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The Taylor clan and the triple jump connection

Pair held day-long jumping clinic at the Laurentian University track a few weekends ago
Jim and Ryan Taylor will, more than likely, forever be associated with the pursuit of triple jumping excellence. (Supplied)

Jim and Ryan Taylor will, more than likely, forever be associated with the pursuit of triple jumping excellence. They will also always enjoy strong ties to the Sudbury area.

Both aspects of their connectivity to the local track and field scene were in prominence a couple of weekends ago, with the pair welcoming some forty of so athletes, coaches and parents to a day-long jumping clinic at the Laurentian University track.

The father of a pair of jumping athletes, Jim suggested the very genesis of the "Learn to Fly" initiative was present on this very day. 

"The idea of offering this course started last summer, when I had lost my job," said Taylor.

"I was in a tither, wondering what I was doing to do. We were at OFSAA and Dick (Moss) said, 'that's a pretty easy answer - you should be coaching and doing clinics at this point in your life. You have a lot to give.' I came up with the Learn to Fly, but it was Dick that gave me the gentle push," said Taylor.

Bringing along his extremely accomplished son (Ryan) for demonstration purposes, Taylor addressed some of the core concerns that he has when people first find their way into the jumping sports.

"They typically go and just jump in the pit, even though they haven't learned anything about preliminary movements, haven't learned anything about connective tissue, muscle warm-up, stuff like that," he said.

"That what I focus on, because that's the most neglected thing, even at his (Ryan's) level. I actually like to 'broad-base' my approach. Even today, I broadbased it with some of our move advanced people, as well as the beginners. I broadbased it into a movement first, teaching the movement."

Interestingly enough, those who represent the ultimate destination of this information are, often times, more easily convinced of its merit. 

"The athletes understand the message better, sometimes, than the coaches," said Taylor.

"The athletes are seeing the breakdown of it, where the coaching are just wondering why we aren't jumping. The athletes understand it more because they feel the benefits of it."

As for the feedback from the clinic, Taylor was more than a little excited by the back and forth conversation that developed. 

"I love the fact that kids are asking questions," he said. "I format my clinics, on purpose, so that the kids see that it's not all about jumping, it's about the preparation to jumping. They recognize it by the end of the clinic."

For Ryan Taylor, the day-long clinic and weekend in Sudbury was a wonderful opportunity to re-connect with friends and acquaintances that he had no seen since leaving Lasalle Secondary for the Kitchener-Waterloo region after grade ten.

Now 20 years of age and having just completed his freshman season as a member of the Central Michigan University Chippewas, where he was recruited on a track and field scholarship, Taylor looked back on year one of four in his NCAA career.

"It's a big adjustment, living so far away from home," said the 2017 OFSAA long jump and triple jump champion. 

"A lot of stuff happened, personally. There was just a bunch of little bumps in the road, but I was able to step back, after I got injured in the indoor season, and really think about what happened, what I can do to improve.

"It's tough, going from high school to university," Taylor added. "It's a completely different workload, it's a completely different life. You're on your own now. It was a tough year, but I'm definitely back on a good path.

"The injury didn't help, but yesterday was my first time jumping in four months and I did a six stride jump of 14.66 metres. That's almost what I jumped to win (junior) nationals last year. Seeing all the kids out here, at the clinic today, at Black Flies yesterday, it really reminded me of why I do it."

While there is no doubt that Taylor could always enjoy a degree of success in both of his jumping pursuits, he does see the time coming when he can soon narrow down his focus to his specialty event.

"I enjoy the long jump, it's fun, but it's also what's been causing my health issues lately," he sajd. "I haven't trained long jump at all recently. Triple jump is my peanut butter and jelly. That's my thing. It wouldn't upset me if I wasn't doing long jump after university. It's definitely not my favourite thing. I do it because I can."

Moving forward, the young man who was named Athletics Ontario Youth Male Jumper of the Year in 2015 is confident that another wave of progress is just around the corner.

"I red-shirted my outdoor season this year, so I'm not going to be jumping (in competition) this summer," Taylor said. 

"I'm going right back to basics, I'm going to get strong. Every time I've failed, I've learned something. You take a step back and attack the next season."