Long Jump & Triple Jump
Long Jump Technique
The approach is a consistent build up of speed with good running mechanics. It’s important to be consistent in the approach so your takeoff spot on the board is consistent. The final four strides set up the takeoff, with a solid takeoff form the board.
The long jump starts from the back of the runway, a simple standing sprinters start is a good place for most beginners. Experienced jumpers sometimes add individual routines at the start of the approach, but use a visual check point to start the acceleration pattern.
Speed in the Approach
Jumpers sprint down the runway with good acceleration mechanics and transition into maximum velocity mechanics during the final steps on the approach run. Transitioning from acceleration to max velocity mechanics should be smooth with the body alignment maintained as the jumper slowly rises up into a good sprinting position.
The jumper lowers the center of mass without compromising speed. The long jump penultimate step will lower the hips and prepare the jumper for takeoff. The body lowers and the foot rolls from heel to toe and the body moves past the penultimate stride. As the jumper prepares for takeoff, the jumper settles or lowers the hips slightly to prepare for takeoff. The penultimate stride (second to last step) gets the jumper in position to drive up at the takeoff.
During the takeoff the body moves up and over the takeoff leg with the free driving up. The body is slightly behind the takeoff foot but rises up and moves forward toward the pit. Long contact time with the takeoff foot as the body displaces forward is a key to quality jumping. The arms swing and alternate forcefully at takeoff. The free leg is also driven aggressively, with the knee driving up and the foot tucked and the toe pointed up.
The purpose of in air mechanics is to minimize forward rotation and set up a proper landing position.
Proper technique in the air will start with the free leg returning under jumper, similar to running one step while on the air. The upper body will be tall with a flat back.
After the peak of the jump, the arms sweep forward and down to the hips. The feet are extended out until the jumper hits the sand. The knees and hips absorb the impact of the landing as the body continues to move forward. Then the legs straightened in front of the jumper allowing the heels to slide into the sand. The lower body should slide into the impact area trying to create one small landing impact area that was first created during initial touchdown of the body.
Long Jump Teaching Progression
Takeoff marks can vary depending on the age and ability of the athlete. Proficient jumpers take 14 -20 step approaches. For most beginners a six-step approach is enough to gain momentum and prepare for the takeoff. The approach is a build up run, when the athlete is about halfway down the runway on approaches longer than six steps, the jumper should be near their controlled top end speed. The top end controlled speed is maintained until takeoff preparation.
Beginning level jumpers and athletes under 14 years old
12-14 total steps
Intermediate level jumpers and athletes from 15-17 years old
14-18 total steps
Advanced level jumpers and athletes over 19 years old
20+ total steps
A general rule of thumb is matching the age of the jumper and the number of strides taken in the approach run.
Approach Length for Training Jumps
For practice sessions, it's best to take short approach jumps. Generally, a 6-12 step approach with jumping are done in training, longer approaches or full approach jumps are only done during competition.
Consider short approach jumps as long jump drills and do not be concerned about distance, focus on the technical execution of the various phases of the long jump technique.
Long Jump Drills
Rhythm High Knees
Getting a rhythm in the stride as the jumper gains speed on the approach is essential to maintain good control.
Setup – An approach area for the jumper to work on this drill right up to the scratchboard.
Procedure – During the approach, the stride starts off with higher knees and a slower rhythm. As the runner counts their strides (planning their acceleration towards the scratchboard), the pace of the rhythm increases.
The jumper will have a pre-determined number of steps in their approach, as they have counted the typical number of strides it takes for them to reach the takeoff point. As they reach each acceleration point, the rhythm increases in pace.
This drill simulates the increased pace and the exaggerated high knees of the takeoff approach.
The heel pop is the final step before takeoff and leads into the cycling during the jump in the air.
Setup – Enough room to execute this jump with a 4-3-2-1 heel-pop count prior to jumping.
Procedure – Most jumpers will abide by the 4-3-2-1 heel-pop approach in their final strides before takeoff. This works on those final steps prior to the actual jump.
The jumper will begin the approach taking the first step with the lift leg. Each time the lead leg hits the ground, the jumper will count down (4-3-2-1), once the jumper reaches 1, then the next step taken will be the takeoff foot.
