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Contents Volume 12 Number 2 / November 2018




in every issue


4 5


A Letter From the President USTFCCCA Presidents


52 USTFCCCA Coaches Hall of Fame Class of 2018 54 2018 Bowerman Finalists

Triple Jumpers

Different characteristics between male and female Iliyan Chamov

18 The High Jumper

Strength and conditioning John Cissik

30 Javelin Delivery Alignment Wrap & linear approaches

Kurt Dunkel, MS

40 Young Coaches 5 stops along the road map

Chris Parno

on the COVER: University of Georgia standout and 3 time Bowerman Finalist Keturah Orji. Photograph by Kirby Lee Image of Sport photo

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ith the Championship segment of the 2018 Cross Country season upon us, it’s also nearly time for our annual business meeting and USTFCCCA Convention. I hope you have already made plans to join us for another outstanding few days of professional development, networking opportunities, and deliberative action within each of our divisions and sports. If you haven’t yet planned to attend, please visit the USTFCCCA website to learn more about the upcoming USTFCCCA Convention in San Antonio, Texas on December 17-20. One of my favorite elements of our convention each year is the induction of another group of legendary coaches into our Hall of Fame. This year’s class of Dr. Artis Davenport, Karen Dennis, Ron Mann, Damon Martin, John McNichols, and Dan Pfaff is truly outstanding. They are truly models of hard work, dedication, and a commitment to excellence for each of us to aspire to in our coaching careers. This year is a very special year for us in awarding the 2018 men’s and women’s winners of The Bowerman. This year is the tenth anniversary of The Bowerman, and we are looking forward to an incredible evening on Thursday, December 20 surrounding that event. We also will recognize the National High School Cross Country and Track & Field Coaches of the Year, and we will honor our NCAA and NAIA programs that earned Program of the Year for their excellence across the sports of Cross Country, Indoor Track & Field, and Outdoor Track & Field. As many of you know, our Convention is about so much more than awards and recognition. The Convention is also where we hold our annual business meetings, both as an association and as individual divisions and sports within the USTFCCCA. The deliberative process is an important one, one in which we bring our own knowledge and perspectives to bear on important issues, and also listen to and learn from the knowledge and perspectives of our coaching colleagues. The goal is that we find common ground on which to come together for the betterment of our sports, our student-athletes, and our profession, working together and seeking consensus on sometimes-difficult issues. We also have the opportunity at Convention to interact with the many vendors who support our Association and our sports throughout the year. Whether you’re considering upgrades or improvements to your facilities, equipment, uniforms, training aids, or awards, USTFCCCA sponsors and supporters will be glad to talk to you about how they can meet the needs of your team. I hope you will take some time during the Convention to stop by these vendor booths and learn more about their products and services. As I do at this time each year, I want to ask each of you to get involved in our coaches association. If you’re not yet involved, consider serving on one of our committees. If you are already serving on a committee, consider whether you might serve as an Officer. We have numerous ways for coaches in every division to become more involved in the leadership of our Association, not just at the Convention but throughout the year, and I encourage you to consider how you might best be of service to our sports. The success of this Association, and of our profession as a whole, truly depends on commitment from each of us. Best wishes to you in the Championships segment of the Cross Country season or in your preparations for the Indoor Track & Field season! Be sure to stay plugged in to the USTFCCCA website for the latest news on the Cross Country season and our postseason awards. I look forward to seeing many of you in San Antonio in December!

DENNIS SHAVER President, USTFCCCA Dennis Shaver is the head men’s and women’s track and field coach at Louisiana State University. Dennis can be reached at


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Publisher Sam Seemes Executive Editor Mike Corn DIRECTOR OF MEDIA, BROADCASTING AND ANALYTICS Tom Lewis Membership Services Kristina Taylor communications Tyler Mayforth, Matthew Schaefer Photographer Kirby Lee editorial Board Tommy Badon, Todd Lane, Boo Schexnayder, Derek Yush ART DIRECTOR Tiffani Reding Amedeo

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Techniques (ISSN 1939-3849) is published quarterly in February, May, August and November by the U.S. Track & Field and Cross Country Coaches Association. Copyright 2018. All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced in any manner, in whole or in part, without the permission of the publisher. techniques is not responsible for unsolicited manuscripts, photos and artwork even if accompanied by a self-addressed stamped envelope. The opinions expressed in techniques are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the view of the magazines’ managers or owners. Periodical Postage Paid at New Orleans La and Additional Entry Offices. POSTMASTER: Send address changes to: USTFCCCA, PO Box 55969, Metairie, LA 70055-5969. If you would like to advertise your business in techniques, please contact Mike Corn at (504) 599-8900 or


Connie Price-Smith NCAA Division 1 Track & Field

vicki mitchell NCAA Division I Cross Country

Connie Price-Smith is the head men’s and women’s track and field coach at the University of Mississippi. Connie can be reached at

Vicki Mitchell is the director of track and field and cross country at the University of Buffalo. Vicki can be reached at

Kevin LaSure NCAA Division II Track & Field

Jim Vahrenkamp NCAA Division II Cross Country

Kevin is the head track and field coach at Academy of Art University. Kevin can be reached at

Jim Vahrenkamp is the Director of cross country and track and field at Queens University. Jim can be reached at

Jason Maus

Dara Ford

Jason is the head cross country and track and field coach at Ohio Northern University and can be reached at

Dara is the head cross country and track and field coach at Otterbein University and can be reached at

Mike McDowell NAIA Track & Field

Heike McNeil NAIA Cross Country

Mike McDowell is the head men’s and women’s track and field coach at Olivet Nazarene University. Mike can be reached at

Heike McNeil is the head track and field and cross county coach at Northwest Christian University. Heike Can be reached at

Ted Schmitz NJCAA Track & Field

Don Cox NJCAA Cross Country

Ted Schmitz is the head track and field coach at Cloud County Community College. Ted can be reached at

Don Cox is the head track and field and cross country coach at Cuyahoga Community College. Don can be reached at





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Triple Jumpers The different characteristics of male and female jumpers Iliyan Chamov

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University of Missouri photo


n the beginning of the twentieth century, the triple jump gained popularity in the USA, and later on in Europe and rest of the world. Until the end of nineteenth century, there had been an eclectic variety of jumping techniques. Athletes had the freedom to use the Step-Step-Jump, Hop-Hop-Jump, or the traditional Hop-Step-Jump. First Olympic Champion in Athens 1896, James Connolly from the USA, jumped 13.71m. using the Hop-Hop-Jump technique. After the creation of IAAF, in 1912 world records are accepted only with performance of Hop-Step-Jump technique. Rapid development and progression of the triple jump is observed after the creation of the modern Olympic Games in 1896. Women’s triple jump was an event officially accepted by IAAF calendar in 1990 and officially accepted at the Olympic Games in 1996. The world record holder Inessa Kravets achieved 15.50m. (50’10.25”) in 1995. She is also the first Olympic champion in 1996 with 15.33m (50’3.5”) (Table 1). It is statistically proven that triple jump results depend on a few basic parameters such as speed, power, elastic strength and technique. Considering females and males athletes have anatomical, physiological, neurological and psychological differences, the practice plan has to be constructed differently for both genders. Anatomical differences Anatomical differences between men and women are significantly present in bone density, bone length, tendon elasticity, and muscle mass including body fat percentage. One of the biggest differences affecting the athletic performance between male and females is the structure of the pelvis. The female pelvis is naturally wider compared to the male pelvis. The female femur has a smaller angle with the acetabulum (the hip joint), which causes naturally, non-pathological, genu valgum positions in the knees. The described hip joint angle causes lateral/vertical pull in the quadriceps, which with overuse through vigorous physical activities, may cause patella tendinitis (Shepard, 2000). This angle of the hip joint also causes a less developed

vastus medialis, leading to less strength in the quadriceps compared to men. Shepard (2000) indicates that women have fewer type II fibers and smaller type II/type I fiber ratios than men in vastus lateralis muscle. We can see the obvious difference in the pelvic structure and femur angle leading to smaller, weaker vastus medialis and more stretch in rectus femoris respectively, leading to pull on the patella tendon (Figure 1). The width of the female pelvis and the shorter bone structure brings the center of gravity lower to the ground compared to males. The lower center of gravity provides better stability and coordination, but limits the potential of longer/higher jumps and shortens the length of the stride during running/sprinting (Figure 2). Due to the lower center of gravity of women, and a greater distribution of weight towards the hips and thighs, women normally enjoy greater range of motion in the hip joint than men. The average range of movement and joint flexibility of women is ± 7% better than that of men. Males have biologically less body fat compared to females. Dr. Asker Jeukendrup and Dr. Michael Gleeson suggested normal ranges for body fat percentage among jumpers are 7-12% for males and 10-18% for females. Body fat percentage is a critical factor in the triple jump. It is proven that gravitational forces in the hop phase during the triple jump are 12-15 times greater than personal body weight (Pertunen et al, 2000). If an athlete has 2-3% extra body fat, that could potentially lead to more than 100lb additional gravitational load during the hop phase. Considering the gravitational forces during the hop phase, male jumpers have advantages because of the natural strength and bigger muscle fiber cross-section compared to female triple jumpers. Exposed to the same training conditions, male jumpers will develop 2% more muscle mass than female triple jumpers per week. Shepard (2000) states women have 30% less muscle mass than males. Based on that statement, less anaerobic power is present in females because of phosphagen stores per unit volume of muscle. Creatine

Phosphate (CP) is stored in to the muscles, when needed supplies phosphate to ADP to produce ATP (Robergs and Roberts 1997). These advantages allow the male jumpers to use more speed on the runway and withstand higher gravitational demands while executing more desirable biomechanical positions through the triple jump phases. Physiological differences Before the construction of the mesocycle and training blocks, coaches had to consider the hormonal level and maximum oxygen consumption of the female athletes. Lea and Febiger (2000) suggested women recover slower than men post exercise based on their lower level of V2Omax and the amount of blood pumped through the heart. Another physiological factor that has to be taken under consideration is the menstrual cycle and hormonal changes occurring prior, during and post menstruation. In most cases, female athletes continue to compete independent of their physiological condition and menstrual phase. For that reason, adopting changes during preparation should be considered in accordance to the physical needs and the hormonal calendars of female triple jumpers (Sharhilina, 2000). A typical menstrual cycle of 28 days is divided in few phases. The first phase is 14 days, called the Follicular Phase (FP). After the FP, ovulation usually occurs on the 15th day lasting few days and this is followed by the Luteal Phase (LP) (Fischetto and Sax, 2013). The biggest hormonal inconsistency during menstruation is observed with three different hormones which directly affect the practice and performance of female jumpers. These three hormones are estrogen, progesterone and relaxin. Oosthuyse and Bosch (2010) described progesterone and estrogen are both regulated by the Luteinizing hormone (LH) and Follicular Stimulating Hormone (FSH). These hormones are secreted by the pituitary gland. The pituitary gland is modulated by the hypothalamus, through the Gonadotropin-Releasing Hormone (GnRH), and is influenced by a number november 2018 techniques


triple jumpers

Table 1

Men’s World Record 18.29m (60’0”)

Women’s World Record

Jonathan Edwards(GBR)

15.50m (50’10”)

Men’s USA Record 18.21m (59’8.75”)

Christian Taylor

Junior Men’s World Record 17.50m (57’4.75”)


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14.71m (48’3.25”)

Keturah Orji

Junior Women’s World Record

Volker Mai (GDR)

of factors including stress, exercise and metabolic status. This domino effect of hormones controlling the physiological state can be influenced by physical activities and stress. As coaches, we can control the physical loads, such as duration and intensity, and if applied properly, these can lead the body and the hormonal levels to a healthy and athletically productive physiological state. Negative effects during the menstrual cycle include abdominal pain, cramps, water retention and mood changes associated with the beginning of the LP (premenstrual week) and first day of the cycle with bleeding itself. Menstruation is linked with increased fatigue and higher incidents of physical injuries. Increased basal body temperature, heart rate, and ventilation at rest also give subjective feelings of increased exertion (Fischetto and Sax, 2013). Lebrun et al., 1995, clarified that decreased reaction time and neuromuscular coordination is also observed during the period of menstruation. It is highly recommended that practice volume and intensity should decrease during this period. The positive effects start immediately postmenstruation. Healthy menstruating woman appear stronger in the mid LP, which is attributed to increased progesterone levels compared to the late FP, with increased estrogen levels when lowest strength levels are recorded. Physically acute exercises promote increased levels of androgens in women. This happens through decreased liver blood flow during exercise. Adrenal gland synthesis increases along with increase release of prolactin (PRL) from the pituitary gland. Acute exercises also reduce the conversion to estrogen due to decreased amount of fat cells (Enea et al., 2011). The lower levels of estrogen caused by acute exercises allow

