Posted in High Jump, Instruction, Technique

Proper High Jump Running Form.

Keep The Approach Smooth And Consistent.

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Proper high jump running form has rhythm, increases slightly, and is in perfect control. When high jumpers achieve this, happiness follows.

Proper High Jump Running Form = Happiness
Proper High Jump Running Form = Happiness

Proper High Jump Running Form Is Smooth.

The jumpers rhythm increases gradually and smoothly.  Often, I see jumpers running like a gazelle correctly and down the straightaway. Then, when he or she hits the curve, they turn into a tornado with no control.

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If the approach were a guitar strumming a song it would sound like a smooth, pitch-perfect tempo strum. Then, the strum turns into a non-conforming mishmash of broken strings and a crash.

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Extra Movement Is Bad.

The violent sounds and crash come from the jumper. The jumper is increasing speed without control. The uncontrolled speed exists unharnessed.

The uncontrolled movements take energy away from the jumper. Injuries can also occur. 

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Example Video.

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

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

A person running at low-speed can show greater accuracy in aligning the body.  The alignments are good for efficient takeoffs because prior mechanical errors are easily corrected. However, when dealing with the high speeds we see in competitive jumping, the correction of errors shortens due to less time. Also, at these speeds, reflexes play a greater part in the pattern of movement, again minimizing the chances to correct earlier errors in body positioning.

A jumper’s approach speed has rhythm, increases slightly, and is 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.



Former collegiate high jumper and current high jump coach. I love teaching and sharing useful information. I love the sport of high jump and track & field events in general. Looking to help as many high jump enthusiasts as possible!

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