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 The Coaches' Corner is designed to deliver you, the coaches, some expert information you can utilize as a source for education and training. We hope you will stop back often to learn more! If you have an interest in contributing to a future edition of the "Coaches' Corner" please email us, at bawbjwhiting@aol.com 

Developing The high Jumper



History---prior to the early 1960’s the landing area for hj was sand and sawdust—the style of jumping was a roll –western//eastern//-all developed from a power takeoff position and designed for the jumper to be able to land with one foot down to break his fall.chest was to the bar—body rolled around the x-bar.

The 60’s saw the development of the air filled pits and foam landing pits.with the advent of the softer landing areas came a new style of jumping –named after the olympic gold medal winner in mexico city –dick fosbury—and the new style became known as the fosbury flop{note-it could have become the brill bend as debby brill from canada was also an olympic jumper that year}.a very different style of jumping in that speed of the jumper became a much larger part of the jump and the jumper did a rotation in the air so that his back was to the bar as he crossed into the pit.fosbury did a half-moon approach—9 strides—4 as his start up and 5 strides on the curved approach to the x-bar.over the years we have found that it is much easier for the jumper to begin the approach on a straight line with the last 4 or 5 strides on the curve.

The approach---90% of the jump—bar clearance 10%    

As you work with your high jumpers please keep in mind that you need to spend 90% of your practice time in developing the approach pattern and 10% on bar clearance.you can run approach patterns everyday but should not jump everyday.


Items to work on

Keep in mind—rule #1-the faster the runner –the bigger the angle and the further out from the x-bar at take off.

1.take off point –treat the hj like the lj—the athlete should plant the foot within a 12” to 18” area just inside the standard—like the lj takeoff board

2.angle of plant foot at plant—the faster the athlete runs the curve the bigger the angle that they will need –slow runners will be in the 12 to 15 degree angle—medium speed runners will be in the 20 to 30 degree angle and the fast runners will be above 30 degrees—up to 45 degrees

3.distance out from bar—slow runners will be about 24” from the x-bar----medium fast runners will be about 24” to 30” out from the bar---fast runners will be 36”to 40+” out from the x-bar.


Examples of the above

Slow---hollis conway-plant foot angle-10 to 15degrees-20”out from x-bar—jumped 7’10”—hollis was not a fast approacher—but given the fact that he had a 40”+ verticle he was able to gain clearance with his great movement in the air.always landed in the front 1/3 of the pit.was an up and down jumper-very little pit peneteration.

Medium---96 olympic champion charles austin and world record holder sotomayor are both in this area—24 to 30 inches out from x-bar at takeoff—plant foot angle at 24 to 30 degrees—good pit penetration landing in the back 2/3 ‘s of the pit.

Fast—womens world record holder—kostadinova is the best example—6’10”—takeoff point was at least 40” from x-bar—foot angle was 35 degrees or more.we had derrick sykes from north branch at the nsc when i was there-the fastest approach pattern i have seen –angle was in the 45 degree area and was 48” out from x-bar –won state title as a junior at 6’9—was on pace to jump 7’2 or 3 until he stepped on a bb in the gym in late march—was never the same after the ankle was sprained.fast jumpers will always land in the back 1/3 of the pit.

Rule # 2.---what the athlete does on the 4 to 6 step run up is up to the athlete—key point is that it must be the same everytime and the athlete must intercept the circle at the same point each time they approach.speed and stride length must be the same on each approach—key for correct position from the last 5 strides to plant.

Web site : google-highjumpresourcecenter.com

Great site for more info—figure out inception point


Looking for common mistakes

Cause and cure

1.hitting bar on way down—athlete has slowed down prior to plant—causing the athlete to go straight up –usually caused by the curve becoming to flat –fast early and slow at the end—no pit penetration—the athlete has run to fast early and stepped past the point of intercept.created a belly on the approach

2.hitting bar on way up---check angle of plant foot –speed of the athlete –some athletes will go to attack the bar to early –reach with the inside arm –the body will follow the arm—can also mean the athlete starts the curve to early –changes the angle of the plant foot.