Inessa Kravets (UKR)

Women’s USA Record

14.62m (47’11.5”)

Tereza Marinova(BUL)

the myelin sheath in females to thicken and help with increase salutatory conduction and the speed of the nerve impulse (Haier, 2005). Adaptation of training to the menstrual cycle has to be taken under careful consideration if the highest level of performance is desired. However, Fischetto and Sax (2013) indicated that females’ testosterone levels peak around ovulation. It might be beneficial to plan for more intense

figure 1

strength training sessions and even competitions during that time frame. A higher level of testosterone helps for the growth of the soma and the dendrites, which causes better myelination and nerve impulse translation. Decreasing volume, intensity and technical work during the late LP into the first days of menstruation is highly recommended. Progesterone levels are high in the morning, so more benefits in weightlifting will be observed in the morn-

triple jumpers

figure 3

ing sessions followed by a second powerspeed oriented session in the afternoon. Wrublevsky (2004) demonstrated the physical load, isodynamic exercises, and stress can naturally boost the testosterone levels of females. The natural peak of testosterone levels after morning weight lifting sessions will be carried in to the second training session in the afternoon. Moreover, with lifting in the morning, female athletes will achieve post activation potentiation (PAP) effect towards the second training session in the afternoon. The neurological system will fire at a high rate during the isodynamic to isokinetic training protocol during the weightlifting session and will be carried into the afternoon training session. Afterward, in long term application changes in threshold of innervation are observed. While coaching females, it is important to be aware of the possibility the athlete may be using oral contraceptives (OC). OC cause water retention, leading to increased body weight potentially up to 4.5lb. As referenced earlier in the article, a few extra pounds can be critical for female triple jumpers considering the gravitational forces during the hop phase in the triple jump. OC can also increase the core body temperature, which can lead to negative effects in speed endurance exercises done in warm climates. Another negative effect of the OC is the increased secretion of the hormone relaxin. High levels of relaxin are associated with increased flexibility in the muscle fibers, potentially leading muscle strains. Relaxin also can have a direct 12

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effect on muscle-tendon elasticity, respectively to the Golgi tendons (Fischetto and Sax, 2013). Neuromuscular differences It is visually and statistically clear females have less explosive strength than males. Compound Muscle Action Potential (CMAP) is done as an electromyography investigation. The CMAP idealizes the summation of a group of almost simultaneous action potential from several muscle fibers in the same area. Research shows that males have increased CMAP in all tested motor nerves. We have to take a deeper look into the neurological structure of females and males to determine the main reason for gender differences (Figure 3). Neurons are the main structure sending electrical impulses through the body. Willing motion originates from our brain and travels to the muscle fibers we want to activate, known as efferent path. The structure of the neuron has significant gender differences. The size of the neurons, the size of the soma and the thickness of the myelin sheath are significantly different in males and females. The size of the soma is determined mainly by the level of the testosterone and estrogen in the body. Testosterone also has an effect on the thickness of the myelin sheath. Myelin is the insulation over the core of a nerve fiber or axon that facilitates the transmission of nerve impulses. The thickness of the myelin sheath determines the speed of the electrical impulses transmitted along the nerve cells, which leads to quicker

reaction and stronger signals responsible for more explosive, powerful movements. The majority of the myelin formation happens naturally during childhood. This is an important part for developing general motor patterns and motor abilities, along with improving the nerve impulses leading to greater strength. It is recommended that females start at an early age with low intensity plyometrics, such as ankle jumps, alternate bounding, and bunny hops. Progressively increasing the load and intensity of the plyometrics with age assists the myelin sheath to thicken accordingly. Strong impulses and increasing the action potential level of the nerve can happen with explosive types of exercises such as high impact plyometrics, depth jumps and dynamic exercises with additional resistance. Moreover, using dynamic exercises with resistance with female triple jumpers in the appropriate part of the macrocycle will increase the natural level of the testosterone and thickening of the myelin sheath. Women are capable of storing elastic energy in the stretched muscle more readily than men (Aura and Komi, 1986). As we know, the stretch reflex is highly used terminology among coaches and power events specialists. The stronger the stretch reflex, the more power the athlete produces. Evidence of differences in the amplitude in stretch reflex between both genders is present. The graphic (Table 2) shows Achilles Tendon Reflex under impact in females and males. Females tend to have a higher amplitude of stretch

triple jumpers figure 3

reflex, which translates in less power production and prolonged ground contact (Nance et al., 2001). Without rapid concentric motion after the eccentric, or a prolonged eccentric phase, elastic energy is wasted and lost as heat. Therefore, the stretch reflex cannot be used (Beachle and Earle, 2008). Neuromuscular performance can be measured by static and dynamic strength. In association with the triple jump event, dynamic strength is more important for the athlete compared to static strength. Plyometric training drills should be practiced at the same or similar speed to the triple jump event (Lauder and Payton,1995). Men demonstrate more aggressive neuromuscular growth compared to little or no change in women during puberty. Neuromuscular increase may be defined as increased power, strength, and coordination that occurs as a positive correlation with age to male athletes and shows a negative or no correlation to female athletes. For example, vertical jump develops gradually in males during puberty, but no improvements are present in females (Quatman, 2005). A study states that in girls, peak power occurs before, or in early college age. The reason is a greater musculoskeletal growth during puberty, in absence of effective neuromuscular adaptation. This is one of the main factors leading to neuromuscular imbalance in girls (Hewitt et al., 2005). During puberty, exercises with coordination characteristics for female athletes are crucial for the 14

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table 2

future development of improved triple jump technique. Most of the European and Cuban female triple jumpers start involvement with triple jump technical exercises from the age of 14. The early exposure to triple jump biomechanics is closing the gap between physical growth and neuromuscular imbalances. Psychological Differences At the top level of performance, there has been no proof of motivational differences based on gender. However, among the youth and junior age groups, it has been proven that motivation linked with performance indicates huge difference between both genders. Most of the females discontinue their sport activities during puberty. Men are more likely to be involved in sport, more specifically track and field, considering the nature of the direct competition, fast movement and the events’ physical demands. Women are more prone to look on the training program as a source of social contact and a means of improving physical appearance and, in older individuals, improving health (Shepard, 2000). The biggest differences in attitudes between boys and girls are among the aesthetic sports, combat sports and racing sports. Track and field and specifically the triple jump event is unique by its demands and requirements. The triple jump event consisting of anaerobic characteristics, power, and high level of coordination without esthetic appeal is not attractive to young female athletes. For the same rea-

sons described above, research shows only 25% of the Dutch athletic population are females. It is our responsibility as coaches to educate young female athletes in the event of triple jump without pushing them too early while consistently exposing them to appropriate jumping exercises and a competitive environment that improves their skill level. Young females involved in the triple jump event need a different psychological approach towards coachathletes interactions compared to male triple jumpers. Women develop psychological pressure faster than men during exercises and competition. As educators, our responsibility is to provide a comfortable environment that is less stressful for the females, by controlling the intensity of our voice, body language and using positively encouraging coaching cues. Women are more dependent on personal care than men. Communicating consistently with the female athletes and showing our involvement and interest in their success assures a positive relationship between coach and athlete. Working with a group consisting of men and women triple jumpers is fine art. Approaching the men one way and females differently will bring the illusion of inconsistency and mistrust. Females have to be treated with a carebased mentality, being very motivational and assuring progress every single practice no matter the results. Miller et al., 2008 described the biggest differences between males and females attitude in sport setting are the ability to trust, frustration toler-

ance, facilitation of change, and feedback preference. Griksiene and Ruksenas (2011) found the most significant differences in the cognitive abilities of men and women is that men excel at visual-spatial tasks such as gauging moving objects and shape recognition, while women excel at verbal tasks such as reading, talking and listening. Hausmann et al. (2000) found a positive correlation between testosterone levels and the perception of images in males. Furthermore, (Griksiene and Ruksenas, 2011) researched discovered where higher levels of testosterone improved visual perception abilities. If we have to translate that in to triple jump training, males will respond better to video analysis, and exercises over cones and markers. Women will be more accommodating of verbal instructions, more conversations and discussion of the practice plan. Discussion and Recommendations Based on the anatomical, physiological, neurological and psychological differences, female triple jumpers have to be coached differently than male triple jumpers if improvement of world level results is desired. When female triple jumpers are kept under the same training plan as male triple jumpers, the maximum potential result will not be achieved, or worse, the female athlete will be predisposed to injuries and potentially shorter athletic career. • Less muscular females in high school age. Female’s usually store fat during and past puberty. Females with 20% body fat or more coming from high school are predisposed to becoming heavier in college, no matter the training protocol and the nutrition plan. The increase in bodyweight might predispose them for injuries, similar to the reason why football coaches are not recruiting 400lb wide receivers. • Increase the strength of the vastus medialis and continually working the flexibility in the quadriceps femoris. • Work progressively towards quick eccentric-concentric exercises. •Strongly recommend female triple jumpers to execute single arm motion vs double arm motion. Double arm motion is decreasing the center of mass before takeoff and decreases the horizontal velocity during the phases. • Implement practices according with the menstrual cycle as much as possible. Decrease weightlifting and plyometric exercises in the first 48 hours of the menstrual cycle. The Ideal testing/competing time is 15th to 19th day post-menstrua-

tion. • Lift in the morning. Progesterone levels are higher in the morning and lead to boosting the natural level of testosterone and achieving greater post activation potentiation towards the second session for the day. • Use more depth jumps and dynamic exercises with additional resistance, such as weight vests, Bulgarian bags, and barbells. • Avoid as many static jumping drills as possible with females in mid-late part of the season. • Use variety of drills for coordination. Coordination exercises will increase their visual perception and improve the technique along with the nerve conductivity through the efferent path. • Females are easily satisfied with small improvements. It is crucial to motivate them during practice and competition until the last exercise/jump. • Use justice-based ethics with females, clear goals with clear expectations. • Be patient with female triple jumpers. Longevity and the success of their career depends on consistency and years of training. References Shepard, R.J. (2000). Exercise and training in women, Pt. I: Influence of gender on exercise and training responses. Can. J. Appl. Physiol. 25(1): 19-34. Aura and Komi. (1986). Effects of prestretch on mechanical efficiency of positive work and on elastic behavior of skeletal muscle in stretch-shortening cycle exercise. Int. J. Sports Med. 1986 Jun;7(3):137-43. Nance, P W; McHale, P L; Holmes, M J; Lee, T. Q. (2001). Transactions/47/0712.pdf American College of Sports Medicine: Guidelines for Exer- cise Testing and Prescription (6th edition). Philadelphia: Lea & Febiger (2000). Miller, Thomas W.; Ogilvie, Bruce C.; Branch, Janet. Consulting Psychology Journal: Practice and Research, Vol 60(3), Sep 2008, 279-285. Jeff Janssen, Janssen Sports Leadership Center htpp:// Haier, R. J., Jung, R. E., Yeo, R. A., Head, K., & Alkire, M. T. (2005). The neuroanatomy of general intelligence: sex matters. NeuroImage, 25(1), 320-327. doi:10.1016/j. neuroimage.2004.11.019 Hewett TE, Ford KR, Myer GD, et al. Effect of puberty and gender on landing force and jump height. Med Sci Sports

Exerc. 2005;37:S66. Hewett E, Myer GD, Ford KR. Decrease in neuromuscular control about the knee with maturation in female athletes. J Bone Joint Surg Am. 2004;86:1601-1608. Carmen E. Quatman, Kevin R. Ford, Gregory D. Myers, Timothy Hewit., 2006. m J Sports Med May 2006 vol. 34 no. 5 806-813 Larisa Shakhlina, 2000. The physical work capacity of female athletes and its determining factors: New study of athletics. 15:1; 37-48, 2000. Giuseppe Fischetto; Anik Sax, 2013. The menstrual cycle and sport performance. New studies in athletics. 28:3/4; 57-69; 2013. OOSTHUYSE, T. & BOSCH, A.N. (2010). The effects of the menstrual cycle on exercise metabolism. Sports Med, 40, 207-227. LEBRUN, C.M.; MCKENZIE, D.C.; PRIOR, J.C. & TAUNTON, J.E. (1995). Effects of menstrual cycle phase on athletic performance. Med Sci Sports Exerc, 27, 437-444. ENEA, C.; BOISSEAU, N.; FARGEASGLUCK M.A.; DIAZ, V. & DUGUE, B. (2011). Circulating androgens in women. Exercise induced changes. Sport Med, 41, 1-15. Beachle, T., Earle, R. (2008). Essential of strength and conditioning: Human Kinetics. National Strength and Conditioning Association. 414-415. Lauder, M., Payton, C. (1995). Handle paddle in swimming : A specific form of resistance training. Swimming Times. 72 (12), 25-27. Robergs, R.A. & Roberts, S.O. 1997. Exercise Physiology: Exercise, Performance, and Clinical Applications. Boston: William C. Brown. The Fundamental Difference between Men and Women, Part 1: Neurons. (n.d.). Retrieved from htm Griksiene and Ruksenas, 2011. Effects of hormonal contraceptives on mental rotation and verbal fluency. Psychoneuroendocrinology. 2011 Sep;36(8):1239-48.

