This is a question and answer for Jazmin Sawyers, written by Stuart Weir. Stuart is our European senior writer, located in Oxford, England, the intellectual capitol of the world.
Jazmin had an exciting season, and we think that you will enjoy this interview.
Jazmin Sawyers, photo by British Athletics
Jazmin Sawyers talks long-jump
Questions to Jazmin Sawyers on the long-jump – everything you wanted to know but were afraid to ask!
RunBlogRun, #1. How did you start long jump?
Jazmin Sawyers: I started athletics [track and field] at school, probably in year three [Age 8]. We had high jump in the hall, long jump out in the field, sprinting and hurdles. I just loved it. I excelled at athletics in town and city events for my age group and loved it. Long jump was one of my strongest events but I always intended to be a heptathlete because my three strongest events, the ones I would always enter at events, were high jump, long jump and hurdles. I was reasonable at all three. When I was 14, I jumped 1.77. So in my head, when I grew, I was going to be really good at high jump but it never really happened. it turned out that I was better at long jump than I ever had been at heptathlon. So I cut that off and stuck with long jump.
RunBlogRun, #2: Your long-jumping got hijacked by bobsleigh; how did that happen?
Jazmin Sawyers: British bobsleigh turned up at my school. They were looking for brakemen. I went to a presentation and thought it sounded fun. Their tests were 30 meter sprints, standing long jump and vertical jumps – stuff that I was already doing and stuff that I was good at. I was 16 and I had the opportunity to try a new sport and maybe go to the Youth Olympic games. I decided to get involved.
RunBlogRun, #3: What is the connection between long jump and bobsleigh?
Jazmin Sawyers: Everyone says that when you think about the training and the movement. You are pushing and sprinting for 30 meters and then you jump in. You’re training to be fast, strong, powerful and while the technical elements are quite different, the physicality is quite similar. So training didn’t have to change much apart from the technical stuff.
RunBlogRun, #4: Can you explain why a long jumper can start a competition with a 6.80 one day and 6.20 the next?
Jazmin Sawyers: Round one has been a point of contention for me. I spent a long time of fouling. So most of the time in round one I’m nervous about fouling so I have tended to try to get a safe jump in. But talking to my sport psychologist I concluded that a safe jump isn’t worth any more than a foul. It’s not going to help you. But something about having a legal jump calms me and helps me to relax and go for it. I’m trying to have the same mentality in round one that I have in the rest of competition. But I haven’t yet managed to load up the intensity in round one. I have even played around with taking a full jump in warm up so that that feels like I have already had my round one jump.
RunBlogRun, #5: What causes fouls?
Jazmin Sawyers: It can be that you didn’t warm up enough and you’re warming up into the competition. But it can be – and this is often me – that rather than putting my foot straight down on to the board, I’m reaching for it. Especially when I was younger, that was standard for me.
RunBlogRun, #6: Describe your run-up?
Jazmin Sawyers: My run-up is 37 m and 10 cm, with a little walk on. Ultimately all I’m trying to do is be at my maximum speed at the board. Put simply. it’s be as fast as you can at takeoff. At times in my head, I over-complicate it, thinking about different phases but the most important thing is to be as fast as you can at the board. This year I have increased my actual speed running over the flat, sometimes it’ll feel really fast and a put the brakes on a little. But bit by bit I am learning and trusting it.
RunBlogRun, #7: How much jumping do you do in training?
Jazmin Sawyers: I jump twice a week. We train hard Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, Friday. That is a track session and a gym session. In winter – November to January, I do exactly the same training as the sprinters with no jumping at all.
RunBlogRun, #8: What do you want from a coach?
Jazmin Sawyers: I want someone who believes that I have the same potential as I believe I do. I want someone who is clear about the program that they want me to do. Someone who will treat athletes as individuals, someone who cares about me as an individual and that I can get along with. Some people just see the coach relationship as business. I understand that but I need to get on with my coach. I have a good relationship with Lance and enjoy working with him. I don’t do well being told off. I’m not thick skinned I’m sensitive