There are a variety of tips and tricks to improve your long jump technique. The fact is, many people go about learning technique incorrectly, which can quickly hold one back from excelling at the sport. While poor technique can be difficult to correct, there are a variety of things that you can do in order to get yourself back on the right track. The following are just a few ways to help you improve your long jump technique, all of which can serve to improve your level of performance.
Acceleration is one of the most important factors to work on when striving to perfect one’s long jump technique; after all, poor acceleration will greatly limit how far you can travel once your feet leave the ground. Reaching maximum speed from acceleration typically occurs within four to six steps, although this can depend on a variety of factors such as your height and personal preference. Since each additional step serves the purpose of maintaining maximum speed, you must focus on the beginning of the run in order to improve acceleration. Fortunately, there are a variety of drills that you can practice in order to improve your acceleration abilities, including wall runs and “rock start” exercises. The more work you put into building acceleration, the longer your jump will be.
The “takeoff” aspect of the long jump refers to the beginning of the jump, and is just as important to work on as any other aspect of the process. Proper takeoff technique can be difficult to learn, as it isn’t always second nature for many people. That said, one of the most important things you can do is move your body past the foot you intend to takeoff from, rather than allowing it to lean behind. This will help to propel you forward rather than hold you back during your jump. Incorporating takeoff drills into your practice will greatly increase your ability to perfect this aspect of the long jump. Since takeoff drills can be difficult to perform and learn on your own, it’s wise to work with a coach or other professional who is adept at teaching such exercises.
You may think that the bulk of the long jump process occurs before your feet have left the ground. The fact is, however, working on your landing is of the utmost importance if you wish to improve your technique and get the most out of your long jump. Perhaps the most important thing you can remember while in the air is that you should control forward rotation and limit it as much as possible. Many people think that they can improve their distance with forward rotation in the air, but the majority of distance is actually determined by the approach and takeoff. Instead of rotating your body in the air, you should strive to keep your body as balanced and straight as possible, which will ensure that your landing is effective; otherwise, you’re likely to hinder your overall distance.