Iliyan Chamov is the horizontal jumps and multi event coach at the University of Missouri.


techniques november 2018

The High Jumper Strength and conditioning John Cissik

18 techniques november 2018

kirby lee image of sport


he high jump is an extremely technical event in track and field, which can make designing a strength and conditioning (S&C) program for these athletes difficult. Currently, there is a lack of literature on designing S&C programs for high jumpers. This article will describe the high jump, cover the S&C needs of the high jumper, explain how these athletes are trained in their sport, and present recommendations for S&C programming. Analysis of the high jump The high jump consists of three phases. These phases are the approach phase, the plant/takeoff phase, and the flight phase. Approach The approach begins as a straight line sprint that eventually turns into a curve.Most athletes have an approach run that covers eight to twelve strides.The approach run is extremely important for performance in the high jump (3, 13, 21).It increases the athlete’s horizontal velocity, which will eventually be used for the plant.It also places athletes in a good takeoff position so that they can achieve an optimal angle for takeoff at the greatest take-off velocity possible (23).Some athletes may achieve velocities of 6-8 m/s during the approach run (16, 24). Plant/takeoff During the plant/takeoff, the horizontal velocity that has been developed during the approach run is used to develop the vertical velocity that will be required to jump high.Some authors consider this to be the most important phase in the high jump (10).This phase is very short (around 0.18 seconds) and during this phase, the athlete may achieve vertical velocities of up to four meters per second (3, 16). The plant and takeoff begins during the approach.The athlete’s second-to-last stride during the approach run (called the penultimate stride) will be longer than the last stride and will begin the lowering of the athlete’s center of gravity by flexing the knee.During the last stride, the foot is slapped down and the knee is extended.The athlete is leaning backwards so that the hips are ahead of the shoulders.The leg during the last stride acts as a lever while the other leg is swung forward and up allowing the athlete to jump (23). Flight Success in the flight phase is dependent by the athlete’s ability to exert force against the ground during the plant/takeoff (11, 13, 24).The athlete must achieve a high enough horizontal velocity during the approach, keep an extended leg during the plant, and achieve full extension during the takeoff (13, 21). The plant and takeoff take place in front of the bars so that the athlete can jump backwards over the bar.This means that as the athlete leaves the ground during the takeoff, they must make sure their body is out of the way of the bar while they pass over it. This is done by arching the back after the head and shoulders have cleared the bar, which lifts the hips. S&C Needs A S&C program has two purposes for the high jumper.The first is to provide the physical foundation for success in the event. The second is to help prevent injuries (21).With the above analysis in mind, there are a number of qualities that are going to be important for the S&C of the high jumper.

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the high jumper

Table 1: Sample exercises to address each important quality in a high jumper’s training.




Squats (back, front, split, overhead) Deadlifts Romanian deadlifts Good mornings Presses (bench, incline, decline, military) Rows (bent-over, seated, one-arm) Pull-ups/pull-downs


Cleans (power, squat, split) Snatches (power, squat, split) Jerks (push, power, split) Pulls

Horizontal application of force

Horizontal jumps (standing long jump, triple jump, hurdle hops, etc.) Sled pushing/pulling Bounds Resisted sprints

Single-leg strength and power

Split squats Lunges Step-ups Split cleans/snatches/jerks One-legged cleans/snatches/jerks

Ability to maintain posture

Squats (back, front, split, overhead) Deadlifts Romanian deadlifts Good mornings Squats, deadlifts, Romanian deadlifts, good mornings with a pause Squats, deadlifts, Romanian deadlifts, good mornings with an exaggerated eccentric phase

Hamstring injury prevention

Romanian deadlifts Good mornings (standing, seated) Glute-ham raises Reverse hyperextensions Nordic leg curl

• Power • Horizontal application of force • Single leg strength and power • Ability to maintain posture • Hamstring injury prevention • Strength High jumpers need to be able to propel themselves along the track with enough velocity to eventually attain height in the jump. They must also be able to overcome gravity during the jump. Both of these aspects of the jump require a measure of strength on the part of the high jumper (7, 21). It should be noted that not only S&C coaches consider this quality to be important, high jump coaches consider its importance but also stress the importance of being able to apply it to the event (4, 21). Power As was covered earlier in this paper, the 20

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high jump requires that force be exerted quickly during the jump. With the plant and take-off taking fractions of a second, the ability to exert force quickly is extremely important to the high jumper (21).The fraction of a second that the plant/take-off takes aligns very well with the length of the second pull in the Olympic lifts (1, 14, 15). Horizontal application of force The ability to exert force in the horizontal direction is potentially going to be important for an athlete whose event requires generating horizontal velocity. Several studies hint at a relationship between the ability to perform horizontal jumps and sprinting speed (1, 12).Weyand et al (26) reported that athletes increase their speed by exerting more force against the ground rather than by repositioning their limbs more quickly.If this is true, then it rein-

forces the benefit that a S&C program can have to the approach run of the high jump. By improving a high jumper’s strength, power, and their ability to apply force horizontally there is the potential to improve their running velocity. Single leg strength and power Sprinting involves having one foot on the ground at a time.The plant and takeoff involve levering off one side of the body and exploding vertically.The combination of these suggests that high jumpers need to develop single-leg strength and power. Ability to maintain posture Sprinting and a successful lever require that the athlete is strong enough to maintain his or her posture, this reinforces the need for a strength base (5, 7, 22).Failure to maintain posture either during sprinting

november 2018 techniques


the high jumper

Phase of Training











Monday Event



Approach jumps (i.e no flop), 1, 3, or 5 strides, 2-3 times at each stride length

Recovery April

Standing backward flop, 2-3 times High jump, 1 or 3 strides, 2-3 times Standing long jump, 3-5 times Hurdle hops, 2x5 meters


Technique drills, 5-10 minutes 5x20 meter sprints


Power clean, hang, bar at above the knee level Clean pulls, hang, bar at above the knee level Push jerks


3x3-6x60-70% each exercise

or the plant can have a negative impact on velocity and eventually the height of the jump. Hamstring injury prevention As horizontal velocity is important for the high jumper, sprinting will be an important component of their training program. Sprinting athletes are at risk for hamstring injuries.Studies examining the hamstrings during sprinting suggest that the biceps femoris is especially susceptible to strains when the leg is being swung forward or during footstrike, as these are times when the muscle is lengthened.This suggests that it is important to strengthen the hamstring muscles eccentrically (17, 19). Table one provides examples of exercises that can be used to address each of


techniques november 2018




3x6-10x70-80% each exercise



Bounds, 3x10-20 meters

Back squats Romanian deadlifts Bench press Bent-over rows Standing military press




Strength training


Table 2: Overview of the organization of the collegiate high jumper’s 2016/2017 season, showing off-season, transition, competition, and recovery phases of training and the months associated with them.


Table 3: Sample early off-season workouts for the collegiate high jumper.

Bounds, 3x10-20 meters

Technique drills, 5-10 minutes 5x40 meter sprints Front squats Good mornings Incline press One-arm dumbbell rows Seated military press

Split clean, hang, bar at above the knee level Clean pulls, hang, bar at above the knee level Split jerks

3x6-10x70-80% each exercise

3x3-6x60-70% each exercise

the above qualities. The rest of this article will provide a sample strength and conditioning program for a collegiate high jumper.The rest of this article will provide an overview to a high jumper’s event-specific training, discuss how the training year is organized, then provide a sample training program for the collegiate high jumper. Event-specific training Event-specific training for the high jumper focuses on several parts. These include sprint training, breaking the event into components, performing the full event with run-ups of varying distances, and plyometrics (4, 5, 21, 22, 23). • The high jump is a complex skill and small mistakes or deficiencies can have a

large impact on performance.As a result, the event is often broken down into its components or is shortened to allow the parts to be focused on.For example, sprinting training is performed to improve the athlete’s ability to perform the run-up. There is extensive focus on the plant/takeoff in training via drills with few strides (4, 22).The full event will be performed with varying strides.In addition, extensive use of vertical and horizontal plyometrics will be used to enhance jump performance (4, 22). • In addition to the above, there are some unique aspects of how the high jumper experiences competition that should be taken into account during a training program.According to Bowerman and Freeman (5), these are: • A high jumper may wait 45 minutes







Approach jumps (i.e no flop), 3, 5, or 7 strides, 2-3 times at each stride length


Standing backward flop, 5-10 times High jump, 5, 7, or 9 strides, 5-10 times


Box jumps, 5-10 Bounds, 3x20-30 times meters Scissor jumps, stick landing, 5-10 times each leg


Standing long Bounds, 3x20-30 jump, 5-10 times meters Hurdle hops, 3x10 meters

Technique drills, 5-10 minutes 5-10x20-40 meter sprints


Back squats Romanian deadlifts Bench press Bent-over rows Standing military press

Power clean, hang, bar at knee level Clean pulls, hang, bar at knee level Push jerks


3x4-8x75-85% each exercise

3x3-6x60-70% each exercise


Strength training

or more between attempts at some meets. This should be practiced. • Warm ups in a meet may take place outside the competition area.This means that the athlete may have to warm up, then travel, then compete.Again, this should be practiced. • Trials and the finals may take place on two successive days.At some point, athletes need to practice having difficult jumping days two days in a row to prepare. • Only 90 seconds are allowed for a jump. Overview of the year Before covering the program, it’s important to explain how the high jumper’s year is organized at the macro level.In this article, the high jumper’s training year will be broken down into competition, off-season, and recovery. For a collegiate high jumper, there are often two competition seasons: an indoor season that typically runs from January until mid-March and an outdoor season that typically runs from mid-March and can last until the end of June if the athlete participates in Collegiate and Outdoor

Table 4: Sample late off-season workouts for the collegiate high jumper.

Technique drills, 5-10 minutes 5-10x40-60 meter sprints Split squats Good mornings Incline press One-arm dumbbell rows Seated military press 3x4-8x75-85% each exercise

Nationals.As a result, January through June makes up the athlete’s competition phase of training. The National Collegiate Athletics Association (NCAA) does not allow practices to begin until the first day of fall classes or September 7, whichever is earlier (18).Therefore, this is when the off-season begins.The off-season runs through the holidays. There is one transitional phase of training that is used with this calendar.This occurs during the month of January.While the athlete will be competing during that month in indoor meets, these do not carry the importance of the later meets. Therefore, this month is a transitional phase between the off-season training and the competition season training. Table two provides a graphical overview of the collegiate high jumper’s season, using 2016/2017 dates. Sample training program The rest of this article will describe the S&C programs that the author uses to train collegiate high jumpers, based on the above.

