"In the past, I had rarely prepared ahead for the competitions. This year I have a four to six week period where I want to jump well and then I'm going back into the training mode. Then I'll come out again in May and I'll be ready to jump well at that time.
"I may lay low all year but when the Olympic trials come around, I'll be at my best. If I improve two or three percent, I'll be among the best in the world."
That minimal improvement could come with a refinement in technique, Balkin said. Sneider believes that the best way to learn is to teach. For the past two years, Balkin has been an assistant track coach at Glendale College.
"He inspires these kids a lot," Glendale Coach Tom McMurray said. "He trains with the student-athletes and they see how hard he works and how it pays off. Sometimes people have injuries and people give up. But he's never given up. He's a great inspiration to our program."