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Tactics for Combined Event Competition Matt Lydum, Head Coach Tactics - Defined tac·tics n.

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Tactics for Combined Event Competition Matt Lydum, Head Coach

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tactics defined
Tactics - Defined


  • (used with a sing. verb) The military science that deals with securing objectives set by strategy, especially the technique of deploying and directing troops, ships, and aircraft in effective maneuvers against an enemy: Tactics is a required course at all military academies.
  • (used with a pl. verb) Maneuvers used against an enemy: Guerrilla tactics were employed during most of the war.

(used with a sing. or pl. verb) A procedure or set of maneuvers engaged in to achieve an end, an aim, or a goal.

divisional competition standards
Divisional Competition Standards

Intermediate and Young men and women (17 & 18 year olds) compete in Decathlon and Heptathlon

Midget (11 & 12) and Youth (13 & 14) boys and girls compete in Pentathlon

Bantam (10 & under) boys and girls compete in Triathlon

intermediate and young men women

Day one


Long Jump

Shot Put

High Jump


Day two

110m hurdles

Discus Throw

Pole Vault

Javelin Throw



Day one


High Jump

Shot Put


Day two

Long Jump

Javelin Throw


Intermediate and Young men & women
midget and youth boys girls pentathlon
Midget and Youth boys & girlsPentathlon

(all in one day)

  • 80m (midget), 100m (youth)
  • Shot Put
  • High Jump
  • Long Jump
  • 800m (girls), 1500m (boys)
bantam boys girls triathlon
Bantam boys & girlsTriathlon

(all in one day)

  • Shot Put
  • High Jump
  • 200m (girls), 400m (boys)
combined event competition
Combined Event Competition

“Many athletic disciplines, from gymnastics to rodeo to Nordic skiing to equestrian, have all-around contests. However, track and field represents the most fundamental sport in which athletes run, jump and throw. The decathlon measures these fundamental athletic talents in terms of speed, strength, agility, spring and endurance. While one athlete may be faster, another stronger and yet a third a better jumper, the decathlon attempts to determine who, among the three, is the best all-around or general athlete.”

From: A Basic Guide to Decathlon, Griffin Publishing, 1996, p. 24

become familiar with the rules
Become familiar with the rules
  • Generally, the rules are the same as the open events.
  • It is a good idea to acquire a rulebook appropriate to the competition. USATF rulebooks are available free (for members) online at:
  • Remember, only three attempts in the throws and long jump.
  • Study the vertical jumps rules carefully. There is a strategic advantage to knowing about passing attempts.
  • At least 30 minutes between events.
  • An athlete will be disqualified from a running event after 2 false starts.
  • Athletes must make an attempt at each event. Failure to start an event will remove the athlete from the competition and no final score will be given.
  • Vertical jump progressions:
    • High jump is raised in increments of 3 centimeters
    • Pole vault is raised in increments of 10 centimeters
  • Long throws (discus and javelin) are measured to the least even centimeter.
  • Other field events are measured to the least whole centimeter (no fractions of centimeters).
embrace the metric system
Embrace the Metric system
  • All measurements in combined event competition are done with the metric system.
    • This is done for consistency
  • Athletes and coaches should start to learn personal bests and goal distances in metric, without the need for translation.
  • The media and fans, however, still like to know the feet and inches.
    • When converting, you must always round down.
big gold book
Metric Conversions for Track & Field, Combined Decathlon/Heptathlon Scoring and Metric Conversion Tables, and Other Essential Data for the Track Fan, Athlete, Coach and Official. The latest version (2005) of our “Track Fan’s Companion,” now with women’s decathlon tables, updated rules,pacing charts, implement specs, etc. Wirebound to open flat. 189pp.

  • Training gear
    • Comfortable & well fitting (avoid extremely baggy basketball shorts).
    • Weather appropriate (be prepared).
  • Shoes
    • Good running shoes
    • Specialty shoes Vs. Multi-purpose spikes
specialty shoes vs multi purpose spikes
Specialty shoes

Throwing (shot & disc)


High Jump

Long Jump



Multi-purpose spikes

Throw in court shoes or running shoes

Inexpensive multi-purpose spikes


Specialty shoes Vs. Multi-purpose spikes
  • Throwing
  • Pole Vault
  • Other training and competition equipement
throwing equipment

(start with the most inexpensive, as you improve, you will have a good idea of what kind of more advanced equipment will be good for you)

