Bobsleigh Athlete Testing at Okanagan Peak Performance

A while ago we did something really cool at Okanagan Peak Performance.

We ran a number of athletes through the Bobsleigh Decathalon Camp which is a number of tests the National team uses to identify potential athletes to compete in this sport for Canada.

So what tests are we talking about? Here’s the list.

1. 40yd dash – x2 attempts

2. Standing Triple Jump – x3 attempts

3. Overhead Backwards Throw – x3 attempts (4kg-women; 5kg-men)

4. Squat Toss – x3 attempts (4kg-women; 5kg-men)

5. 40yd sled pull – x2 attempts (sled + 10kg-women; sled + 20kg men; sled is approx 3kg)

6. Standing Hurdle Jump – 3 misses at a height and you are out

7. Power Clean – 1RM

8. Bench 225lbs x reps (95lbs for women)

And when I say ‘we’  I should clarify it was Chris Le Bihan who put the athletes through the various tests. Chris is former National Bobsleigh team member who won bronze in the 2010 Olympics and we’re lucky to have him training at our facility.

This was a huge bonus for the athletes as they had someone who is not only passionate about sport and athletics but has ‘been-there-done-that’. His opinion carries a lot of weight due to the success he has had on the World Cup and Olympic stage in his sport.

I won’t go through all the test we covered but will describe two in particular.

The first was the fourty yard timed sprint. We used timing gates for this test meaning the athletes’ times were as accurate as possible. They would pass through the light beam to start the time and then run through the gate at the opposite end to stop the clock.

It was fun to break down various aspects of the athletes sprint technique.

What were some of the common things to work on and improve their times? One thing many of them would benefit from would be to establish an aggressive forward shin angle on the start. Here’s what a positive shin angle looks like.

In the first picture you can see the shin of the front leg points forward and lends to higher levels of acceleration. In the second picture the shin is more vertical and no forward direction. This will lead to either vertical lift, or worse, a braking force.

Getting the athletes to work on establishing a more positive shin angle on the lead leg will propel them out of the start position more forcefully.

The other test was fun to evaluate was the standing vertical hurdle jump. Here’s a video so you can understand.

This attempt was at 48 inches and you can see that Matt cleared the hurdle with his jump but caught the bar with his J-Lo on the way down.

The keys for the athletes to improve on this test include:
* a strong load up by reach tall
* followed by throwing the hands down as hard as possible to create a pre-stretch
* pressing the feet as hard as possible into the ground
* thinking of getting the torso as high as possible
* tucking the knees to the chest
* extending the hips forward to clear the bar on the way down

It was great for Chris to come out and create this opportunity for the local athletic communnity. It was great for the athletes to try these tests. It was good for them to pick up some tips on testing and training. And it was fun to do as well. Watch our blog and facebook page for updates regarding a repeat of this test in September.

Chris Okanagan Peak Performance Inc.

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