Split clean, hang, bar at knee level 1-leg dumbbell clean, hang, dumbbell begins at above the knee level Split jerks 3x3-6x60-70% each exercise

The programs are presented with eventspecific training to illustrate how the S&C training can be used to complement the athlete’s event training.A word about notations used in the tables: • Event specific training is the number of times it is performed.For example, 3-5 times means that the drill was performed for three to five repetitions. • Plyometrics refers to the number of foot contacts or the distances that should be covered. • Speed training is the number of repetitions at the specified distances, in meters. Strength training is written as the number of sets times the number of repetitions times the percentage of the athlete’s onerepetition maximum (or it shows the repetition range at which the athlete should be lifting). Off-season The off-season develops the physical and technical foundation necessary for success later in the year. Tables three and four provide sample training programs for the off-season.Table three illustrates the kind

the high jumper





Friday High jump, 3, 5, or 7 strides, 3-5 times


Approach jumps (i.e no flop), 5, 7, or 9 strides, 3-5 times Standing backward flop, 5-10 times


Standing backward flop, 2-3 times High jump, 5, 7, or 9 strides, 5-10 times


Box jumps, 5-10 Bounds, 3x30-40 times meters Scissor jumps, stick landing, 5-10 times each leg


Standing long Bounds, 3x30-40 jump, 5-10 times meters Hurdle hops, 3x10 meters

Technique drills, 5-10 minutes Stride length drills, 3x10-20 meters Sprints, 5-10x2040 meters


Technique drills, 5-10 minutes Stride length drills, 3x40-60 meters Sprints, 5-10x4060 meters


Strength training

Eccentric squats Deadlifts Incline press Kettlebell rows Kettlebell press 3x3-6x80-90% each exercise

Split clean, hang, Off bar at below knee level Clean pulls, hang, bar at below knee level Push jerks 3x3-6x60-70% each exercise

Split squats One-leg Romanian deadlifts Dumbbell bench press One-arm dumbbell rows Seated military press 3x3-6x80-90% each exercise

of workouts that would run into October and table four the workouts that would run through December.These tables are meant to provide examples; the training variables would change from week to week in a real program.The training is organized around two jumping days, two sprinting days, and a day off in the middle of the week. The jumping days (Monday and Thursday in this example) begin with a warm-up.After the warm-up, the athlete practices the event.At the beginning of the season, this works on the phases in isolation and with a smaller (1, 3, or 5 strides) approach run.This allows the athlete to perfect his or her technique at low velocities.Plyometrics follow the event training and are meant to compliment the event workouts. During the jumping days, strength training workouts follow the jump training and are focused on slower, multi-joint exercises designed to increase the athlete’s strength. The idea is that the heavier train24

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ing will complement the nervous system demands made by the event practice and plyometrics. The sprinting days (Tuesday and Friday in this example) also begin with a warmup.After this, the athlete moves to bounds to help with sprinting speed, sprinting technique drills, and then sprints that are focused on either acceleration or maximum velocity.The strength training work is focused around the Olympic-style lifts, whose explosive and low volume nature should complement the demands of the sprinting workouts. As the off-season progresses, the volume of the strength training decreases while the intensity increases.In the sprints, plyometrics, and event training, the volume increases as the off-season progresses. Transition The demands of the technical training increase as the focus shifts to meet preparation, the high jump is practiced in

Table 5: Sample transitional workouts for the collegiate high jumper.

One-leg clean, hang, bar at above knee level Clean pulls, hang, bar begins at below the knee level Split jerks 3x3-6x60-70% each exercise

its entirety and jumps are performed on successive days to simulate the upcoming demands of major competitions.The strength training will become heavier. There will be a greater emphasis on singleleg exercises.The volume on the speed and plyometric training will increase. The first transition phase will run into the indoor season in January if time permits. It is not unusual for a jumper to train through the first few meets and use them as warm-up meets.Table five provides a sample of pre-season workouts. Competition The competition phase for a collegiate high jumper runs from January until they are done with competition (which could be June for a national-caliber jumper or July for an international-caliber jumper). Track and field competition involves a lot of travel, and the ideal circumstances for training may or may not exist during the season. With this in mind, there is a need

to maximize the athlete’s limited training time. Strength training focuses on maintenance.Because time is precious, extensive use intensity and volume is meant to maintain strength and power during this phase. Event training puts the entire event together and practices it at real speed.This is unless there are deficiencies.If there are technical deficiencies, then these will still be addressed. Speed training seeks to maintain the ability to accelerate and achieve a high maximum velocity.If possible, it will be performed twice a week and on non-jumping days.Plyometrics will still be performed on jumping days, though the volume will be scaled back due to the demands of competition. Table six shows an example of in-season training for the high jumper. Conclusion The high jump is a complex track and field event that requires a unique balance between strength, speed, power, and technique.Athletes must be able to achieve horizontal velocity, convert it to vertical velocity to overcome gravity, and must do all this with optimal technique. This can all only be achieved through the careful integration of all aspects of the athlete’s training program. References: Agar-Newman, D.J. and Klimstra, M.D. (2015). Efficacy of horizontal jumping tasks as a method for talent identification of female rugby players. Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research 29(3): 737-743, 2015 Akkus, H. Kinematic analysis of the snatch lift with elite female weightlifters during the 2010 world weightlifting championship.  Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research 26(4): 897-905, 2012. Aura, O. and Viitasalo, J.T.Biomechanical character-

istics of jumping.International Journal of Sport Biomechanics 5: 89-98, 1989. Bora, P.Direct competition preparation in elite high jumping.New Studies in Athletics 27:3, 23-28, 2012. Bowerman, W.J. and Freeman, W.H.HighPerformance Training for Track and Field 2nd edition. Champaign, Il: Leisure Press, 127-138, 1991. Cissik, J.M.Strength and conditioning considerations for the 100 meter sprinter.Strength and Conditioning Journal 32(6): 89-94. Cissik, J.M. Strength and conditioning for the high jump. Modern Athlete and Coach 52(4): 18-21, 2014. Cissik, J.M.Strength and conditioning for the triple jumper. Strength and Conditioning Journal 35(5): 56-62. Cissik, J.M.Strength and Conditioning for Track and Field.Mountain View, CA: TAFNEWS.2003. Coh, M.Biomechanical characteristics of take off action in high jump – a case study. Serbian Journal of Sports Sciences 4(4): 127-135, 2010. Dapena, J.Contributions of angular momentum and catting to the twist rotation in high jumping.Journal of Applied Biomechanics 13: 239-253, 1997. Dobbs, C.W., Gill, N.D., Smart, D.J., and McGuigan, M.R. (2015). Relationship between vertical and horizontal jump variables and muscular performance in athletes. Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research 29(3): 661-671. Grieg, M.P. and Yeadon, M.R. The influence of touchdown parameters on the performance of a high jumper.Journal of Applied Biomechanics 16: 367378, 2000. Hadi, G., Akkus, H., and Harbili, E.Three-dimensional kinematic analysis of the snatch technique for lifting different barbell weights. Journal of Strength and Conditioning

the high jumper

Monday Event

High jump, 5-10 times


Box jumps, 5 times Scissor jumps, stick landing, 5 times each leg


Strength training



Bounds, 3x30-40 meters

Standing long Bounds, 3x30-40 jump, 5 times meters Hurdle hops, 3x10 meters

Technique drills, 5-10 minutes Stride length drills, 3x10-20 meters Sprints, 5x20-40 meters


Split cleans + split squats, 3x2-4+812x60-70% Romanian deadlifts, 3x4-8x8090% Bench press + medicine ball chest pass, 3x48x80-90% + 10 throws

techniques november 2018


High jump, 5-10 times

Research 26(6): 1568-1576, 2012. Harbili, E. A gender-based kinematic and kinetic analysis of the snatch lift in elite weightlifters in 69-kg category.  Journal of Sports Science and Medicine 11: 162-169, 2012. Isolehto, J., Virmavirta, M., Kyrolainen, H., and Komi, P.Biomechanical analysis of the high jump at the 2005 IAAF World Championships in Athletics.New Studies in Athletics 22(2): 17-27, 2007. Kumazaki, T., Ehara, Y., and Sakai, T. Anatomy and physiology of hamstring injury. International Journal of Sports Medicine 33(12): 950-954, 2012. National Collegiate Athletic Association. Division I Manual.Indianapolis, IN: 276279, 2016. Opar, D.A., Williams, M.D., and Shield, A.J.Hamstring strain injuries: Factors that lead to injury and re-injury. Sports Medicine 42(3): 209-226, 2012 Reid, P.Plyometrics and the high jump. New Studies in Athletics 4:1, 67-74, 1989. Ritzdorf, W.Approaches to technique and technical training in the high jump.New Studies in Athletics 24(3): 31-34, 2009.



Technique drills, 5-10 minutes Stride length drills, 3x40-60 meters Sprints, 5x40-60 meters

Power clean + front squats, 3x2-4+812x60-70% Clean-grip deadlift + clean pulls, 3x6-10+46x70-80% Bent-over rows + behind back medicine ball throws, 3x4-8x8090% + 10 throws

Schiffer, J.Plyometric training and the high jump.New Studies in Athletics 27:3, 9-21, 2012. Schmolinsky, G.Track and Field: The East German Textbook of Athletics.Toronto, Ontario: Sport Books Publisher, 262-292, 1996. Tan, J.C.C. and Yeadon, M.R.Why do high jumpers use a curved approach?Journal of Sport Sciences 23(8): 775-780, 2005. Urquhart, B.G., Moir, G.L., Graham, S.M., and Connaboy, C.Reliability of 1Rm split-squat performance and the efficacy of assessing both bilateral squat and splitsquat 1RM in a single session for nonresistance-trained recreationally active men.Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research 29(7): 1991-1998, 2015. Weyand, P.G., Sternlight, D.B., Bellizzi, M.J., and Wright, S.Faster top running speeds are achieved with greater ground forces not more rapid leg movements. Journal of Applied Physiology 89(5): 19911999.

John Cissik is the president and owner of Human Performance Services, LLC (HPS), which helps athletics professionals solve their strength and conditioning needs. He coaches youth baseball, basketball, and Special Olympics sports and runs fitness classes for children with special needs. He has written 10 books and more than 70 articles on strength and speed training.

Table 6: Sample in-season workouts for the collegiate high jumper.

november 2018 techniques



techniques november 2018

Kirby Lee Image of Sport

Javelin Delivery Alignment

Kurt Dunkel is an Assistant Throws Coach at Shippensburg University where he primarily works with javelin throwers. Kurt was a two-time NCAA runner-up in the javelin and has coached at his alma mater for the past 19 years, during which time he has coached SU javelin throwers to 21 AllAmerica honors including one NCAA Champion. In 2017, Shippensburg University was ranked the top javelin program (combined men & women) in Division II based on the USTFCCCA rankings. Kurt has written extensively on the topic of the javelin and has also been a presenter at the USTFCCCA Convention.

Wrap & linear approaches Kurt Dunkel, MS


he 2017 Men’s Javelin Final at the IAAF World Championships in London saw the top four finishers represent two countries and two different technical approaches to throwing the javelin. German throwers Johannes Vetter and Thomas Rohler employed a ‘linear’ delivery en route to finishing 1st and 4th respectively. On the other hand, Czech throwers Jakub Vadlech and Petr Frydrych employed a non-linear (‘wrap’) approach and delivery and finished 2nd and 3rd respectively. The German throwers did not perform near their personal bests; whereas the Czech throwers both achieved personal bests in the final. What are the differences between these two styles of throwing? Is one better than the other? In what ways may have javelin alignment contributed to the performances of the German and Czech throwers? What do coaches and throwers need to understand in order to best support technical growth, change, and development? This article will explore these questions and topics in greater depth in order to illustrate a clearer picture of the differences between javelin delivery alignment. Creating delivery speed and transferring this speed into the javelin in a manner which increases the distance thrown is the fundamental goal for

a javelin thrower. Although science and coaching wisdom both tell us that a javelin thrower should seek to throw the javelin “through the point,” this idea deserves further exploration because the number of complex variables in the javelin throw demonstrate that transferring energy in a linear fashion (i.e. through the point) is not a simple and straightforward scenario. The relationship between the development of delivery speed (energy) and the transfer of this energy into the javelin in an efficient method which will increase the distance thrown is a very complex puzzle. The fundamental biomechanical challenge is that the body and the movement of the arm are not naturally suited to propel a linear object. Various approaches have seen varying degrees of success and over time, and a basic, fundamental throwing technique has evolved. Generally speaking, the fundamental throwing technique is one that throwers and coaches study and attempt to emulate. The individual nuances in throwing styles can be attributed to a variety of factors, which include: the unique biomechanical / neuromuscular strengths / weaknesses of the thrower, the level of understanding / expertise of the thrower and / or coach, physical maturation, and development of the thrower. november 2018 techniques