When the takeoff foot hit the ground, it will be heel first and then a rock forward while the lift leg begins the jump. The rock forward to the toe is the push off point when the lift leg is up. This is the ‘pop’. The foot pops forward as the last contact before gliding through the air.
Aside from technique repetition, the heel pops are also a great ankle and foot strengthener for the jumper.
The cycling is the running in the air that jumpers do to squeeze out the last few inches of a jump – and to teach the aspect of ‘running out’ of the landing.
Setup – All you really need is the sandpit in order to complete this long jump drill.
Procedure – Running out of a landing is the technique taught to jumpers that helps them gain the most out of the last few seconds of their jump. Most jumpers have seen the Olympic athletes and their continued strides through the air.
In this drill, there will be a short running approach, and then a takeoff. After the takeoff the jumper needs to continue cycling or running through the air. This includes the entire body – as though they were trying to continue sprinting through the air.
This should continue as they land, and then can run out of the landing.
High / Low Pop-offs
Most of your jumping athletes are going to find this drill quite enjoyable as they soar through the air to a lower ‘pit’
Setup – You will need a raised area, such as a stage in a gymnasium, and then a foam pit on the ground below them.
Procedure – This pop off drill allows the jumper to get more time to perfect their airborne technique.
From the stage, the jumper will have a 4 step approach as they reach the edge of the stage, they will execute a pop-off similar to the heel pops drill earlier. The jumper has more time to work on the cycling and the run out of their landing by doing this drill.
Coaches should watch the airborne technique of the jumper in order to fix any problems they may see.
The repetition allows the jumper to continue building strong in-air technique for their long jumping.
Sitting Arm Cycle
This drill helps the jumper to work on the cycling aspect of the arms during the long jump
Setup – Your jumpers will need a sturdy box, bench, or chair that allows for the free movement of the arms.
Procedure – Arm motion cannot be forgotten with climbing through the air with the cycling. The arms work in conjunction with the legs to help propel the jumper forward.
With the jumper sitting upright on the bench, they will simulate the final steps of the takeoff and then reach up (for momentum) and then grasping the air forward in order to cycle. The arms should continue for one and a half to two turns to simulate the entire jump.
Then the landing position should follow with both arms behind the back.
The final extension helps to squeeze out a few inches at the end of the jump
Setup – You should work on this drill with a stage (as in a gymnasium) and a large pit for the jumper to land in on the floor below.
Procedure – This drill will simulate the forward extension of the legs in the final moment of the long jump. Using the stage and jumping into the pit it is going to be enjoyable for your jumpers.
With a two or three stride approach, at the edge of the stage the jumper takes off using the proper technique, however they tuck their legs up to the point where the heels nearly meet the behind. The jumper will continue through the air in this fashion until the height of the jump.
At this point, the jumper will extend the arms behind them and the legs straight out in front of them. The behind and the legs should hit the pit at the same time.
This is going to help your jumpers stretch out the final parts of the jump and gain valuable inches in competition.
Single Leg Hops
Single leg hops are a great way for long jumpers to build strength in their legs, and also work on the lift technique of the jump.
Setup – The athlete can work on this drill on their own, with an open area. Coaches can mark off 20 or 30 meters for the athletes to work in. The jumper starts off standing on the left leg with the right ankle in the hand and pulled close to the buttocks.
Procedure – Jumpers should focus on the technique of each hop, rather than just hopping to the end of the 30m as fast as they can. The jumps should not be simple hops, but rather jumps that spring forward.
The jumper should slightly drop their hips and spring upward with the leg and with the free arm. They need to spring upward and jump as far as they can in this drill. Keep jumping for 20 to 30m, then rest for 30 seconds and go on the other leg. Rest, and repeat the entire drill.
Muscle memory to execute a strong jump will be worked on extensively in this drill, along with the technique for gaining lift.
Closest to Scratch
This is a chance for the jumpers to have a little healthy competition to see who gets closest to the takeoff line.
Setup – You can gather all of the jumpers for this drill so they can compete against each other.
Procedure – Getting close to the takeoff line without crossing the line is an element of long jump that requires close attention to a consistent approach. This drill tests the approach skills of the jumpers, and their ability to get close to the scratch line, without going over.
The runners will use their standard approach and stride at full speed. This gives the jumper a feel for being in a competition, only the competition is to see who is closest to the takeoff line, rather than the length of the jump.
