A Jumper’s Approach Speed Should Have Rhythm, Increase Slightly, And Be In Perfect Control

A jumper’s approach speed should have rhythm, increase slightly, and be in perfect control.

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The jumpers rhythm should increase gradually and smoothly. Too often I see jumpers running like a gazelle correctly, down the straightaway and as he or she hits the curve the jumper knows they have to increase speed and they suddenly turn into a tornado of movement with no control. If the approach were a guitar strumming a song it would sound like a smooth, pitch-perfect tempo strum turning into a non-conforming mishmash of unharmonic sounds twisted between the popping and breaking guitar strings and into a crash. The violent sounds and crash being the jumper increasing speed and having no control over it. The uncontrolled speed will never be controlled into upward momentum. The uncontrolled movements will take energy away from the jumper. Honestly, some injuries can occur as well when the jumper tried to move momentum upward but the energy is flying around everywhere.

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Here is a video of a fast and correct approach speed. Notice how the jumper increases the speed gradually and notice how the jumper seems to be running close to full speed at takeoff and is still in perfect control.

The explanation for loss of control when a jumper speeds up can be explained by Boo Shexnader (Team USA Jumps Coach).

A person running at relatively low-speed can demonstrate greater accuracy in aligning the body into positions favorable for efficient takeoffs, because prior mechanical errors can be easily corrected. However, when dealing with the high velocities we see in competitive jumping, the correction of errors occurring during the run is limited due to time constraints. Also, at these higher velocities, reflexes play a much greater part in the pattern of movement, again minimizing the chances to correct earlier errors in body positioning (https://www.completetrackandfield.com/high-jump-approach/).

A jumper’s approach speed should have rhythm, increase slightly, and be in perfect control. Control is the hard part, especially at the end when speeds increase. It’s critical for the success of the jump that the mechanics stay in-tack and correct body positions occur at the higher velocities.


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