javelin delivery Alignment

The basic, fundamental throwing technique is a method to create linear energy (via a run and crossover strides), and to then transfer this energy into the javelin by bracing the lower and upper non-throwing side of the body and deliver the javelin with an overhand throwing movement. By employing this fundamental throwing technique, the javelin thrower attempts to take full advantage of the laws of physics and biomechanics. There are some variations and nuances within the fundamental throwing technique that play a significant role in the performance and success of a javelin thrower. Runway speed, flexion of block leg, javelin delivery angle, timing of right to left rhythm in the penultimate stride, positioning of right foot and leg in the penultimate stride, and the timing sequence of the block arm / block foot touchdown are all critical technical factors that play a large role in distance thrown. The primary focus of this article is on another factor that plays a large role in the distance thrown and performance of the javelin thrower. This is the alignment of the javelin before and during the throwing motion. Conventional wisdom and common sense tells many javelin throwers and coaches that a “clean strike” on the javelin will deliver more energy through the point of the javelin and eliminate rattle during the flight. Thus, greater throwing distances can occur because less delivery energy is lost. Javelin coaches and throwers alike use terminology such as “line it up” and “hit it clean”. A cardinal sin of javelin throwers is to “pull down”, “across”, or “miss” on a throw, which can create rattle or a plowing action during the flight. When studying elite level javelin throwers, we see that these maxims hold true. Elite throwers are very skilled and gifted athletes and possess a high degree of technical proficiency. Thus, factors such as proper flexion of the block leg, javelin delivery angle, timing of right to left rhythm in the penultimate stride, positioning of right foot and leg in the penultimate stride, and the timing sequence of the block arm / block foot touchdown are all factors elite throwers have mastered to a large degree. However, when studying elite throwers, it is evident that there are variations in javelin alignment (along the horizontal plane) through the run-up, penultimate stride and at delivery. “Wrap” Versus “Linear” Style of Throwing During the crossover and delivery phases,


techniques november 2018

some javelin throwers choose to align the javelin in a linear fashion – oriented toward the center of the throwing sector. Others align the javelin more toward the throwing side sector line – for example, toward the right sector line for a right-handed thrower. These alignments are seen at varying degrees at varying points of the approach and delivery. The latter alignment style is often referred to as wrapping the javelin. Given that both approaches have seen significant success at the world-class level, it is useful to explore the pros and cons of each approach as well as the unique differences and variations between the two. These two styles of throwing can be seen most clearly when studying the elite throwers of Germany and the Czech Republic; two countries which have dominated javelin throwing in recent history. Although there are exceptions, German throwers often tend to be larger, more powerful, and employ more of a linear throwing style – as evidenced by Boris Henry, Andreas Hofmann, Stefi Nerius, and Johannes Vetter. Thomas Rohler and Christina Obergfoll tend to deviate a bit from center on the cross-overs but throw with a fairly linear orientation. German World Champion Matthias de Zordo is a notable exception that used a very pronounced wrap style. Generally speaking, the German training approaches obviously mirror this philosophy – as they work toward developing a powerful, elbow-dominated, linear arm strike. For the more linear javelin throwers, the path of the elbow strike is ideally mirroring the angle of attack. Because of this, shoulder power is at a premium. In comparison, javelin throwers from The Czech Republic often throw with a wrap style that is emblematic of World Record Holder Jan Zelezny - who has coached Petr Frydrych, Jakub Vadlejch, Barbora Spotokova, and Vitezslav Vesely. To varying degrees, these throwers align and deliver the javelin more toward the throwing side sector. The delivery differs from their German counterparts in the sense that they attain a slightly greater degree of rotational elasticity from their hips and shoulder. This causes a slightly different activation of the throwing shoulder – as the positioning of the non-throwing shoulder is used to ‘open up’ the throwing arm-pit. The throwing elbow will not necessarily mirror the angle of attack on the javelin with this delivery. Although it may initially create force along the path of the javelin, the path of the elbow may then deviate – as it rotates medi-

FOR THE COACH It is important to understand the pros and cons of each approach, and the strengths and limitations of your thrower. Generally, a linear orientation and delivery can: • Have potential to transfer more energy along and through the point of the javelin. • Result in a lower likelihood of “missing” a throw. • Benefit a larger, more powerful thrower who has a powerful upper body and arm strike. Generally, a wrap orientation and delivery can: • Have potential to generate faster delivery speed. • Result in a slightly increased chance of “missing” a throw. • Benefit a thrower who has speed, elasticity, and a shoulder, which can permit the range of motion needed for a rotational striking action. The javelin throw is a results-dominated endeavor. So, the distance thrown will be the ultimate determiner of the approach the athlete and coach utilize. There are some other results that a coach and athlete should consider as well: • Consistency: does one approach yield consistently better results? • Does one approach lend itself to being more easily replicated; particularly under a pressure situation such as a championship competition? • How does the throwers body respond to changes and variations in style? Aches, pains, injuries, and tension should be monitored. It is important to understand the strengths and limitations of your athlete. Do their physical attributes, neuromuscular habits, background, previous coaching, and abilities make them an obvious fit for one style over another? Are they able to experiment with different delivery angles? It is important to, if possible, experiment with different techniques, which includes delivery orientation. This takes a degree of knowledge and patience on the part of both the athlete and the coach. If you study the careers of elite throwers, you will be able to see the nuances, progression, and evolution of their technique. You will also be able to compare their results to their technical approach at that time.

november 2018 techniques


javelin delivery Alignment ally while the line of the javelin is still moving into a throwing side sector orientation. Because of this, specific shoulder flexibility is critical. The Importance of Javelin Alignment Javelin positioning is critical for both linear or wrap javelin thrower. Specifically, javelin alignment is significant for two primary reasons. First, physiology and biomechanics tell us that proper positioning of the javelin can aid in setting up the body for the strike on the javelin. Linear and wrap throwers want to eliminate excessive up and down movement of the javelin throughout crossovers and penultimate stride. Both throwers also want the javelin to move into a position, which is most effective for muscle engagement directly before block foot touch down. If the wrap-style thrower employs the correct timing / positioning of the block shoulder, then the orientation of the javelin naturally holds back or momentarily delays the strike. Some coaches and athletes feel this type of stretch is more effective in creating elastic potential energy and specific shoulder engagement. This


techniques november 2018

extra degree of rotational elasticity has the potential to produce critical delivery speed. One challenge with a wrap-style delivery orientation is whether the thrower can position the block foot quickly and securely enough to ensure that the impulse is placed into the javelin such that the release occurs early enough that the thrower doesn’t prematurely drift the nonthrowing side of the torso so far forward that the throw is “missed.” Javelin alignment is also significant from a physics standpoint: A rudimentary understanding of aerodynamics and physics would tell us that a linear alignment has the potential to create positive conditions for javelin flight, as well as the opportunity for energy transfer through the point of the javelin. For example, a javelin which is flying in a linear direction (like an arrow) has less surface area interacting with air, which slows the javelin. Improved lift can also be attained with the appropriate release angle. Coaches and athletes often focus on the set-up and delivery of the throw. However, one of the most critical aspects of the javelin throw is during the period of time when it is not in the hands of the thrower:

the flight. Because the javelin is a linear object, its flight path may not completely align with its flight orientation, particularly for the initial portion of the flight. Also, accuracy is not a significant factor in the javelin competition, so it is not as important to aim the javelin. The most important factors are creation of the highest possible release velocity and attempting to couple that release velocity with the flight path orientation that is the most effective for that particular thrower. This can essentially be seen as a matrix. It takes knowledge, experience, and experimentation on both the coach and athlete’s part in order to find the correct matrix. An example of the importance of release velocity can be seen in the example in which a javelin that rattles and plows horizontally or vertically could theoretically fly further than a throw with an ideal, stable, still, linear flight. This would be because the release velocity in the former was significant enough to compensate for the flaws in flight aerodynamics of the latter. This is analogous to the matrix of horsepower and aerodynamics in automobiles. The sports car with the lowest coefficient

november 2018 techniques


javelin delivery Alignment

of drag can be defeated by a vehicle with significantly superior horsepower irrespective of its aerodynamic qualities. A common and very logical question that may arise when considering a wrap style approach is in regard to the sector line orientation. Specifically, if the javelin is aligned with the throwing side sector line (or even outside of the sector line), then why are there not more sector fouls? The answer is three-fold: First, when throwing a javelin, force is not transferred in a perfectly linear fashion. The arm produces velocity, which is rotational in nature. The thrower is attempting, ideally, to transfer as much energy as possible to propel the javelin the farthest distance. This energy is ultimately directed with an orientation toward the throwing sector even if the javelin is not. Simply put, this is why the javelin ultimately lands in the throwing sector. Second, because of the linear shape of the javelin, it exhibits a unique and very important tendency to ‘self-correct’ during its flight. The shape and weight distribution of the javelin causes it to change its orientation during flight. It tends to move away from the direction in which it is oriented and increasingly toward the direction in which it is thrown. Third, even an extreme wrap in the crossover phase of the run-up will tend to see the javelin begin to orient a bit more toward the center of the sector before release. This is a natural part of the throwing motion. However, it is still common for the javelin to be released with a sector line orientation, but this occurs in varying degrees for each individual thrower. Although some may legitimately assert a linear approach to delivering the javelin has the potential to transfer a greater percentage of force more efficiently through the point of the javelin, then how do we account for throwers who have thrown exceptionally far with a wrap-style approach / sector line orientation? For example, Johannes Vetter and Thomas Rohler have thrown over 93 meters with a mid-sector orientation and delivery. Steve Backley broke the world record and Aki Parviainen threw over 93 meters with a linear delivery. Conversely, Jan Zelezny employed a nonlinear delivery en route to becoming the greatest javelin thrower ever. Matthias de Zordo employed an extreme wrap style to win Gold at the World Championships. Julius Yego has thrown over 90 meters multiple times and won a World Championship and


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Olympic Silver Medal with a release that was sector line oriented. Some throwers are a bit of a hybrid in the sense that they employ a wrap in the crossover phase but a more linear delivery. For example, Sergey Makarov employed a wrap during his crossovers presumably in order to keep his torso closed and keep his chest back as he set up the throw. However, his arm strike was more linear with a high, overhead release. Position & Movement of the Feet, Hips, and Shoulders Javelin alignment in the crossover and delivery phase is related to two other very important factors, which a coach should understand. Each coach and athlete should find a technique which maximizes the unique abilities of the athlete. The movement of the arm through the throw is a critical and difficult to understand aspect of the throw. Javelin throwers have had a great deal of success with a variety of different delivery motions. Some prefer a high, over-the-top style such as Backley, Makarov, and Viljoen. They tend to drop the non-throwing shoulder during the delivery to push the throwing arm high, which necessitates a linear delivery. Some tend to initiate the throw with a level shoulder angle and a sector-line orientation (Kolak, Zelezny, Vadlejch), and others tend to initiate the throw with a level shoulder angle with the javelin in a linear position (Vetter, Rohler, Obergfoll). The placement of the block leg/foot and the motion of the hips also has a relationship with the delivery of the javelin as each athlete attempts to gain as much elastic stretch from the body as possible. Some attempt to employ linear hip drive with a wrap orientation. Rohler and Obergfoll tend to keep the javelin linear while attempting to put the block leg in a wide position and push the throwing hip forward. Throwers who tend to strike the javelin with an over the top, linear delivery tend to generally keep a neutral base with the block leg. However they tend to try to drive the throwing hip upward into the throw. It is logical and safe to assert that a wrap or linear style can both yield positive results for a thrower. As a coach, whether you are teaching new habits to a new javelin thrower or refining the technique of an experienced thrower, there are a few important things to keep in mind during the process.

