Long Jump Technique

The long jump can be broken down into three (or four) phases; the approach, take off, (flight) and landing. International Long Jumper and Sky TV’s Gladiator Jenny Pacey explains the Long Jump.

The Approach:

  • Good technique on the approach and takeoff can increase the length of a jump immensely.
  • A 12-19 stride approach is optimal. The longer the better for experienced and conditioned athletes.
  • Gradual acceleration with a slight lean forward is the first key aspect.
  • At this point in the long jump technique, the athlete should also be leaning forward.
  • After a few strides, the athlete should be in the full upright sprinting position.
  • It is vitally important to keep accelerating through the board, to convert your maximum controlled horizontal velocity, into vertical velocity.
  • The penultimate step differs from the rest as the athlete prepares to jump, for one it is longer. The foot is placed flat on the ground and the knee and ankle are flexed to lower the athlete’s centre of gravity.
  • The last step is short to help maintain speed. In this step, the foot should be out in front of the athlete’s body, and flat on the ground. Flexion occurs at the joints of this leg but the centre of gravity is lifted.
  • Stay relaxed and try to remember the long-short rhythm of the last 2 steps.

The Takeoff :

  • This part of the long jump technique is crucial because once the athlete is in the air the flight path has been decided.
  • Creating a vertical impulse through the athlete’s centre of gravity by loading up the takeoff leg with elastic energy is a key aspect of this part of the jump.
  • The takeoff foot should be planted flat to the ground, and the vertical impulse is used to push the athlete up and out into the air.
  • The foot must be placed in front of the body and flat to produce the greatest lift possible.
  • The rest of the body should be standing in a tall upright position, and to increase force against the ground the lead knee and opposite arm should swing upwards.
  • Keep looking ahead, not down at the board or sand.
  • Do not try to jump too high, concentrate on jumping for distance.

The Landing:

  • To get the most distance from the jump an efficient landing position needs to be found by rotating the body in the air.
  • There are 2 main techniques long jumpers use to try and increase their air time. One is called the hitch-kick, and the other is the hang.
  • The hitch-kick attempts to counteract forward rotation in the air, with a cycling action of the arms and legs.
  • The hang is just an extended body position with arms above the head and legs hanging down. This also counteracts the forward rotation.
  • If the forward rotation was not counteracted the athlete would land face down in the sand.
  • The next stage is to swing the arms down and lift the legs up, before reaching the sand.
  • The athlete should bend their knees to soften the impact, and bring their arms forward to stop them from falling backward.

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