Wednesday, February 24, 2016

Sometimes, Doing Things "Wrong" Is Best

Track and field is a sport with many unique characters.  With many different events, it is easy to see why many different personalities emerge.  But when it comes to techniques and training methods, there is rampant conservatism in track and field.

Once a triple jumper or long jumper wins a world title or Olympic competition after getting the crowd to clap before each of his jumps, you will find junior high athletes doing the same thing.  Rarely will someone blaze their own trail on the track or on the field.

Two such athletes are former world record holders Al Cantello and Dick Fosbury.  Al had one of the most unique styles of throwing and was small in size for the event.  Luckily his delivery maximized the Physics involved and propelled him to the top of the field.  I was fortunate to meet him at his XC camp in the 70s. Old School Coaches like him and Coach Groves are a disappearing breed.

Al Cantello, left.

Dick Fosbury couldn't make the required height of 5 feet to make his high school team as a Freshman, so he experimented on his own and ended up revolutionizing the whole event.  When was the last time you saw a Western Roll or Scissors or Eastern Cut-Off or Straddle?

Dick Fosbury, 1968.

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