Long jump is one of the most fascinating events in athletics and is popular with fans and athletes alike. It’s an event that requires a combination of speed, power and technique, which is why it can be challenging for beginners. Nevertheless, with a bit of practice and knowledge, anyone can improve their long jump technique and become a competent jumper.
Here are some useful tips on how to improve your long jump technique:
1. Improve Your Run-Up
The run-up is one of the most crucial aspects of the long jump technique. It’s the starting point that gives the jumper the necessary momentum for a successful jump. A good run-up technique involves accelerating gradually over a set distance and hitting your highest speed just before the takeoff point. You should warm up before starting, and then begin with a steady pace, increasing your speed gradually. Practice your run-up until it feels comfortable and natural.
2. Master Your Takeoff
The takeoff is the second most important factor after the run-up in determining how far you can jump. It is vital to get the takeoff right as it can drastically improve the distance covered. Depending on your jumping style, you should take off either from one foot or both feet. Once again, practice is vital, and you should work on your balance and speed as you take off.
3. Develop A Strong Penultimate Stride
The penultimate stride is the second-last stride before you take off. It is the stride that you can use to build speed and lay the foundation for a successful jump. It should be slightly shorter than your regular stride and should be powerful and explosive. A good penultimate stride will help you carry your momentum and speed into the actual jump.
4. Optimize Your Flight Phase
During the flight phase, your body is in the air, and you need to make it as aerodynamic as possible. You should aim to create maximum lift and reduce drag, which will enable you to stay in the air longer and cover more distance. One way to achieve this is to keep your head up and your arms raised, which helps create lift. Also, try to ensure your body is straight, and your legs are apart to reduce drag.
5. Land Properly
The landing phase is the final stage of the long jump technique, and as such, it must be perfect. If you don’t stick the landing, you risk losing points or worse – injuring yourself. Make sure that your feet land safely and squarely, with your heels down first, followed by your toes. Keep your knees slightly bent and absorb the shock of the landing with your legs.
Improving your long jump technique requires dedication and persistence. Remember to work on each aspect of the technique separately before putting them all together. As with any athletic event, it’s also essential to maintain a healthy diet and a regular exercise routine. With time and practice, you’ll be able to jump further and higher, and who knows, maybe even break a record!