Coaching Tip: Immediately Increase Your Athletes Broad Jump

Increasing the Distance of an External Focus of Attention Enhances Standing Long Jump Performance According to a recent study published in the Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research, simply by increasing the distance of an external focus of attention, relative to the body, standing long jump performance can immediately improve.  Numerous studies have already indicated that using verbal cues to direct an athletes attention externally significantly enhances motor skill performance.  However, the tasks tested were not complex, explosive movements such as standing broad jumps and vertical jumps.

Findings from an early study done in 2003 by McNevin et al. provided initial evidence that increasing the distance of an external focus away from the body enhances balance performance.  The study by Porter et al. verified this hypothesis for jumping.  Testers performed 2 reps with 3 sets of different coaching cues.  The first coaching cue was “jump to the best of your ability”.  Followed by, “jump as far past the start line as possible” and lastly, “jump as close to the cone as possible”, the cone was placed directly in front of the subject 3 m away.

The results showed testers jumped a significantly greater distance focusing on an external cue rather than the internal cue, and even further when the external cue was moved to a greater distance.

Providing verbal instructions that direct athletes attention externally, either near or far, elicit automatic motor behaviors that result in greater jumping distances than compared with neutral instructions that do not promote automaticity within the motor control system.

What does this mean for you as an athlete? Well, if your not already doing so, concentrate on an object that is further away than your target length before you jump!  Don’t think about internal cues before you jump.  Ever hear a coach say, “Don’t think too much just go do it!”  Well there appears to be some validity to that.  Take it a step further and focus your concentration on a single point at a greater distance away from you and see your broad jump improve instantly.

As a coach, giving your athletes external coaching cues can increase their performance.    When testing your athletes, try placing a cone, piece of tape or some other target at a distance that is beyond the athlete’s jumping ability, then tell the athlete to jump toward the target.

References

McNevin, NH, Shea, CH and Wulf, G. Increasing the distance of an external focus of attention enhances learning. Psychol Res 67: 22-29, 2003

Porter, JM, Anton, PM, Wu, WFW.  Increasing the distances of an external focus of attention enhances standing long jump performance. J Strength Cond Res 26: 2389-2393

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Chris Campbell

Chris Campbell - CEO and Co-Founder Through my passion to forge myself into the best athlete possible, I developed a love for performance training. I learned and experienced that with the right training and the right coach, any athlete can change their body and maximize their performance. The passion I experienced as an athlete trying to find the best training regimen to achieve all my goals was the foundation for starting Peerless Athletics. I began a journey to find the “Holy Grail” of training by learning from great coaches and combining the best parts of each system into one complete training system: Peerless Athletics. I have personally been trained by the best performance coaches in the country including: - Mike Boyle (Director of S&C for the Boston Red Sox) - Dennis Logan (Head of NFL Combine Prep Program at EXOS) - Keenan Robinson (North Baltimore Swim Club and Michael Phelps’ SC) - Rob Oshinskie (Owner/Founder of Victory Sports and Performance) - Joel Saunders (Director of Adult Performance Training at EXOS) - Dennis Keiser (Owner/Founder of Keiser pneumantics) - Rob Taylor (Owner of Smarter Team Training) - Mike Gittleson (Fmr. U. of Michigan S&C Coach) - Augie Maurelli (Fmr. U. of Delaware S&C Coach) - Scott Moody (Owner/Founder of AthleteFIT) - Kevin Boyle (Director for Explosive Performance) - Chris Gorres (Regional Director for Explosive Performance) Athletic Accomplishments: As a walk-on at the University of Delaware, I beat the odds by earning a starting position and a full athletic scholarship. I played fullback/h-back and linebacker for the Blue Hens from 2009-2011. In 2010 we won our conference, the CAA, and went to the D-1 FCS Championship Game. After college, I used the Peerless Athletics Training System to improve my combine stats dramatically. I was invited to the NFL Super Regional Combine to workout in front of all 32 NFL teams. I would have never got to that stage without Peerless Athletics Training Systems which is why I am now dedicated to providing every person I work with the opportunity to use our system and become the best version of themselves.