TIPS It is important to understand the difference between a wrap approach and a non-linear delivery. Generally speaking, coaches, teammates, and spectators observe the javelin from the side. This means they are missing out on a great deal of incredibly helpful technical data. Observing the thrower from the rear (or even front) can provide important knowledge about javelin alignment, shoulder angle, foot placement, and arm angle. These are critical data points that can be best / only observed from the rear or front. Understanding and observing the path of the elbow strike and relation of the forearm and the javelin throughout the delivery of the javelin. The movement and positioning of the elbow / arm in relation to the javelin is the most fundamental difference between these two techniques. Understanding the unique differences between how each technique is set up with the lower body – as the leg and foot action, timing, and positioning is unique for each style. Collaborate and communicate with your athlete as you explore the best javelin alignment. Feedback from your athlete is critical as you collaborate. The coach and athlete should balance the willingness to experiment with variations in technique with a willingness to commit to and move forward with the style that proves most beneficial across the board. Longer throws come with solid technique, commitment, repetition, and the correct mentality. There are numerous factors which influence the distance of a throw. A holistic approach to and understanding of javelin technique is critical to the success of a javelin coach. Javelin alignment is a critical factor in determining how the energy created by the run-up is ultimately transferred into the javelin itself. A coach who fails to grasp this is ‘missing the point’.

november 2018 techniques



techniques november 2018

november 2018 techniques


Young Coaches 5 stops along the road map Chris Parno


techniques november 2018

Minnesota State Athletics photo


used to be slightly offended by the response I got from people when I told them that I was a collegiate track coach. Often people assumed that being a track coach was a part-time occupation, similar to a hobby. The false perception that a full-time track and field coach is anything but time consuming needs to be debunked. Is there a way to get the general population to better understand our craft? Is it even important for them to understand? Probably not, but it continues to tug at my thoughts as to why these misconceptions exist. Education towards the outside’s perception of our craft is not nearly as important as the intra-coach education that is needed to continue advancing it. No matter the profession, education whether formalized in the university setting (bachelor’s degrees) or informal (e.g., apprenticeships, mentoring, etc.) is a baseline for potential success. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, in 2017, people holding Bachelor’s degrees made $461 more per week than someone with high school diploma. Furthermore, for the person with a high school diploma only, experienced unemployment rates double that of their bachelor degree counterparts. This is not to say that unemployment rates and earnings are directly proportionate to track and field coaching success, but it helps reinforce the point that education is a necessity in the equation for success. So where do coaches go for education? Currently, there is no clear-cut path to formalized education that is globally accepted within the realm of track and field. There are no required certifications or degrees outside of the NCAA recruiting test and CPR/AED training. There are thousands of articles, certifications, clinics, Twitter accounts, blogs, podcasts, etc. These convolute any coach’s search for expertise. This barrage of information can be amplified by the multitude of training styles, philosophies, coaching theories, and applications of sports psychology to name a few. While most experienced coaches have the ability to decipher between quality information backed by science/biomechanics/experience, there is the potential to be tripped up by someone trying to make a buck. Often these people

claim to have the final, definitive answer, or the secret to success through a piece of equipment you must buy. I’ll admit, after graduating college and being offered a graduate assistantship, I thought I was overly qualified. I had been a multi-event athlete and had what I thought was a vast knowledge of the sport. At the time, it seemed obvious that this school hired me because they knew I could come in and coach! When I arrived, I was given a group of athletes to lead. Quickly I begin panicking as I set to writing training (something I had never done). I asked myself, “Now what?” This “Where do I start?” moment happens all too often to rookie coaches, and it plagues the progression of our craft. The experience of participating in track and field as a collegiate athlete does not qualify a person to become a collegiate coach. I may be able to change an electrical outlet in my house, but the restaurant being built down the street should not trust me to come in and map out their electrical work. To that point, education or apprenticeships are a starting point that can help fill in the gaps and provide a blueprint for young coaches. I can say I was lucky during my “Where do I start?” moment, with a mentoring coach on staff who believed in the power of education and sharing knowledge for the greater good. The Dunning-Kruger effect concept will help frame the rest of this article. It is defined in the field of psychology as, “a cognitive bias in which people of low ability have the illusory superiority and mistakenly assess their cognitive ability as greater than it is.” I define these coaches as hacks, selling their snake oil to fulfill some ego-backed need for faux superiority, fighting to never be exposed. These types relinquish any responsibility to back their coaching principles with any type of sound science, reasoning or collaboration. Albert Einstein lived on the other side of the spectrum and was quoted saying, “The more I learn, the more I realize how much I don’t know.” Einstein’s outlook embodied what young coaches should strive for. I try to remind myself daily that any aspect of training that I prescribe has the potential to affect my athlete’s career. This mantra forces me to take time to ensure that I am

following sound theory and methodology. The first step in this process should be developing a coaching philosophy. Developing a Philosophy: A coaching philosophy can help identify the foundational themes or principles that practices are based on. A philosophy is not always in the forefront until an opportunity arises that requires a coach to formally write it down, such as a job interview or formal review, possibly even recruiting. I have always included this as a requirement in our job postings for graduate assistants at Minnesota State because it is important for prospective coaches to communicate their philosophies and align those with our programs. Coaches should always be thinking about what we are doing and why we do it. My philosophy is athlete centered. Their success should be the priority in the team equation. I try to keep mine to a few short points. • Be an informed skeptic • Gain as much knowledge as possible to back decisions, judgments, analysis and practices • Educate when needed • Never miss an opportunity to create a better understanding for your athletes • Do not let your ego cloud your reasoning • Always keep your athletes’ best interest in mind (refer to #1) • Words and/or actions will follow you • Social media, language Coaches can expect their philosophies to change over time as experience is gained. Once a philosophy is established and documented, young coaches can move on to navigating the roadmap for success. 5 Stops Along the Road Map for Young Coaches Your reputation as a coach is based on your beliefs, your success on the track, how you carry yourself, and the style of training you employ. Is there any doubt that Vince Anderson of Texas A&M loves acceleration? Spend a day in a coaching education course with Vince as your instructor and his passion for acceleration and proper mechanics will be confirmed. november 2018 techniques


young coaches So again, what do you want to be known for? The following five topics encompass a road map for young coaches. These are important to ensure a successful and lengthy career. Many do not often realize that the average NFL career length is only three years. How often do coaches in a given sport follow the similar path and wash-out? Between scandals, rule breaking, unsuccessful teams, and burnout, many coaches quickly leave the profession. The following 5 themes can help young coaches get off on the correct foot. • Learn your event area • Learn and re-learn governing body rules (i.e., NCAA, NAIA, High School Leagues, etc.) • Learn how to teach • Learn how to recruit and understand its worth • Learn how to create meaningful relationships with athletes and peers Learn Your Event Area Undoubtedly, there is a wealth of knowledge and resources for track and field. For the young coach, finding the most credible sources and diving in deep is important. Just as a sprinter wants to create the highest acceleration curve in their start, a young coach wants to accelerate their learning on the highest curve possible. I was a completely average athlete with a coach that retired the year I graduated. I was not lucky to start with a mentor, so I turned to professional development courses instead. As a young coach, I wanted to recruit great athletes, develop athletes, and be successful in my career. Without the knowledge of physiology, biomechanics, physics, and psychology, I may have gotten lucky with a few athletes but would not find the sustained success I desired. I sought out professional development classes and worked my way through the different levels (USATF, USTFCCCA, RPR, Altis). I took the knowledge and curriculums and found more sources on my own to review each week. These courses were an easy place to create coaching relationships and an opportunity to begin to develop my network, which would then segway nicely into both formal and informal mentorships. I took the knowledge that I gained from these educational opportunities and applied it in many facets of my career (e.g., writing training, film sessions, practice 42

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sessions, etc.). I not only progressed my own career from year one, but I helped my athletes with training based on sound principles. Are there coaches that enjoy the title without putting in the work? Sure, but there are no excuses as to why collecting knowledge shouldn’t be an integral part in a coach’s development. Cost is one potential concern regarding these courses. There are many opportunities to secure the necessary funding. Outside of saving yourself, many schools have professional development money. Often the organizations running these courses have scholarships. If that fails, go to bat for your career and talk to your superiors about the importance and impact professional development can have on your athletes and the program as a whole. I ended up winning the same scholarship three years in a row from our governing body. Clearly, opportunity is out there. The supporting aspect to professional development, or even alternate route, is seeking out a mentor. Some have an easier time with this than others. It took me three years until I found someone I could call regularly and bounce ideas off of. Currently, I have a network of coaches I regularly communicate with and most of these relationships have been nurtured or developed through professional development and recruiting. There will be more on this subject later in the relationships portion. Lastly, learning the specifics of your events will make you more credible within the coaching community. Unfortunately, there are an unbelievable amount of training ideas, instructional videos and podcasts that greatly lack in factually backed information. Everyone should know that 8x600m is not a speed workout, but google “speed workouts” and 8x600m is the first ‘advanced sprint workout’ that pops up. YouTube can be a great source of quality videos, but often many videos show athletes performing skills incorrectly because of poor instruction and guidance. Learning your events from credible sources will provide you with a framework to better apply your new knowledge with your athletes and will further your skills as a critical thinker. I have a hard time trusting coaches that repeatedly show a lack of knowledge regarding the basics. If you think a fellow coach not trusting you is the biggest issue, wait until your athletes lose trust in you as a coach. The book “Game Changer” by Fergus

Connelly and Phil White outlines this section perfectly with the following quote: “What if we invest in our people and they leave?” to which the response was, “What if we don’t and they stay?” Our profession is at a greater loss with uniformed and uneducated coaches. Knowledge is power. Develop yourself as an asset to a program by advancing your knowledge, and our athletes and colleagues will reap the benefits. Learn your governing bodies rules (i.e., NCAA, NAIA, High School Leagues, etc.) If you want to escort yourself out of the coaching profession quickly, break a bunch of rules. Controversy is a part of sports, each year the NCAA penalizes institutions for rules violations and publishes them publicly. These rules, and their violation, aren’t specific just to NCAA. Each state has a governing body that outline rules for high school athletes and coaches to follow, same for the NAIA and Junior Colleges. It can be hard to say if these violations are malicious or the coaches were unaware. No matter how the violation occurred, the governing body will still bring about disciplinary actions. Ignorance is no excuse. Early on in my career, I had to selfreport some social media violations. The NCAA was clearing the use of multiple platforms, however the rules were not outlined very clearly at the time. I still served a two-week recruiting ban. The NCAA did not care what I did not know, they only knew that I had violated a rule. I worked to better understand the rules. Not only are there meet day rules and regulations governing heat formation, field sizes, qualifying procedures, etc., there are rules for official/unofficial visits, countable hours, recruiting contact periods, and even who can pick an incoming athlete up from the airport. Yes, we are required to pass NCAA recruiting tests, but forty questions are not enough to sufficiently build your knowledge base. Your compliance officer may do rules meetings, but these sessions depend on the quality of the presentation. The first step for me was downloading the free NCAA eBook. I would take a few sections at time that pertained to my duties. As the recruiting coordinator, I read through the official/unofficial visit information. Through experience, you will continue to familiarize yourself with rules and you can always use the rulebook of

november 2018 techniques


young coaches your governing body for reference. Although we are an NCAA Division II institution, I find myself learning a lot of the division I rules as we recruit against division I schools often. Finding any advantage in recruiting is important. No matter the level of coaching, you can never know the rules too well! Learn how to teach Effective teaching is grossly underestimated in the world of coaching. Do coaches that have teaching degrees make better coaches? Not necessarily, but some of the training in social psychology, skill instruction, and applied learning may give these coaches a leg up. I was fortunate to have a background in physical and health education where the director of the program believed greatly in the preparation of her students. Lesson planning for teachers is similar to writing training for coaches. It is easy to slap a warm-up, 10x30m acceleration and a cool-down on your training, but it leaves many details out. Coaches need to know how athletes will be organized, who is leading which group, how athletes will transition from element to element, and who will set up the equipment and when. Having a background in education assisted me with these operations and efficiency details. My college professors would scour the lesson plans I created and any detail that did not make sense either needed to be re-written to make sense or removed. Other coaches should be able to look at our training and know exactly what the goals and objectives are for the day. We do not need to write out every detail about how we will actually carry out the practice, but effectively planning goes a long way to ensure that the quality of the session will be high. If you don’t have an education background, you can turn to apprenticeships, mentorships and graduate assistantships. When anyone reaches out to me about how to get started in collegiate coaching, I suggest finding a graduate assistant position; if that is not possible, I suggest finding a place to volunteer at until it is possible to secure a graduate assistantship position. Being a graduate assistant is a two-year opportunity to learn and prepare for a full-time position. Although it is not the only way to get in to college coaching, it gives a new coach time to learn from the existing staff at a given school. Most of the time, graduate assistants are in charge of smaller groups of athletes and given the opportunity to work under full-time coaches. The reason I choose to put “learn your event area” as my first point in this article is because effective teaching of a skill or technical concept requires a coach to truly understand it. Yelling “pick your knees up” as an athlete runs past will undoubtedly not correct the root issue. A coach must talk to the athlete about how to properly set up stretch reflexes in the hip after touchdown as 44

