Last week at the track, our other two distance coaches were out on the same night, so my awesome friend and fellow coach Shayna, who normally helps with the long jump, helped me coach the distance kiddos. Shayna’s no stranger to running and has done a marathon and a few other long races; plus, she has the encouraging coach spirit that’s more important than any distance or time one runs.
The next night, I paid a visit to the long jump sand pit to reciprocate Shayna’s favor with some raking. What distance coach with *zero* upper body strength doesn’t like a good arm/shoulder/back workout from raking a sand pit?
Knowing next to nothing about field events, I picked up the rake and smoothed down the sand pit. The other coaches measured run distance, and the kiddos warmed up with some agility exercises and a few short but fast runs to shake the legs out- it’s important to get good speed, power, and control before jumping.
Others were there to comment on technique and ways to improve, so I stood back to watch the kiddos long jump. With so many ages and abilities at the track, you just do what you can (as a coach) to help each athlete improve- and improvement is different for everyone. As a runner, I was just there to encourage, give high fives, and rake.
One little girl jumped and pretty much just fell in the sand; another kiddo took off and went almost nowhere. Some kiddos jumped far and even hit personal (practice) records. Some had good days, some… not-so-good days.
Out of curiosity, I took a practice jump myself- my distance slips my mind, but I’m still shaking sand out of those running shoes.
Reflecting on track, life and the move, I’m about to take off into a sand pit. So many factors come into play for jumpers. Speed. Flexibility. Strength. Foot placement. Control. Velocity. Balance.
Speed, foot placement, and velocity aren’t big concerns in the long jump pit of adulthood, but flexibility, strength, control, and balance definitely are. While I secretly wish I had three chances to get the jump right, one shot is usually all you get in the track meet of life.
I have to trust my training, speed down the runway, and take the leap of faith. Just as I’m a stranger to the long jump pit, I don’t have all the answers right now…
… but I know who does.
You might like…