“J” doesn’t mean jump, in this case, it stands for the “J” approach and it’s critical to the success of the jump.
The approach isn’t a real “J” but rather a “J” with half of the curved part. Unfortunately, many jumpers think of the whole curved part of the “J” and end up too parallel to the bar at takeoff when takeoff should happen with the plant foot pointed at the back corner of the landing pit.Embed from Getty Images
The purpose of the “J” approach is to gather correct momentum, run the curve while leaning away from the bar, and jump while still leaning and allowing the torque of the curve to twist you in the air so you can clear the bar back-first AND allow the leaning takeoff to produce the backward somersault.Embed from Getty Images
If executed correctly, the jumper only has to think about jumping straight up and the physics of the approach will do the rest.
“J” Approach Facts
Some “J” Approach Facts:
- The more a jumper leans around the curve, the more rotation they have in the backward somersault
- A jumpers feet should land one-in-front-of-the-other (crossover steps) when running the curve, not side-by-side
- Approach speed is started in the straightaway and slightly increased in the curve
- The preliminary movements like hops, skips, and jogging happen before the straightaway is actually started
- If a jumper isn’t leaning at takeoff then the curve of the approach flattened out at some point or is too wide
- The penultimate foot plant actually misses the curve slightly
- The jumper should feel like they are running on the edge of their feet when running the curve
The High Jump approach is called the “J” approach and it’s critical to the success of the jump.