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the athlete moves the leg back to the frontside of their body. Furthermore yelling “arms” to a 400m runner struggling down the back stretch will do nothing for that athlete if they have not properly executed their race plan and effectively distributed their energy around the track appropriately. Again, teaching technique, events, race plans, and strategies should take up a majority of the sessions with your athletes. Teaching can be applied practically through film study. Review of practice and meet films will not only allow coaches to outline important aspects of the events, but will bring the athletes up to speed on techniques they are striving for. Coaches can provide sound event information while this reflection can help prepare the athlete for future practice sessions and meets. Film study is a teaching mainstay in other sports and should be applied more often to track and field. Lastly, the USATF coach’s education program and the USTFCCCA academy were created to help coaches better unify track-based information and practices. As these courses morph over time, aspects of skill acquisition, sports psychology, program design and session design are being added for a more holistic view of coaching. These courses bring in all the best elements of creating relationships as well since fellow coaches are coming together with like-minded goals. Regardless of whether you are trained in teaching, an athlete fresh off their career, or someone getting in to coaching later in life, there are opportunities and people out there that will help you expedite your career. This collaboration, along with spending time in the trenches actually coaching, will continue to advance our profession and your career. Learn how to recruit and understand its worth. Recruiting is the lifeblood of any program. For college coaches, recruiting talented athletes can be one of the greatest forms of job security. At the high school level, selling the value of your program to other sport coaches and recruiting athletes within the student body can help you maximize your situation. As you show other coaches the value of your program and how it can be beneficial for all sports, the impact and scope of your program will continue to grow. Recruiting seems easy, right? Call some high school/junior college athletes, talk about your program, and the athletes commit. Although this may be the case occasionally, a recruiter must worry about academic programs of interest, geographic proximity, familial concerns, influence of previous coaches, personalities, needs and wants of the athlete, GPA/ACT scores, scholarships, scholarship offers from other programs, and so on. It is no coincidence that there are entire companies that spe-

The Full Names and Complete Mailing Addresses of the Publisher, Editor and Managing Editor are: Sam Seemes, Mike Corn, 1100 Poydras St., Suite 1750 New Orleans, LA 70163. Techniques is owned by USTFCCCA, 1100 Poydras St., Suite 1750 New Orleans, LA 70163. The Average Number of Copies of Each Issue During the Preceding 12 Months: (A) Total Number of Copies (Net press run): 10,354 (B3) Paid Distribution Outside the Mails Including Sales Through Dealers and Carriers, Street Vendors, Counter Sales and Other Paid Distribution Outside USPS: 0 (B1) Paid Circulation through Mailed Subscriptions: 10,261 (C) Total Paid Distribution: 10,261 (D4) Free Distribution Outside the Mail: 0 (E) Total Free Distribution: 0 (F) Total Distribution: 10,261 (G) Copies not Distributed: 93 (H) Total: 10,354 (I) Percent Paid: 100% The Number of Copies of a Single Issue Published Nearest to the Filing Date: (A) Total Number of Copies (Net press run): 9,811 (B3) Paid Distribution Outside the Mails Including Sales Through Dealers and Carriers, Street Vendors, Counter Sales and Other Paid Distribution Outside USPS: 0 (B1) Paid Circulation through Mailed Subscriptions: 9,731 (C) Total Paid Distribution: 9,731 (D4) Free Distribution Outside the Mail: 0 (E) Total Free Distribution: 0 (F) Total Distribution: 9,731 (G) Copies not Distributed: 80 (H) Total: 9,811 (I) Percent Paid: 100% Signed, Sam Seems

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young coaches cialize in teaching coaches how to recruit. It has been proven time and time again that recruiting is an acquired skill. There is little doubt that a proven recruiter has the leg up in moving up the coaching chain by building more successful teams and sustaining success over many years. While always remembering that you must be able to coach/teach as well, prospective coaches that are proven high-level recruiters are more marketable to programs. When I got the job at Minnesota State, I figured out the niche of our university and came up with a corresponding recruiting philosophy. We are an affordable state school, with over 150 academic programs and a high acceptance rate. With this in mind, we once had an applicant for an assistant coaching position state that he only recruited athletes that had ACT scores of 30 or higher. This applicant could have been the best recruiter in the world, but with a team demographic where one of the current 121 athletes on the team met this standard…he clearly missed the niche of the university entirely. With a 93% graduation rate amongst my sprints/hurdles group, I rarely look at ACT and GPA alone as a predictor for their success at MSU. I know we have a great academic support network and the combined goals and motivation for success on the track will help them in the classroom. Additionally, building trust with the athletes’ former coaches cannot be understated; getting their former athletes through your program with success and a degree builds trust for the future. Know your niche, build a reputation of success and reap the benefits. If you are in a program that is not currently successful, cast a large net. You cannot afford to be overly picky while building. Once you have established success, you can narrow your searches. But none of these matters if you are unwilling to put in the time. There will always be the coaches and programs that will blame their lack of success on access to certain athletes or call in to question the eligibility of talented athletes at other universities. More often than not, you will find that those coaches and their programs are not putting in the work. In recruiting, you cannot beat hard work. Learn how to create meaningful relationships with athletes and peers There are two levels to this: First, creating 46

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relationships with established coaches for mentorships and secondly, creating relationships with colleagues within your school, leagues, or division. Keep in mind that coaches you are reaching out to have their own set of responsibilities within their programs. Depending on which coaches you are reaching out to, there may be 100 other young coaches sending the same questions. Mike Holloway (University of Florida) shared some thoughts on this in my most recent USATF Level 3 course. He shared that many coaches are willing to share information and mentor young coaches, but it is on the young coach to stay consistent with communication. I was fortunate enough to do a yearlong apprenticeship with Kebba Tolbert (Harvard) and Ron Grigg (Jacksonville) as a part of the USTFCCCA master endorsement curriculum. Throughout the experience, I worked to balance consistency and preparation, as I knew both were quite busy. These coaches shared their knowledge, we discussed points back and forth, and with two positive experiences, I can still use them as references and resources in the future. On the other end of the spectrum are your immediate coaching colleagues. Opportunities here are nearly endless, and it could be as simple as creating relationships with other coaches in your school or university. Although there are differences in how other sports are coached, direct colleagues within your school can be useful for discussing about team management, recruiting multi-sport athletes, fundraising, and opportunities within the community. Outside of your universities, there are coaches at the conference, national, and high school level that can be used as resources. These people offer opportunities to bounce ideas around and even provide professional release for frustration. At Minnesota State, we host many track and field meets and our meets run smoothly because our staff makes a concerted effort to create positive relationships with the teams that come to our facility. Although I don’t like using the word “networking” and would rather use “relationships,” fostering either can help you down the road with recruiting, promotions, job opportunities, and gaining lifelong friendships. If you want to learn something, set up a time with a coach, buy

them a drink or lunch to make it worth their while. Conclusion Although it is not overly important for the general public to fully understand the nuances of coaching or whether it’s a full-time job, it is important for coaches to understand what it takes to be successful. In the social media world, everyone is an expert. Many times, the more advanced we try to get, the less we revisit the basics. I hope this article assisted in emphasizing five key stops along the road map of coaching. I will leave you with a study done by Duncan MacDougall (1907). Douglas hypothesized that the physical weight of the human soul is 21 grams. Taking this concept and extrapolating if out to the 121 combined athletes on the Minnesota state university track teams, you have 2541lbs of souls that coaches are affecting. Always remember that we as coaches are managing someone’s child on a daily basis and have direct influence and control over their outcomes. Don’t take that weight too lightly, and put in the work to give these athletes an environment of learning as they seek your guidance! References Dunning, D., & Kruger, J. (1999). Unskilled and Unaware of it: How Difficulties in Recognizing One’s Own Incompetence Lead Two Inflated Self-Assessments. American Psychological Association,77, 1121-1134. Retrieved June 7, 2018. Employment Projections. (2018, March 27). Retrieved June 4, 2018, from https:// Thomas, B. (2015, November 3). The Man Who Tried to Weigh the Soul. Retrieved July 6, 2018, from

Chris Parno is the Associate Head Coach at Minnesota State University and directly coaches the men and women’s sprint/hurdle groups, while also serving as the recruiting coordinator. Parno holds a USTFCCCA Track & Field Academy Masters Certification in both the Short Sprints and the Hurdles.

november 2018 techniques



techniques november 2018

november 2018 techniques


ustfccca Supporters


techniques november 2018

Through their ongoing support of the U.S. Track & Field and Cross Country Coaches Association, these companies demonstrate their strong commitment to the sports of Track & Field and Cross Country. The USTFCCCA strongly encourages each member to purchase products and services from these supporters.

november 2018 techniques


ustfccca Coaches Hall of Fame Class of 2018

Dr. Artis Davenport II

Damon Martin

Dan Pfaff

Southern University – New Orleans

Adams State

Texas, LSU, UTEP

Dr. Davenport came to SUNO in 1961 and began a 12 year process to build an athletic department from the ground up. Finally, in 1974, the school began competing in Division III. Under his direction, SUNO’s track & field program immediately left its mark. After a runner-up finish outdoors that year, the Black Knights reeled off three outdoor team titles in a row from 1975 to 1977 and became the first of three programs to three-peat in NCAA DIII history. SUNO put together a masterclass performance to win the 1975 crown. The Black Knights won five individual titles – a feat no program would match until 2003 – and won by 32 points, which was the largest margin of victory at the NCAA DIII Outdoor Championships for 29 years. Dr. Davenport-coached sprinters dominated the NCAA DIII ranks from 1975 to 1982. SUNO won 19 NCAA sprinting titles in eight years, including five in the 4x400 relay, four each in the 200, 400, and 4x100 relay, as well as two in the 100. The Black Knights finished on the NCAA DIII outdoor podium three more times before their move to the NAIA in 1987. The men’s team was third in 1980 and 1982, while the women were runners-up in 1985. Success followed SUNO across divisions as it won four NAIA national team titles and captured 40 event titles with Dr. Davenport. His women’s team swept the indoor and outdoor team titles in 1995 and 1997, while the men’s team took runner-up honors in 1998.

Adams State has won 35 national team titles and 94 conference team titles in the past 29 years under Damon Martin’s direction. The Grizzlies have garnered more than 1,000 combined All-America honors and won more than 100 individual national crowns during that same span. Martin got his first taste of a national championship in 1988 when he was the interim leader of the men’s cross country team, as Hall of Fame coach Joe Vigil handed off the reins so he could focus on coaching at the 1988 Seoul Olympic Games. That was the sixth-consecutive crown for Adams State and one of 12 that it captured at the NAIA level in cross country. From 1989 to the conclusion of the most recent academic year, there have only been five years in which the Grizzlies didn’t win a national title of some sort in cross country or track & field. The women’s cross country team has won 17 NCAA DII crowns, including eight in a row from 1992 to 1999, seven in a row from 2003 to 2009 and most recently in 2017. The men’s cross country team matched the women in 2017 and completed the fifth sweep of the NCAA DII team titles in school history with Martin at the helm. Six of Martin’s national titles have come in track & field with an even split down the middle between the men and women. The USTFCCCA named the D2 Men’s Program of the Year is named in honor of Martin. Adams State has captured the award nine consecutive times between 2008 and 2017.

In 30 years as a collegiate coach, Dan Pfaff coached athletes that combined for 29 NCAA individual titles, more than 150 AllAmerica honors, and a slew of collegiate records. Those same athletes helped their teams to NCAA glory as well, as 17 teams Pfaff assisted won NCAA titles. After a stop at UTEP to head up the women’s program, Pfaff moved to Baton Rouge, where his career took off. As the head field events coach at LSU from 1985 to 1995, Pfaff helped the Tigers win 17 NCAA team titles. LSU’s women were particularly dominant between those years as they captured 15 of those crowns themselves. Following LSU, Pfaff spent eight years as an assistant at the University of Texas. From 1995 to 2003, he helped turn the Longhorn men into a perennial power. Pfaff has guided 33 athletes to the Olympic Games, winning a total of 10 medals, including 1996 100-meter gold medalist Donovan Bailey of Canada and 2012 long jump gold medalist Greg Rutherford of Great Britain. Bailey is one of five Pfaff-coached athletes who have set world records under his direction. In addition to coaching in 10 Olympic Games and 15 World Championships, Pfaff has lectured in 37 countries and has been published in more than 20 of those. He was appointed education curriculum chair for both the U.S. Track & Field Coaches Education program and the NACAC Caribbean Basin Project and is the lead instructor for each organization.


techniques november 2018

John McNichols

Karen Dennis

Ron Mann

Indiana State

Ohio State – UNLV – Michigan State

Louisville – Northern Arizona

McNichols started his collegiate coaching career in 1983 when he was hired as the head men’s cross country and track & field coach at Indiana State University. He’d hold that position until 1989, when he added overseeing the women’s program to his responsibilities. Indiana State dominated the Missouri Valley Conference like no other team in conference history. McNichols-led teams captured 38 conference titles in 34 years (11 cross country and 27 in track & field. Additionally, the Sycamores totaled 464 MVC individual championships during this span). Indiana State standouts captured 15 individual NCAA titles in track & field, seven by Holli Hyche. All of her national titles were consecutive as she swept the indoor and outdoor short sprint crowns in 1993, repeated the following year indoors, and won the 100meter championship outdoors. The Sycamores totaled 113 All-America honors between cross country and track & field, finishing in the top-25 at NCAA meets 15 times. Hurdling was always McNichols’ first love, and he ensured that the Sycamores excelled in that discipline. McNichols coached two hurdlers who won national titles – Chris Lancaster in 1990 in the 110m hurdles Aubrey Herring in 2001in the 60m hurdles. McNichols oversaw the construction of the LaVern Gibson Championship Cross Country Course. of the course, site of multiple NCAA championships. McNichols served as a meet official at the 1984 Summer Olympics in Los Angeles as well as the 1987 Pan-American Games and the 1988 U.S. Olympic Trials before ascending to Head Marshal of the 1996 Summer Olympics in Atlanta.

