Training Tips for Taekwondo Athletes by Chong KwanJangNim Richard Hackworth
Plyometric training and a good game plan are keys to success in Tae Kwon Do competition.
Whether you are training for your first Tae Kwon Do tournament or want to increase your kicking speed, there are several specific drills that will improve your fighting. Combined with a structured training program and a solid strategy, competitors will improve their tournament performance.
Plyometric Drills for Tae Kwon Do
Plyometric drills are used by athletes that rely on speed and power in competition, and like many exercise regimens, should be used under supervision. These explosive exercises are designed to increase performance in W.T.F. style competition Tae Kwon Do which relies on quick snapping kicks and foot speed. Tae Kwon Do is also fought in flurries, and having appropriate cardiovascular training is also valuable.
To improve kicking speed and conditioning, athletes should try:
•High knee sprints (sprinting as opposed to distance running simulates a Tae Kwon Do match)
•Burpees (from a push up position, bring knees to the chest together before jumping up and bringing knees to the chest)
•Mountain Climbers (From a push up position, alternate bringing knees to the chest)
To build leg strength, balance, and speed, athletes should try:
•High Skipping (Skip in a bounding motion)
•Squat jumps with foot scissors (from a squat jump high while crossing ankles in a scissor motion)
•Jumping on to a box (vertical jump)
•Jumping over a box laterally (sideways jumping keeping the feet together)
•Stationary lunge jumps (from a lunge position, jump into alternate lunge position)
Tae Kwon Do Drills for Competition
Working with your coach and Tae Kwon Do instructor is important as they will be familiar with your skill and level of fitness. High percentage scoring techniques in W.T.F. Tae Kwon Do include the roundhouse kick and the spinning back kick. Focusing on only these two kicks is a tactic of many elite level Tae Kwon Do athletes. Practicing with a partner is valuable in order to learn timing and accuracy. These drills can improve Tae Kwon Do sparring and tournament performance.
•Partners stand face to face, not in fighting stance. Competitor A will use Competitor B for a reference point and targeting practice. Competitor A will leap side to side with a replacement step while delivering a round house kick (Replace the right foot with the left foot in a skipping motion while delivering a right roundhouse and then return to the original stance).
•From fighting stance, Competitor A will deliver a roundhouse kick. Competitor B will shuffle back a step and deliver a spinning back kick to the chest. Repetition of the drill will build muscle memory to allow quick use while fighting.
•Many competitors close distance when in trouble. Starting from a clinch, Competitor A will push away with a punch to the chest before delivering a roundhouse kick.
Training For a Taekwondo Tournament
Plyometric drills and competition specific drills will increase physical performance. Mental performance and confidence can be increased through sparring. While the tournament is a month away, increase sparring time against different level opponents. Practice delivering strikes with power currently. With two weeks to the tournament, spar lightly, either engage in touch sparring, shadow sparring, or working with people who have good control to prevent injury. As the tournament approaches, visualize the upcoming fights with the techniques you will use, and most importantly, imagine success.
To your success,
Chong KwanJangNim Richard Hackworth
C.E.O. US National Taekwondo Association
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