High jumpers are an interesting group of athletes. At first glance these tall and gangly athletes do not always look like the most explosive athletes. But watch them jump and there is no doubt about how much force they can produce. On this episode of the podcast we talk with Fuzz Caan from British Athletics about deconstructing the event and how he trains athletes for it. In addition, he shares how his background as an actor has taught him a lot about the role of communication in coaching.
Notes and quotes
Fuzz Caan is a senior coach for British Athletics and the lead high jump coach in the country for over a decade, producing many of the UK’s top high jumpers, including 2012 Olympic bronze medalist Robbie Grabarz. A former 2.21m high jumper at Iowa State University, Fuzz is also a professional actor. We discussed his unique career path, what he has learned from acting, and approach to training and movement in the episode.
- 5:00 – Starting out as an athlete and learning about the high jump.
- 8:30 – Studying acting and coming back to the high jump: “The principles that one would put towards training as an athlete are very similar to what an actor needs to do to prepare. And just like acting, athletics is based on rhythm. “
- 14:30 – Communicating better: “We have to remember that all we have is language. We can use cheap words or powerful words. We need powerful words that can change the athlete’s outlook. “
- 19:00 – Beyond the words. “Silence and the gaps in between are almost more powerful than the words themselves. “
- 21:30 – Caan’s approach to technique and style: “You can’t distinguish between slow and fast high jumpers. There are only fast and faster jumpers. You can’t jump up in the air slowly; to defy gravity one has to move quickly. “
- 25:30 – Deconstructing the game and the role of general training.
- 27:00 – Training for relative strength and ideas for strength training: Everything we do is working on power, to move faster.
- 32:00 – Strength feats of high jumpers and finding the individual blueprint for success.
- 34:00 – Hypertrophy and holistic training: “You don’t have to be big to be strong. You can develop strength in any type of body. ” “Building up training in blocks has it’s place. The pyramid was built with blocks. But that doesn’t mean we always need to build with blocks, down the road you need a more holistic approach. “
- 36:00 – Understanding movement: “S&C coaches can become better coaches if they explore movement. You see things differently. “
- 37:15 – Lifting and peaking in a long season.
- 41:30 – Why S&C coaches need to get experience coaching skills. “You cannot take you PB in the clean to the Olympic final. All you can take is you capacity to run the curve, stand up, and express some force at take off. “
- 45:30 – Movement as art and favorite high jumpers of all time to watch.
- 52:30 – Individualizing technique.
To hear more on these topics, listen to the full episode above. Also be sure to subscribe to our podcast and review it on iTunes.
The following links were referenced in the podcast or provide some additional reading material on the topic:
- Join HMMR Plus so you don’t miss all the content on our site, including past episodes of the podcast, our deep article archives, video library, and more. If you like the podcast, don’t miss our latest book Training Talk: Conversations with a Dozen Master Coaches for more in-depth insights on training from some of the world’s top coaches.
- You can reach out to Caan on Twitter at @fuzzcoaching.
- We have also discussed jumping with top coaches Herbert Czingon on Episode 180, Jeremy Fischer on Episode 130, and Boo Schexnayder on Episode 162.
- We have also put together many resources on including jumping and plyometric movements into training, including Video Lesson 4 in the HMMR Classroom and podcast Episode 88.
- We references Martin Scorsese’s editor Thelma Schoonmaker in the episode. You can listen to a great interview with her on the Studio 360 podcast.