Karen Dennis began coaching in 1977 at Michigan State – her alma mater – after a successful athletic career that saw her win the 220-yard dash at the AIAW Championships two years earlier. After four years as an assistant coach, Dennis took over as head coach of the women’s track & field team in 1981. Over the next 11 years, Dennis led the Spartans to the 1982 Big Ten outdoor title and mentored a number of Olympians, Big Ten event champions, and All-Americans, most notably Judi Brown, the 1984 Olympic silver medalist in the 400 hurdles. Dennis moved to UNLV in 1992, mading an immediate impact as the 1993 Rebels captured the inaugural MPSF indoor title. Under Dennis’ direction, 12 women from UNLV combined to earn 27 All-America honors, while two competed at the Summer Olympics. After 10 years in Las Vegas, Dennis returned to the Big Ten – but this time at Ohio State. The Buckeye women thrived with Dennis at the helm. Dennis-coached athletes earned 31 Big Ten individual titles, 19 First-Team All-America honors and two NCAA individual event titles. Ohio State, as a team, completed the Big Ten indooroutdoor sweep in 2011 and repeated as outdoor champions the following year. Named Director of Track & Field and Cross Country in 2014, she has guided the Buckeyes to 37 Big Ten individual titles, 31 First-Team All-America honors, and one NCAA individual event title. Dennis is a seven-time USTFCCCA Regional Coach of the Year and served as head coach of the U.S. women’s track & field team at the 2000 Sydney Olympic Games.

Ron Mann’s distinguished career saw his teams win an amazing 66 conference titles in 33 years on the collegiate level. Following eight years between Mesa CC and Sunnyslope High School in Phoenix – his prep alma mater – Mann returned to Flagstaff as the head coach of the women’s cross country and track & field programs at Northern Arizona. From 1982 to 2004, Mann’s teams dominated the Big Sky Conference. The Lumberjacks won their first Big Sky Conference team title in 1984 (men’s XC) and followed that with 57 more, Mann-led athletes at NAU also shined on the national level. The Lumberjacks finished in the top-10 16 different times at NCAAs as a team, hauled in 107 AllAmerica honors and won four individual NCAA crowns – the first from Angela Chalmers at the 1986 NCAA DI Cross Country Championships. Mann retired from NAU in 2004 to focus on coaching the U.S. men’s track & field team at the 2005 IAAF World Championships, but found his way back into the collegiate ranks that same year as the Director of Cross Country and Track & Field at Louisville. Mann’s teams won eight BIG EAST titles, nabbed 47 All-America honors and four individual NCAA championships and placed in the top-10 of the NCAA Championships three times. The Louisville women’s track & field program won five consecutive outdoor titles from 2008 to 2012. Mann also contributed to the sport through his involvement on the Division 1 Track & Field Executive Committee from 2006 – 2013. november 2018 techniques


The Bowerman Finalist 2018

Rai Benjamin

Grant Holloway

Michael Norman

USC Benjamin, a junior from Mount Vernon, New York, left his mark on the collegiate record book and on the world landscape in both the 400 hurdles and as member of the Trojans’ 4×400 relay team. It was in the final of the 400 hurdles at the NCAA Outdoor Championships where Benjamin clocked a time of 47.02, which broke a 13-year-old collegiate record and tied him as the second fastest performer in world history with Edwin Moses. Later that day, Benjamin split 43.6h on the second leg of Southern California’s record-setting 4×400 relay for the fastest second leg split in meet history. During the indoor season, Benjamin twice ran sub-45 second splits as Southern California broke and then bettered the collegiate indoor record in the 4×400, the latter of which to an all-time world best of 3:00.77. Benjamin also finished third in the 200 at the NCAA Indoor Championships.

Florida Holloway, a sophomore from Chesapeake, Virginia, competed in seven finals in three different disciplines between the two NCAA Championships: 60 hurdles, 110 hurdles, indoor/outdoor long jump, 4×100 relay and the indoor/ outdoor 4×400 relay. He swept the NCAA titles in the short hurdles and established five total all-time marks in those events. He broke the collegiate indoor record in the 60 hurdles with his time of 7.42 and ran the second fastest time in collegiate outdoor history in the 110 hurdles (13.15) at the SEC Championships. Holloway finished runner-up in the NCAA long jump indoors and ninth in the event outdoors. The sophomore became the only man in world history to go sub-13.20 in the 110 hurdles and long jump at least 8.10m (26-7) outdoors. That came after he was just the second man to go sub-7.50 and farther than 8.00m (26-3) indoors. As a member of those aforementioned relay teams, Holloway’s Gators finished third twice (indoor 4×400, outdoor 4×100) and fourth once (outdoor 4×400).

USC Norman, a sophomore from Murrieta, California, isn’t just the fastest man in collegiate history over 400 meters, he is among the fastest, period. During the indoor season, Norman broke the world record, which was also the collegiate record, in the event at the NCAA Championships with his time of 44.52. That came less than an hour before Norman anchored Southern California’s 4×400 relay team to an all-time world best mark of 3:00.77 in 44.52. Outdoors, Norman saved his best for the postseason. Norman shined with his 4×400 split of 43.06 at the NCAA West Preliminary Round, which is the second fastest carry in world history. Norman then unified the 400-meter records when he turned one lap in 43.61 at Historic Hayward Field and became the sixth fastest performer ever. Norman finished 2018 with an unblemished record as he went 9-0 between six 400meter finals and three 200-meter finals indoors and outdoors.


techniques november 2018

Maggie Ewen

Arizona State University Ewen, a senior from St. Francis, Minnesota, became the first athlete since 2009 The Bowerman winner Jenny Barringer to simultaneously hold collegiate records in at least two individual events. Ewen bettered her own standard in the hammer throw to 74.53m (244-6) and trumped Raven Saunders’ outdoor shot put record from 2016 by more than five inches. The Sun Devil etched her name into the collegiate record books 13 times as a senior, which included seven of the top10 marks in the outdoor shot put (No. 1, t-Nos. 3, No. 5, Nos. 7-9), five of the top-10 marks in the hammer (No. 1, No. 2, Nos. 4-5, No. 8) and the fourth-best heave in the indoor shot put. Ewen was a three-time NCAA individual champion in 2018 as she swept both shot put crowns and earned the discus victory on her final throw. She became just the fifth woman in NCAA DI history to win the discus and shot put at the same NCAA outdoor meet. Ewen also placed fourth in the weight throw during the indoor season to give her 35 points at NCAA Championships in 2018.

all photos by kirby lee

Sydney McLaughlin

Kentucky McLaughlin, a freshman from Dunellen, New Jersey, dazzled in her initial collegiate campaign, setting a collegiate outdoor record and a world junior record in the 400 hurdles (52.75), a world junior record in the indoor 400 (50.36), an all-time world junior best in the indoor 300 (36.12) and was ranked in the top-4 of the seasonal collegiate best lists in each of the six individual events she contested. McLaughlin also notched three other all-time top-10 marks in the 400 hurdles (No. 5, No. 8, No. 10) to go along with two in the indoor 400 (No. 2, No. 4) and one in the outdoor 400 (No. 5). As a member of the Wildcats’ 4×400 relay team, McLaughlin clocked six sub-51 second splits, including three sub-50 second efforts outdoors. She won her lone NCAA title in the 400 hurdles and finished second and fourth at the NCAA indoor meet in the 400 and 200, respectively. Those results, coupled with a fourth- and fifth-place showing by Kentucky’s 4×400 relay teams, added up to 25¼ points at the NCAA Championships.

Keturah Orji

Georgia Orji, a senior from Mount Olive, New Jersey, is the first three-time female finalist for The Bowerman. She won three NCAA horizontal jump titles in 2018 and finished runner-up in the other for a grand total of 38 points at NCAA Championships to help the Bulldogs win the indoor team title and finish second outdoors. Orji became just the third woman in NCAA DI history to complete the long jump-triple jump double outdoors and won yet another indoor triple jump crown with a meet record effort. During the indoor season Orji bettered her own American and collegiate record in the triple jump to 14.53m (47-8) and tallied four other all-time top-10 marks (No. 4, t-Nos. 5, No. 8). Outdoors, she improved her collegiate record by 3¾ inches to 14.62m (47-11¾) and added the third-and sixth-best all-time marks to her ledger. Orji barely missed the all-time top-10 in the outdoor long jump with her leap of 6.81m (22-4¼) at the SEC Championships ending up being tied as the 11th best performer in collegiate history.

november 2018 techniques


Surface Options It’s not just what’s underneath that counts

By Mary Helen Sprecher - American Sports Builders Association


hether you’re looking into construction of a new track or reconstruction of an old facility, one of the choices you’ll be faced with is the type of surface. Since it’s one of the most important decisions you’ll make, you want to know you made the right decision. So – what is the right decision? Ultimately, there is no right decision; there’s just the decision that is right for your site, your needs, your weather, the scope of use, your athletes, your facility and of course, your budget. So what are some of the options afoot? Here’s a brief synopsis. Tracks can be categorized three ways: Permeable, meaning water passes through the surface to the asphalt or concrete pavement below. Impermeable, meaning the surface sheds water, allowing water to drain or evaporate off it. Semi-permeable, meaning the surface is resilient, yet can handle water. Within these three categories, however, there are various types of surfaces. An overview of these follows. Speak with a 56

techniques november 2018

contractor who specializes in track installation to get recommendations on which will fit your needs the best. Polyurethane Systems (Permeable and Impermeable) – a number of these are available on the market; they are as follows: Permeable Systems include polyurethane base mat surfacing systems and polyurethane base mat structural spray. Impermeable Systems include polyurethane sealed base mat structural spray surface, polyurethane base mat sandwich system and polyurethane full-pour surface. Latex Surfacing Systems (SemiPermeable) – these generally consist of rubber particles of a specified size, shape and composition, bound together by a water-based latex primer. Four different types of latex systems are recognized (black mat, colored binder, colored sandwich and full-depth color systems). Additionally, there are hybrid designs on the market. Another variety of latex system is the latex-bound track. Premanufactured Tracks are also available. These may be permeable or impermeable. Generally, they are classified three

ways: as a premanufacured base mat with a seal and a polyurethane structural spray top coating, a premanufactured base mat with a seal and a massive polyurethane coating applied to the base mat with embedded colored EPDM rubber granules; and a premanufactured, vulcanized rubber product that is installed in a single layer and does not require any further finishing for use. Something builders are occasionally asked is “What happened to the old cinder tracks?” Some natural material tracks (not just cinder but natural clay, fired clay, decomposed granite, expanded shale and more) are still used in some regions but they have declined in popularity due to the advantages of other systems on the market. Asphalt tracks are also occasionally installed; the surfaces of these tracks were either sand-asphalt-rubber (SAR), asphalt emulsion and rubber, or roofing asphalt and rubber. Because these do not meet force-reduction standards, they are no longer recommended by the American Sports Builders Association. One of the more popular questions is always: How much does a track cost? Like the forces that will shape the decision on which track surface to choose, the cost of that track will be dependent upon several factors, including (but by no means limited to): • Geographic region • Site location and accessibility • Soil conditions • Type of facility (whether the track is part of a complex, whether it will encircle a field, whether it is being built inside a stadium, etc.) • Whether this is new construction or renovation of an existing project – and what is involved as a result of this • Weather (which can affect construction) • Construction season Your track installation contractor can advise you on options and help you decide upon the system that will work best for you.

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Techniques November 2018  

Techniques November 2018