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Three Phases Of The Horizontal Jumps by Reuben Jones

By DMorgan
Created 06/19/2011 - 6:43pm

The key to a great jumping performance is consistency.  Consistency in the approach begins in the first two to three strides of the approach run-up.  The horizontal jumps approach has the same goal as any short sprint race:  to accelerate as long as possible and to hold maximum velocity.  I plan on talking about the horizontal jumps approach by breaking the run down to three sections:  the Drive Phase, the Transition, and the Last Four Steps.

PHASE 1: DRIVE PHASE

Coaches should give as much attention in their training to the first two to three steps of the approach as they do the takeoff.  Most errors in the takeoff, and the jump as a whole, are a direct result of an inconsistent drive phase.  The drive phase should be as close as possible to the start of 100m races [1]. To teach a consistent approach, coaches should always remind athletes to sprint down the runway.  The more the drive phase of an approach is related to the drive phase of a race, the easier it becomes for the athlete to translate proper technique to the runway.

Always teach power first, without being too quick when addressing the first 6 steps of the approach.  Power is needed to overcome the body’s inertia.  In physics, power is defined as the rate at which work is performed or energy is converted.  Therefore, power is an important component of speed.  So in fact, the drive is still fast but there is a strength emphasis.  I give athletes three key cues to help athletes emphasize being powerful in their drive phase:

I. Big Arms

Teach athletes to focus on aggressive arm swings greater than 90-degrees [2] for the first three to four steps.  Big arms help assure the jumper is not running too fast too soon.  Remember that the arms and leg should be synched together.  So if the arms are long with a full range of motion, then the lower body also has to go through a full range of motion, which will allow for more force application.

II. Head Alignment

In the drive phase, the body is at a 45-degree angle with the ground.  Make sure the head is in natural position with the rest of the body, not bent at the neck.

III. Powerful Steps

At this point of the approach, the ground contacts should be longer than the contact times near takeoff.  Stride length is more important than the stride frequency in this part of the approach.

DRILLS THAT DEVELOP THE DRIVE PHASE

How to design a training inventory for the horizontal jumps. [4]

 

PHASE 2: TRANSITION

In the middle of the approach, jumpers begin to transition from driving with horizontal pushes to an upright posture with vertical pushes.  The body is at 90-degrees with the ground.  At this point, maximum velocity should be attained.  Foot contacts should happen directly below the hips.  Most difficulties with athletes arise in this transition from the drive phase to the upright position.

Concentrate on the position of the head when transitioning.  Allow the head to GRADUALLY come up with the rest of the body.  Athletes should be able to feel the rhythm of their approach get faster as they move down the runway.  Good front side mechanics should always be taught.  Remember, approach mechanics are the exact same as sprint mechanics.  Coaches should devote two to three days each week to developing sound approach technique.

DRILLS TO HELP DEVELOP A STRONG MIDDLE SECTION

PHASE 3: THE LAST FOUR STEPS

It is important to put emphasis on the last four steps because this is where a lot of athletes change their rhythm. Good front side mechanics are foot contacts landing underneath the hips with a run at a fast, controllable speed.  In both jumps, coaches should teach jumpers to run THROUGH the takeoff and NOT to run TO the takeoff.  The last four steps differ significantly between the two horizontal jumps.  I will go into a more in-depth explanation below:

LONG JUMP:

TRIPLE JUMP:

DRILLS THAT WORK ON THE LAST FOUR STEPS

CONCLUSION

The largest improvement in the horizontal jumps can come with a consistent and effective approach.  Paying sufficient attention to these three phases can greatly improve the chances of success for an athlete in the long and triple jumps.  Breaking the run down to the drive phase, transition, and the last four steps makes teaching and coaching the horizontal jumps a much easier process.


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