General Thoughts For Decathlon Coaches

  • Best combined event athletes are fast and explosive
  • Train to improve athletes that are fast and explosive
  • Be on the same page with terminology as your athletes
  • Focus on one to two technical skills during practice 
  • Try different phrases and ideas to fix one technical issue in practice
  • Use broad terms and ideas early in training year
  • Use specific and focused ideas in competition 
  • Simple little phrases work best in competition
  • Get feedback from your athletes

Should young combined event athletes train all of the events?

Athletes should slowly learn all of the event areas, however developing strong events early can be beneficial, especially when athletes are helping the school team in junior high or high school.

Develop skills and technique to minimum base line level

  • Athletes and coaches need to understand the point system
  • Balance training to reach a baseline performance in all the events
  • Train weak events to a base line level
    • score at least  xxx points in every event
  • Least amount of gains with experience are in the high jump, 100m and shot put
    • least technical of the events
  • After a baseline in all the events are established, the focus can move to specific events

Top overall athletes with strong work ethic and patience will have the best chance to succeed

Train Common Themes with Decathletes

  • Train commonalities together in practice
  • Takeoff in the jumps
  • Approach runs (jumps and javelin)
  • Train speed for the track and power in the field events together
  • Train block starts with and without hurdles

400m Training 

400m training is the heart of any decathletes speed endurance plan

Running the 4x400m in competition is important to improve the self confidence of a decathlete

1500m Training

  • Do not train as a 1500m runner
  • Train the 1500m every 7-10 days
  • Sample meet preparation workout – 7-10 days from competition)
    • 800m (race pace) 1 minute rest
    • 400m (race pace) 1 minute rest
    • 300m (150m race pace plus 150m kick)

Complimentary Training

  • Multiple jumps and throws
  • Acceleration training
  • Strength training for speed and power

Coaching During the Meet

  • Limit number of cues: no more than two per event
  • Review the cues before each event
  • Fix the first technical error first
    • The back of the circle in the shot put
    • The drive phase in the long jump approach

Competition Warm Up

  • Warm up for first event only at the start of the day
  • Stay focused between events, rest and review event strategy
  • Use the time between events to hydrate and snack


Mini Meets and Training Sequence Simulation

  • Use mini meets with correct event sequence and modified rest periods
  • Events do not have to be exact competitive event
  • Limit mini meets because of the training intensity and volume

Sample Mini Meet

Event: 60m

15 minute rest

Event: Long Jump

Meet warm up plus 3 attempts

15 minute rest

Event: Shot Put

Meet warm up plus 3 attempts

15 minute rest

Event: High Jump

Meet warm up plus 3 attempts

Event: 300m

Cool down 1 mile (jog easy/walk)


Training Sequence Simulation

  • Low volume with high quality training for competition preparation
  • Follow proper sequence with training
  • Not as demanding physically as the mini meet

Event: 100m 

3x30m sled pulls (2 minute rest)

10 minute rest

Event: Long Jump
3x 12 step approach (5 minute rest between approach runs)
3x 8 step long jump for distance (5 minute rest between jumps)

All Access Membership Long Jump Approach Video


10 minute rest

Event: Shot Put
3x stand throw
3x mini glides with no reverse
3x glide full throw

10 minute rest

Event: 400m
1x 300 (95%) 2 minute rest
1x 150m (95%)

Cool down 1 mile (jog easy/walk)

Non-Decathlon Track and Field Meets

  • Work on weak events more often the best events
  • Try to simulate event order
  • Do not hop from event to event if possible
  • Run the 4x400m

Decathlon Competition Mindset

  • Have a plan for all the events going into the meet
  • Focus one event at a time
  • Do not reflect on a positive or negative of previous event

Safe Attempts and Planning

  • Safe attempts in the field events are ok
  • Have a just in case plan of one foul or two fouls

These are just some general ideas and considerations for coaches and athletes in the decathlon.

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