in a vacuum.

  9. #9
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    Re: Training a bunch of high school athletes (asking for feedback)

    Quote Originally Posted by jccc110m View Post
    James I love the idea but it's definitely a riot in application. I figured anything requiring equipment is a no-go because of the sheer size of the group. Would be a good option on days where less people show up (early championship season) for sure tho.

    Say I do do it, I'd like to do it in a circuit where only some athletes are using the sleds while others are doing other work (because we have a limited number of sleds).
    Something like:

    Group A: Skips for distances, straight leg bounds, sled runs
    Group B: straight leg bounds, sled runs, skips for distances...

    Love the recommendation tho.
    Keep in mind the challenges in managing logistics are only as significant as you allow them to be. When I first started coaching I was an advisor to a high school Physical Education department. I had classes of over 100 students at a time (over 300 in total). I, with the aid of two other coaches, ran all +300 through a physical test battery (sprints, jumps, throws, 800m, 1mile, calisthenics) and I then created performance curves and generated three training groups based on alactic locomotive, aerobic locomotive, and calisthenics performance. In this way, during every class, there were three classes occurring simultaneously (I supervised one group and the two other coaches supervised the other two).

    In addition, both at the high school and collegiate level, when working with American football, there were times when I would single handedly manage +60 players.

    Point, I know what it is like to manage large groups and if accountability is instilled, and demanded, from day one, the challenge of orchestrating the large group is mitigated.

  10. #10

    Re: Training a bunch of high school athletes (asking for feedback)

    Quote Originally Posted by James Smith View Post
    Unless you have a decent hill near by, given 60 athletes, put them in 12 groups of 5 or 15 groups of 4 and see to it that each group has a strong belt, a 3m rope or strap, a couple carabiners, and something to serve as a sled. This can be some heavy chains, small tires, any weighted object secured on top of a piece of canvas or gortex...

    Find a way to make that happen. If need be, make each group accountable for pitching in an getting what they need (between 12 and 15 athletes per group it wouldn't take more than a few dollars per athlete to buy everything needed). If you go to a local tire store they will probably have a pile of tires you can select from for free and if they don't have any small enough go to an atv, motorcycle, or bicycle store and ask them if they have any used tires to get rid of.
    I was going to suggest sleds.

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