Dec. 1, 2004
Junior Marla Jackson (Jacksonville, FL/Stanton College Prep) heads to Clemson with the rest of the Seminole track and field team to open the 2004-05 campaign at the Clemson Opener. Jackson, who made the transition from sprints and jumps to solely jumps, breaks down her preparation for the meet with FSU's Sports Information. The early childhood education major talks about her mindset heading to Clemson, what she has to wear for big meets and some things she always does before competition.
Sports Information: What approach do you have going into Clemson? Are you looking to win, go for a certain height or just overall performance?
Marla Jackson: I'm just looking to perform well. I don't want to do to well because I don't want to peak now at the beginning of the season. I just want to see where I'm at and how did I improve over the offseason. My goal height is 5'7", which is my personal record - which isn't high. Last season, I had two practices all year in the high jump where as now, I've just been practicing the high jump.
SI: You return to Clemson's Indoor Arena for the first time since the 2003 Atlantic Coast Conference Championships. Does it help you, entering this weekend's meet that you have already performed in that arena?
MJ: Kind of. I'm not very fond of indoors so it's just another track meet to practice my technique and approach. That's one of the things I've been focusing on, get my approach down and be more consistent with it. I'll just use it as practice to see how I do in competition.
SI: Do you have any meet rituals that help you get ready for competition?
MJ: Aside from jump drills, I always listen to music, preferably something crunk or down-south to get hyped. I'm usually by myself with my headphones on warming up, trying to visualize the jumps and remain calm so I do not put pressure on myself. I have my gold full body suit for big meets because that's what I'm comfortable wearing.
SI: How do you focus to go out and do your best?
MJ: I always pray before I compete, always. Competing in the high jump and doing well is pretty much a mental thing so I'm more quiet when its time to jump and just focused on the bar. Try to psych myself out saying, `Today, you're going to jump this high,' or `You're going to make regionals this meet.'
For more information about Jackson and her teammates, visit www.seminoles.com.