  • Shot
  • Discus (high rim weights are for advanced, and strong, throwers)
  • Javelin (javelins are expensive, take good care of them)
pole vault
Pole Vault
  • Work carefully with your coach to find poles that are appropriate for you.
  • Store poles properly.
    • Drainage tile works well.
    • Avoid the freeze/thaw cycle in the winter.
  • Never lay poles on the ground during practice or competition. They could get spiked, stepped on, etc.
    • Lean them on a hurdle or put them back in their tube.
  • Always have properly fitting pole end plugs that are in good condition.
  • Cracked or spike poles must be destroyed (they become crossbar putter-uppers).
other equipment
Other Equipment
  • Tape measure
  • Towels (for wiping off implements)
  • Tape and chalk (for marking approaches)
    • Chalk is good for training, but is not allowed in competition
  • Medicine balls
  • Spike kit
  • Portable chair with shade
what to bring to the meet
What to bring to the meet
  • Uniforms
    • At least two singlets
    • Bodysuit
    • Underwear, compression tights, etc.
    • T-shirts and baggy shorts
    • Sweat suit
    • Rain gear
    • 4 or more pairs of socks (at least two each day)
other stuff for meet day
Other stuff for meet day
  • Music (be award of rules regarding headsets)
  • Hat
  • Sunglasses
  • Sunscreen
  • Extra shoelaces
  • A few roles of athletic tape
  • Spike kit
  • Towels
  • Tape measures
  • Scoring tables, calculator, notepad
  • Video camera (be aware of rules regarding the review of video during competition)
  • Chair & umbrella
drinks and food at the meet
Drinks and Food at the meet
  • Practice eating during track practice
    • Take a little snack every 30-45 minutes
  • Get protein (and carbs) though out the day
    • Sources
      • Peanut butter
      • Sports bars and drinks
      • Trail mix
  • Stay hydrated
sports psychology
Sports Psychology
  • Arousal, anxiety, & getting “psyched up”
  • Centering
  • Visualization
  • Positive self-talk
  • Goal setting
  • The C’s of success
arousal anxiety getting psyched up inverted u theory
Arousal, anxiety, & getting “psyched up”inverted U theory

  • Focus on your center of mass
    • Solar plexus
  • Breath (expand belly during inhalation)
  • Mentally rehearse the event
    • Use your senses: what do you hear, see, smell, feel?
  • Point of view
    • Insider
    • Outsider
positive self talk
Positive self-talk
  • Avoid “stinking thinking”
  • Others respond to your attitude and body language. Control it. Think and act like a champion
  • Stop thinking negative thoughts as soon as they come into your head. Train yourself to think positively.
goal setting
Goal Setting
  • Realistic
  • Short and long term
  • Action steps
  • Timeline
  • Write them down and tell someone
  • Use your goals to help you make decisions.
the c s of success








Propers to Rick McQuire

The C’s of Success
get enough sleep
Get enough sleep
  • 8 hours is minimum for a training and competing athlete
  • Reasons why you don’t get 8 hours
    • I-M ing people late at night
    • Free nights and weekends
    • Caffeine and sugar
    • Poorly organized (pulling all-nighters)
    • Over stimulated late at night (video games)
consequences of not getting enough sleep
Consequences of not getting enough sleep
  • Failure to adapt to training (not recovering from workouts)
    • If this happens regularly, injury and sickness will be the result
  • Poor attitude
  • Poor nutrition (using caffeine and sugar stay awake)
  • Always feeling tired
nutrition for training
Nutrition for training
  • Avoid too many processed, fatty foods:
    • Cheese its, Oreos, etc.
  • Avoid too much soda
  • Drink plenty of water
  • Get (a least a little)protein though out the day:
    • Breakfast, lunch, after training snack, dinner
    • Protein bars are more than enough (perhaps split them in 3)
  • Fast food strategies
    • Diet pop or tea or water or milk or juice
    • Salads
    • Avoid supersizing
    • Choose healthier options
    • moderation
  • Recovery snack
    • 200-300 calories right within 30 minutes of training
    • Carbs and protein (10-25 grams as soon after as possible)
      • Examples
        • Endurox
        • Juice and ½ protein bar
        • Fruit and yogurt
        • Bagel and peanut butter
enjoy training and competition
Enjoy Training and Competition
  • Teach yourself to love going to the track or weight room to train.
  • Remember that you are blessed with the ability to compete. Be thankful and enjoy expressing your abilities.
become students of the sport
Become Students of the Sport
  • Always keep learning
    • Books, magazines, websites (be careful of unedited sites)
    • Clinics and camps
    • Keep a journal
    • Pay attention to your body
    • Learn about all aspects of success