High Jump Tips

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How can I show my athletes the importance of using one's arms in the high jump?

Bottoms Up!

Sit on the ground with your legs straight out in front of you. Swing your arms, anyway you choose, one at a time, and try to lift your bottom off of the ground without touching the ground with your hands or bending your knees. Can't do it can you? Now, pull both arms behind your body, elbows bent at ninety degrees. Keeping them bent, swing your arms in front of your body and stop them abruptly when your triceps are parallel to the ground. Wow, now your seat is not longer on the ground is it? This simulates the double arm block at the takeoff point in the high jump. This is the one of the best and first high jump drill that beginning jumpers should learn and practice every day.

   
Why do people high jump backwards?

Back to Basics

Back it up! Back overs – have jumpers stand with heels about eight inches from the edge of the pit. Have them drive and block their arms while jumping off of two feet. Teach dropping the head back to look at someone standing off of the back side of the pit, not jumping into the pit. Athletes should never be thinking about getting into the pit. Dropping the head will lift the hips to clear the bar.

   
What should I concentrate on when training for the high jump?

"Lean Away!"

One of the more difficult, yet most important sections of the high jump for most athletes to nail down is the coordination of the last three steps. In the last three steps of the high jump, the athlete's body should be leaning away from the bar. If a coach were to take a picture of the body position on the very last step, a line should be able to be drawn from the top of the head, down the length of the spine and continuing down the takeoff leg to the ground.

This away position allow the jumper to convert vertical speed to horizontal speed with enough space to help the hips, the center of mass, fly on a parabola over the top of the bar and not into the bar. Top help athletes get comfortable in this position at a fast yet controlled speed, have them practice running twelve foot diameter circles around cones.

   
How can I develop better focus for the high jump?

Keep Your Eye On the Black Box: Intro to Visualization

Visualization is an important element of jumping events. The athletes must be able to tune out distractions and crowd noise and almost think themselves over the bar. A visualization technique for beginners that has been used by some high jumpers and other track and field athletes is to stare at a piece of paper with a black box in the center for about 2 minutes. Then look away from the paper at a blank wall and you should see the reverse; a white box on a dark background. The purpose of this drill is to learn to focus your attention. Future tips on this site will address more advance visualization drills.

   
What is the most important part of the high jump?

Use Your Arms!

The last three steps are the most difficult for the body, and even more difficult to coordinate with the arms. On the penultimate step of the high jump, jumpers should have both arms back behind the body, elbows bent, in preparation for the drive and block at the same time as the takeoff.

To teach this coordination to jumpers, teach them to walk ten steps, counting them aloud with a regular arm swing, and on the count of eight, hold the arm that is back behind the body, on the count of nine, the other arm comes back to meet it, and on ten, the final step, both arms come forward, driving the body up and off the ground. Have athletes repeat this sequence over and over, and then have them do it with a pop or tiny jump on the end to simulate the actual take off.

   
What should I look at when high jumping?

Watch Where You are Going

Your head and your eyes will dictate what your hips do. If you are looking down at your feet or your steps, you certainly won't jump up in the air. If you are looking at the bar when you jump, you will run right into it. A high jumpers gaze should shift over the course of the approach and then the jump. It should start at the near standard.

When the jumper begins the curve of the J-run, their sight line should move with their shoulders and hips toward the middle of the bar, and as they get closer to the bar and their hips and should are turning more perpendicular to the bar, they should be seeing the far standard.

At the point of takeoff, the gaze of the high jumper should be parallel to the bar, not looking at any of the high jump apparatus but at something that could be along the line of the bar about twenty feet away. After the take off the high jumper should lean their head slightly back and try to look at something on the opposite side of the pit from the middle of the bar.

   
What is a good way to organize high jump training?

Jump Training

Suggested high jump training for beginning or intermediate jumpers:

  • Day 1 - 8 x 50m on the track curve
  • Day 2 - circle drills, back overs, 5-step scissors, 5-step jumps
  • Day 3 - 10 minute run, 4 x 100m
  • Day 4 - circle drills, back overs, 5-step hurdle drills, full approach jumps
  • Day 5 - simulate competition jumping with bar
  • Day 6/7 - 4 step jumps off of a box or ramp, full approach runs with no jumps

   
What materials, equipment and clothing does a high jumper use in competition and training? How does this differ from the 1940’s and 1950's?

High Jump Equipment

Back in the 1940's, cotton was king. Though nylon and some other synthetics were on the scene, they weren't in wide use for clothing – and that was as true for track and field as it was for street clothes. Today's high jumper, though, usually wears synthetics – mostly forms of nylon and polyester.

Shoes have also evolved. Nylon uppers and synthetic soles weren't in general use for footwear in the WW II era. Leather and canvas have now given way to nylon and other synthetics, which make for lighter, more breathable shoes. Manufacturers such as Nike and Adidas make shoes specifically for high jumping.

Modern foams and air bags have made high jump pits a much more comfortable proposition… and enabled the development of the “flop” style jump that now predominates in the sport. Early jumpers used the scissors style partly for self-preservation. Landings could be hard.

The use of glass composites and aluminum for crossbars is also a fairly modern innovation.

   
What type of running training should high jumpers do?

Jumpers are Runners

High jump training should consist of running short sprint distances and longer distances with lengthened strides, explosive strength and agility training, and weight lifting. High jumpers need to be strong, fast, and flexible, not necessary tall or thin, though height gives an advantage of course.

Dynamic stretching will increase range of motion and strength in muscles that are in an elongated position. High jump training can be worked into practices three times a week including any meet days, if the athlete competes in other running events.

   
How can I be a successful high jumper?

Jump Right In

Not so fast! Most student athletes want to literally jump right into the event when they join the high jump team. But before any athlete approaches the pit, they must first learn the proper high jump technique. The success of the high jump depends on consistency.

How high and how well you jump depends almost entirely on what you do on the ground and very little on what you do in the air. High jump technique should be learned from the ground up and from the take off back.

   
How can I develop better focus for the high jump?

Keep Your Eye On the Black Box: Intro to Visualization

Visualization is an important element of jumping events. The athletes must be able to tune out distractions and crowd noise and almost think themselves over the bar. A visualization technique for beginners that has been used by some high jumpers and other track and field athletes is to stare at a piece of paper with a black box in the center for about 2 minutes. Then look away from the paper at a blank wall and you should see the reverse; a white box on a dark background. The purpose of this drill is to learn to focus your attention. Future tips on this site will address more advance visualization drills.

   
What are some high jump drills that will help athletes work on all aspects of the jump?

Start Small

Some useful high jump drills for beginners and experienced jumpers:

  1. back overs from the ground and from a six inch box
  2. scissor kicks from five steps
  3. hurdle drills from five steps
  4. jumps a low height from five or six steps

Practice warm-ups should mimic meet warm ups. Whatever sequence and combination of drills athletes do to prepare for practice jumping should be the same in type and duration as what they do for meets. Muscles have memory and you want to trigger the muscles that will tell your body to run, lean away, drive, block, and layout.

   
Which athletes make good high jumpers?

Pick 'em Right

How do I recognize an athlete that could be a good high jumper? High jump coaching is a very technical job. The tallest or thinnest athletes may not be the best selection to compete in the high jump. Your most ᾦ#156;coach-able” athletes, those who well aware of their bodies and can respond to technique instruction, and athletes who are coordinated and have the best control over their limbs are the athletes you want to teach the high jump. High jumpers are runners first, technicians second, and jumpers third.

   
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