How do you combine a jump program with what the high school coach is doing? Possible?
By Jack Woodrup
For a lot of young athletes doing well in high school sports is a hugely important time in their life. Up for grabs for those who play are very valuable college scholarships, and in some cases, maybe even pro careers. Even if you don’t aim that high doing well on the court and getting more playing time can often be a pretty good reward in itself.
So with that in mind, it isn’t in entirely far out statement to say that High School coaches hold a great deal of power in the student athlete/coach relationship. So what do you do if you are looking to improve your vertical jump so that you can improve your on court or on field performance and your high school coach has you doing something that seems very counterproductive to that goal? Can these two situations co-exist?
Well, the first thing you need to realize is that the coach is not your enemy. If they have you doing something they more than likely have their reasons for it. If you think that what the coach is asking you is genuinely going to hurt you and your teams performance than you should consider setting up a meeting with him to ask him or her about it. Questioning your coach can be a bad move if you do it wrong (like in a timeout huddle right at the end of a tight game for example), but it can help build your relationship if you do it right.
This I would think meant visiting their office, asking your question, letting them answer, and if you are still unsatisfied, bringing up a few well researched counterpoints and maybe even offering an alternative suggestion.
Another issue you might face is that sometimes increasing your vertical jump isn’t necessarily the biggest thing that you should be working on. For example if you are a basketball player and already have a pretty decent running 34 inch vertical jump but have no endurance, well in order to get better basketball you might need to prioritize doing some more conditioning work so that you can still play solid defense and have your legs on your shot late in games. Conditioning work generally won’t help your vertical though so if you are looking to get that 34 inch running up to 40 inches you will need to way up which goal is more important.
If it is just jumping high for the sake of jumping high then you might consider quitting the team and trying out for high jump or long jump, both of which will definitely compliment your jumping goals a lot more. If you really want to play basketball though you might just have to shelve those plans for the 40 inch jump until the summer off season.
That said, even if your coaches goals differ from your jumping goals there is still plenty you can do to maximize your chances of increasing (or at the very least , maintaining) your vertical jump. In season work should consist primarily of basic strength training (squats, deadlifts, step ups), some dynamic low impact work (kettlebell swings, moderately loaded Olympic lifts), and of course some low level jumping drills to maintain the explosiveness (box jumps, seated jumps).
High school sports can be a very rewarding experience for the young athlete, but it can also be very stressful. On one hand you want to do right by your team and your coach, and on the other you want to challenge yourself to improve as an individual. How effectively you balance those two goals out can be a real challenge and sometimes the best thing to do is take a step back and reassess what you want out of your sport and then once you have made those decisions, give it your best shot to achieve your goals.
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