3.body into the bar –no matter the speed ---athlete has not continued to lean away from the bar thru the approach –has allowed the body to straighten up—as soon as plant is made the body will move toward the x-bar –athletes need to lean away at least 10 degrees thru out run up 

4.traveling—body stays above x-bar to long –hook it off with the heels or calf on way down—usually created by the angle of the plant foot –to shallow angle at plant.

 all athletes need to maintain as much hoizontal speed as possible as the key to jumping high is converting to verticle lift.



Running a circle with inside lean –for training –lay out a 25’ radius cirlce or use the 3 point line in the gym –learn to control your run with inside lean—also a great place to measure the stride length of the athlete.

 run part of circle and plant –rise up to create the feeling of the take off while running the circle –think of a reverse bb dunk –drive up and rotate the body 3 to 5 step approach –practice the knee drive –up and out –helping the body to rotate at bar—body control over bar –back to bar –rise –head back to raise hips—tuck chin to drop hips and raise heels.



By Bruce Whiting

Every athlete is born with a certain amount of speed –how this talent is developed in the young athlete determines just how fast the athlete will run.early training or lack there of can go a long way in determining their ability to make use of the inborn talent  that they all possess.in the sport of t&f all events have become dependent on some type of speed or quickness,whether a 100m sprinter,a miler or a discus thrower.speed is a part of every event.correct biomechanics will help every athlete compete better.

Training patterns

Over the years we have developed many ideas on training –each of you can find a great many books and articles that all talk about training—how to –what to do –cycles—ways to get it done .all great new ideas but the key thing for each of you is how you take these ideas and incorpate them into your program.today i will give you some old tried and true training ideas and drills that may help you.

1.teach proper running positions to all athletes as early as possible-and preach it during your workouts.as athletes tire during the workout they will revert to old habits.

2.if possible have all younger athletes {jr hi} try a different event each monday of each week.the athlete you thought might be a distance runner could turn out to be your best sprinter.make use of their skills—find their best events

3.develop core strength  -in order to keep the body in the correct positions needed for the event the core of the body has to be strong or it will break down.

4.arm action and knee lifts—teach each of them to be fast and high because as the athlete gets late in a race these will fail and get lower and lower.teach 90 degrees-arms and knees-shorten the action thru the full range of motion.

5.heels—thru drills and training –teach the athlete to work at keeping the heels off the ground.the heel is the brake that keeps you from running fast.

6.body motions –for runners the object is to get from here to there in the shortest possible time—so work and train the body to work in straight lines—not side to side.

Drills—hundreds to choose from –pick the ones that work best for your program given the time you want to spend on them.here are a few that have worked for me.

1.equal//opposite skips—knees up at 90 and arms locked in at 90—hands to the eye.

2.sitting arm action—elimate the lower body –sit upright with slight body lean—lock the elbows in at 90—see hand to the eye and down to the hip –start with a slow jog –increase to sprint speed.

3.accerlation ladders—correct body position—start with 4 or 5- 3’ steps—increase to 4 or 5 -5’ strides—increase to 4 or 5-6’ strides---repeat as needed—3 to 4 times

4.mini-hurdles—several drills using these—sets of 10 hurdles 3’ apart

A.high knee sprints—knee up –toe up-fast hands

B.double leg bounds—arm action –touch and get off the ground.

C.side saddle action-lead right//follow left—keep the arms following in the equal opposite action—this can also be carried over to using the low hurdles.

Remember that in doing these drills—in order to get the benfits from them they need to be done correctly –each is designed to help the body learn to work correctly –teaching biomechanics requires you the coach to be on top of each drill—it is a constant teaching drill.

Some thoughts on practice schedules

1.90 minutes seems to be about the correct time—other than athletes who are working on events –ie: pv—hj—lj-tj

2.breakdown of the practice:  30 minutes—warm up –hops—skips-biomechanics work, then 45 to 60 minutes –for the daily workout, finally 15 to 20 minutes for the warm down

3.everyday work on biomechanics

Remember you must train fast to run fast—in a 13 week season you must train at faster than race pace for all the athletes –ie:a girl 1600 meter runner wanting to run 5:00 min—needs to train at faster than 75 sec pace in all she does.