The approach is very important for the long jumper, and can mean the difference between winning and losing. A good, consistent approach that gets the runner as close to the takeoff line as possible will result in valuable inches gained in flight.
Triple Jump Technique
Start with the basic movements by having athletes Hop, Step and then Jump from a standing start. The take-off foot should be the athlete's strongest leg, as it will be used in the Hop and the Jump phases.
Teach the hop phase by having the athlete do a walking single leg hop, then incorporate the circling action of the hopping leg, then multiple single legs hops with a circling leg, flat landing, and upright posture. Consecutive bounds duplicate the step and jump actions and the athlete should do these with a double-arm action and land full footed.
Combine the three phases of the jump by starting with Hop and Step combinations on grass and then add the Jump phase. Emphasize carrying the momentum from one phase to the next with an even rhythm for each phase. Once the jump phases have been put together, slowly add steps to the run-up in accordance with the athlete's ability to control speed.
As in the long jump, the athlete's eyes should be focused beyond the pit for the entire jump.
The approach run for the Triple Jump is similar to that of the Long Jump and the objective is to create the greatest amount of speed that can be controlled throughout the triple jump hop, step and jump phases.
The take-off leg is fully extended and the drive leg thigh should be nearly parallel to the ground at take-off and the foot relaxed. The foot of the take-off leg is pulled to the glutes. The drive leg rotates from in front of the body to behind it as the take-off leg begins to pull forward. As the thigh of the take-off leg reaches parallel, the lower portion of the leg extends past the knee, with the foot dorsiflexed. Once the leg is extended, the athlete then forcefully drives the leg downwards, setting the athlete up for an active landing
The take-off leg is fully extended with the drive leg thigh just below parallel to the ground. The take-off leg stays extended behind the body with the heel held high. The drive leg thigh is held parallel with the ground, lower leg vertical and the toe dorsiflexed. The drive leg extends with a flexed ankle (creating a long lever) and snaps downward for a quick transition into the jump phase.
The take-off leg (the drive leg in the previous phases) is extended forcefully upon contact with the ground. The free-leg thigh driving to waist level. The arms drive forward and up - the torso should be held erect with the chin up and eyes looking beyond the pit - the legs move into a hang position with both thighs directly below the torso, legs bent at the knees - the arms are extended overhead to slow rotation with the hands reaching for the sky. The arms then drive forward - the legs swing forward - the position held until the heels hit the sand when the knees collapse, the hips rise and the athlete slides through the sand.
The use of a single or a double arm action at take-off depends on the athlete's preference - the double arm action provides more power.
Single arm action
The arm opposite the free leg drives forward and up to shoulder level. The angle at the elbow should be between 80 and 110 degrees
Double arm action
The lead arm crosses slightly in front of the body on the penultimate step of the approach phase. As the take-off step is initiated, the arm pauses next to the body rather than swinging behind as with a normal stride. As the take-off foot contacts the ground, both arms drive forward and up to shoulder height. The angle of the arms at the elbows will be greater than 90 degrees in order to create a more powerful impulse forward
In an active landing the athlete's leg is extended, the ankle flexed, and the leg pulled down forcefully striking the ground mid-foot. Upon contact, the body rolls forward over the foot onto the toes while pushing off the ground
Triple Jump Drills
An upright posture is extremely important in maintaining control when executing the triple jump.
Setup – Enough open area for the jumper to work on continuous hops.
Procedure – The jumper will execute the hop over and over again, working on maintaining the proper claw back (arms behind the back), high knee lift, and the upright posture.
Coaches should use this drill to pick out control problems in the initial jump:
leaning bodies, no knee lift, and a lack of arm movement on the hop.
An upright posture is important to maintaining good control trying to get to the next phase of the triple jump.
This is a basic drill that works on the fundamentals of the first hop in the triple jump.
One Stride Hurdle Hops
This is a good drill to help your jumpers learn the explosion required on their final jump
Setup – Borrow 6 hurdles from the hurdle team, and line them up about 4 feet apart. The hurdles should be maybe 30 inches high.
Procedure – The jumper should stand about 1 stride away to start this drill. Then, the jumper will take one stride forward, bring both feet together while beginning a crouch. The arms should be drawn back behind, and the knees should be bent at near 90 degrees.
