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Upon the completion of my junior year, I really began focusing on Long and triple jump over the summer. I began training on my own for the following year. I wish I knew more about training then, however I did the best I could with the knowledge I had. I was very excited for the indoor season to begin, I had high hopes. I believed I was going to see drastic improvements. At the first meet I jumped 19’7.5ft in the long jump. I improved by half an inch. I was very disappointed. I thought that by just getting more athletic I’d see big improvements. I had no idea how important technique was, I was still a novice at jumping, not only that but for the indoor season we did not having a jumping coach, nor did we have an indoor track that allowed me to actually practice jumping.
Jumping at the track meets was my practice during the indoor season, although I did not get the results I wanted at the first meet, I did notice improvements each meet, by the end of the indoor season I jumped 21ft. Only one meet had triple jump for the indoor season, I jumped 39’6ft inches, I was not as disappointed in that as I was with the long jump, triple jumped requires a lot more technique work. Once the outdoor season finally arrived, and my jump coach was available, along with our sandpit and runway being available. I was ready to see drastic improvements, and that was exactly what happened. At the start of my outdoor season I had never even won a meet, nor did I have a single medal. At the first outdoor meet, my teammate and I combined to win first place in the long jump and we combined to win second place in the triple jump. I also jumped a personal best in the triple jump at the meet, I jumped 40’3.5ft. At our next big meet I jumped 43’2.5ft, I even made it on the newspaper, I held onto that newspaper clipping for years until I unfortunately lost it 2.5 years ago. I went several meets after without improving in either one of my events, my long jump had completely went stagnant.
At this point I had qualified for the district championships in the triple jump, however, not for the long jump. If I remember correctly the qualifying jump for the long jump was 21’6ft. At that point in the season I hadn’t even jumped 21ft. With three weeks left in the season something clicked in the long jump for me, I began learning better jump mechanics, I knew I had the athletic ability to jump far at the high school level, but just not the mechanics. My first breakthrough in the long jump happened by accident at a home meet. I normally jumped from the 4ft board during our home meets. For those that don’t know, the distance a board is how far it is from the actual sandpit. When I had my break through I jumped a feet behind the 8ft board, so I took off from the wrong board, the officials still had to measure my jump from the 4ft board. When they measured from the 4ft board I only jumped 17ft, however my coach had the officials measure where I jumped. The actual distance of my jump was 22ft, however it did not count, therefore I still had not qualified for the district championship in the long jump.
Stay tuned for blog on this topic.