J Approach: “J” doesn’t always mean jump….


The J Approach Uses A “J” Shape.

The high jump approach accumulates energy in order to move momentum upward. Additionally, the shape of the approach is important because physics says the shape contributes to lift. The shape of the approach is called the J approach because it looks like a “J”.

In fact, “J” doesn’t mean the jump, it stands for the “J” approach. Furthermore, the “J” approach is critical to the success of the jump.

Here is a high jump approach diagram showing the different parts of the “J” approach.

J Approach
J Approach Steps

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.

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The purpose of the J approach is to gather correct momentum, run the curve while leaning away from the bar, and jump while 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.

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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.

  • The more a jumper leans around the curve, the more rotation they have in the backward somersault
  • A jumpers feet will land one-in-front-of-the-other (crossover steps) when running the curve, not side-by-side
  • Approach speed starts in the straightaway and slightly increases 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 misses the curve slightly
  • The jumper feels like they are running on the edge of their feet when running the curve

Email me a video of you high jumping and I will provide the following information:

  1. High jump approach analysis
  2. Running form analysis
  3. Penultimate step analysis
  4. J Approach analysis
  5. Takeoff analysis
  6. Flight analysis
  7. Top three opportunities for improvement
  8. Top three strengths
  9. High jump drill recommendations for you to eliminate your opportunities

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