From here, the arms are thrown forward and the jumper leaps off both feet over the hurdle. Then one stride forward and complete the same thing. Go over all 6 hurdles. The jumper should walk back, and repeat, increasing the tempo slightly. Walk back again, and then do it once more to see if they can keep a steady, fluid pace over all 6 hurdles.
This drill is going to help your jumpers learn to explode over the hurdle and then take one step to explode over the hurdle. Good for the final jump.
Approach and Thrust
This drill works specifically on the approach for the triple jump, but the jumper will not takeoff.
Setup – A clear approach area for the jumpers to work on the proper approach for their jump
Procedure – A consistent approach leads to consistent jumps –both in long jump and triple jump. Time should be spent perfecting the approach so the runner is comfortable and consistent. They will know exactly where they should begin their first step.
Coaches should work with the jumpers to come up with an ideal and comfortable approach, and then once the jumper is comfortable, they should go through the three jumps, but then at the end it is just a firm thrust upward and not a full jump.
Multiple Cone Hops
The cones hops will help coordinate the arm action and the high knee action required during the hopping phase of the jump
Setup – You will need several pylons over a course of about 20 yards.
Procedure – The cones are set up at certain distances dependent upon the speed coaches want to run the drill at. To start off, the drill should be run slower in order to work on the proper technique.
Starting a couple of strides away, the jumper will jog towards the first cone and then take off on the hop leg. The jumper will land on the hop leg and then swing the free leg around the cones and hop over the next cone.
It is important with each hop that the arms start behind the jumper and then lift forward to help with the upward momentum of the hop.
Coordination of the arms and the hop leg will be an essential element in creating a good first hop.
Rebound Head Drill
The second step of the triple jump comes off the initial hop, and the jumper must rebound quickly and get as much height and distance as possible.
Setup – A 24” box sturdy enough for a person to jump off of, and a pole vault apparatus with a ball suspended from the middle.
Procedure – The second jump is important, and being able to take off properly from the rebound of the first hop is crucial to set up the final leap. It needs to be done in the same fashion as the actual triple jump would be done.
From the box, the jumper will take off on one foot, with the other foot slightly behind them, and the arms behind the back, ready to spring forward on the next jump. Once the first jump is landed, the arms swing forward, the free leg swings forward and the body reaches upward toward the ball that is suspended from the pole vault bar.
Once the jumper easily reaches the ball, the rope can be shortened.
Cone Hop and Bound
This puts the first two phases of the triple jump together before the final phase is reached.
Setup – You will need one pylon set up right after the takeoff board and enough room on the approach to have a 5 to 10 stride approach.
Procedure – Putting the first two parts of the triple jump together is the next step in helping your jumper get the most out of their technique.
Starting several strides away, the jumper strides at half speed toward the takeoff board. The first element of this drill is the initial hop over the cone. High knees action is needed for good lift over the cone, while the arms are back preparing for the next action.
The hop lands on the right foot, one step is taken and then the right leg begins the bound into the waiting sand pit – as if the third step were happening out of the pit (which it does not).
Rebound Jump Drill
The jump drill is going to help the final step of the triple jump – simulating the final bound to the jump
Setup – A box that is 24” high, sturdy enough to handle a jumper’s leap.
Procedure – Starting at the top of the box, the jumper will have their arms back, preparing as though they were about to bound forward. The bound takes place and the jumper lands on the right foot and immediately springs up, lifting the arms for momentum.
At the apex of the jump, the jumper will reach up, swing the legs forward and then bring the arms down and behind for the landing.
This works on the transition between the second bound and the final jump. Making this a fluid motion from start to finish keeps the overall momentum going for the best possible jump.
Multiple Triple Jumps
This is a repetition drill that builds rhythm for the steps of the triple jump
Setup – An open area for the runner to work on continuous triple jumps.
Procedure – Starting with 2 to 4 strides, the jumper then goes into the repeat triple jumps. They will work on the pattern: L-L-R-L-L-R-L-L (left and right), but instead of landing on two feet for the final jump, the jumper will land on the hop leg and begin it again.
This does not need to be full out jumping power for this drill. This drill is intended to help the jumper understand the pattern. The pattern needs to be ingrained in the jumper’s mind so they do not fall out of the pattern during the actual competition jump.
Inexperienced jumpers can have some trouble remembering the triple jump step pattern. Work on this drill and the jumpers will have it implanted in their minds – and hard to forget.