…I found, this past year that by using a walk/skip in approach it gave me a "rhythm" so to speak, instead of starting from a cold standstill. It felt more natural to me and I might argue that it gave me as much, if not more accuracy on the board than a crouching or rocking start.
I guess there's always outliers but I personally think that they introduce too much variability. With the walk-in or run-in approach the athlete inevitably begins the approach 2-3 inches off from the true starting position. With the stationary or rollover you can eliminate this. Also, with run-in / walk-in approaches there's not just the increased variability of hitting the 'go' mark right on….there is also the variability of hitting it at the same speed. If you don't hit it at the same speed, you'll be entering the actual running portion of the approach with what amounts to a greater or lesser fly zone.
Is it better to have linear acceleration all the way to the board, or at least until the penultimate step OR is it better to accelerate to sub-maximal speed until a driving point where you fire on all cylinders until takeoff. I've always used the first way, but once I did use the second way and it felt very good. It felt like I was actually faster across the board, and doesn't it make sense to assume that your speed would be greater coming across the board than a linear acceleration from the beginning.
I personally teach a linear acceleration. This is what I've been taught from some of the best jumps coaches in the world and I've never had a problem with it. It's actually impossibly to accelerate all the way to the board. At least it is if you're running full speed and setting up the penultimate. The penultimate step is a compromise. You're going to lose some speed but you're going to gain the ability to generate vertical impulse. Ideally, you minimize the loss of horizontal velocity during the penultimate. This doesn't however mean that telling athletes to 'accelerate in to takeoff' is a bad cue. In fact, in many cases it works great to keep the athlete sprinting aggressively in to the takeoff as opposed to backing off two steps out and really overdoing the setup.
Also, looking back at my jumps here's one thing that I think if I changed would help a great deal, I hope. After accelerating to full speed and I am lowering myself the last 2 strides to takeoff, I feel as though I am not accelerating anymore, just lowering myself with the momentum gained through run up before take off. I was thinking for greater jump distances wouldn't it make sense to keep accelerating through the lowering of the body before take up because I'm almost certain nearly everytime I jumped I would just 'coast' through the final two steps. Is acceleration through the final two steps uncommon or have I been missing the boat?
As I said above, unless you are really loafing the approach, you shouldn't be able to accelerate through the penultimate step. You really just want to maintain speed as best as possible while putting the body in to a position that it can jump up from.