Lessons on bounding from John Pryor

Bounding is a core component of track and field training and one of the most powerful forms of plyometrics. As with any powerful tool it is a double edged sword. Used effectively it can be one of the best tools to develop reactive strength. Used poorly it can hinder mechanics or lead to injury. In our latest video lesson, coach John Pryor looks in detail at bounding and discusses how he uses bounds effectively for his athletes. Below are four key lessons that I took away from him.

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A guide to jumping for throwers

When I think of jumping for throwers, Werner Günthör is the first athlete that comes to mind. The 130-kilogram Swiss shot putter could almost fly and this explosive strength helped him capture three world titles. Jumping is perhaps the ultimate expression of power and can play an integral role in preparing throwers. But as with anything, it needs to be adapted to the needs of the sport and athlete, especially in a sport whether athletes can be massive. Below are a few considerations for integrating jumps into the physical preparation of throwers.

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The power of instructions in jumping

As strength coaches we focus a lot on exercise selection. But exercise execution is just as critical: perform the same exercise differently and you can train two entirely different physical qualities. On last month’s GAINcast with Professor Warren Young we got one great example: how you intrust an athlete to perform a drop jump can lead to drastically different execution.

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Adding the hips into jump training

Jumps come in all different forms, and so does jump training. By tweaking how we perform jumping movements in training, we can focus on different physical qualities and skills.

For example a standard countermovement jumps or squat jumps are more knee dominant, primarily utilizing power from the quadriceps to extend the knee. Allow athletes to use their arms and they can create more momentum from the shoulders as well. Reactive drop jumps, on the other hand, are more ankle dominant. Top performers have great ankle stiffness that allows them to have shorter ground contact time despite the higher eccentric forces. But what about the hips? The hips play a central role in nearly all athletic movements, but jumps training often neglects the action of the hips and core.

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April 2022 in review: preparing for contact

Throughout April we looked at team at preparing athletes for contact. Our team of contributors put together 2 new podcasts and 5 new articles on the topic from 8 contributors. Find links to both our new and archived resources on contact below.

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February/March 2022 in review: throwing

Throughout February and March we looked at team at topic close to our heart: throwing. Our team of contributors put together 2 new videos, 6 new podcasts, and 5 new articles on the topic from 10 contributors. Find links to both our new and archived resources on throwing below.

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Are you training with a chainsaw or sandpaper?

Swedish speed skater Nils van der Poel was one of the most impressive athletes at last month’s Winter Olympics. After obliterating the field and setting records at both the 5000 and 10000m events, he released a free eBook detailing his training plan and philosophy. One important point he made was in what tools he choose. There is a role for nearly every tool in training, but you have to choose the right tool for the purpose at hand. He used the analogy of a sculptor to get his point across:

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What coaches can learn from watching kids throw

Recently James Marshall wrote about the need to develop general throwing skills before specific throwing skills. The topic of general throwing skills is worth diving more into. Thankfully this is a task that GAIN faculty member and award-winning physical education teacher Greg Thompson has to deal with every day at the primary school level. Watching his teaching progressions can help coaches of all levels in several areas. Below I show two key lessons we can take from Thompson: how advanced coaches can improve their understanding of movement by breaking it down to its basics, and how to balance constraints and cues in teaching movement.

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3 lessons to help find your throw

Throughout the month we’ve been looking at different perspectives on throwing. Normally our throwing content focuses more on training methods, but recently we’ve also been giving special attention to throwing technique. One common theme has appeared over and over with different athletes in different events: the best throwers find a technique that works best for them, rather than chasing a one-size-fits-all technical model. Our recent video lesson on hammer throw technique shares some specific examples of this from the hammer throw. Below are three lessons that athletes in all events can learn from in order to find their own throw.

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January 2022 in review: the hamstring

Our site theme last month was the hamstring. With all of our year-end posts we did not dedicate as many new resources to the topic as we would in a normal month, but it’s about quality not quantity. Our article on a systems approach to the hamstring was one of our most popular of the last year. Below are all of our new and archived content on the topic.

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