How Cornell T&F Athletes Maximize Their Jumps

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Just because you have a sick vert doesn't necessarily mean you'll be a ridiculous high jumper. Getting into the pit without clipping the bar has intricacies, one of which being the last few steps before you take flight for a crowd-pleasing leap.

Nathan Taylor, assistant jumps coach for women's T&F at Cornell University, says that working on certain agility drills will help you iron out those last few steps, which in turn will maximize your jump. "We work on perfecting our flat step—the second to last step before your jump—because it helps transfer all the horizontal and rotational velocity into a vertical," he says. "I think of the high jump as a chain of events. If the last two steps are incorrect, your jump will be greatly affected, no matter how high you can get up."

Try Taylor's Flat Step Progression exercise. He puts the Big Red high jumpers through it three times a week to make their footwork second nature on jump day.

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Just because you have a sick vert doesn't necessarily mean you'll be a ridiculous high jumper. Getting into the pit without clipping the bar has intricacies, one of which being the last few steps before you take flight for a crowd-pleasing leap.

Nathan Taylor, assistant jumps coach for women's T&F at Cornell University, says that working on certain agility drills will help you iron out those last few steps, which in turn will maximize your jump. "We work on perfecting our flat step—the second to last step before your jump—because it helps transfer all the horizontal and rotational velocity into a vertical," he says. "I think of the high jump as a chain of events. If the last two steps are incorrect, your jump will be greatly affected, no matter how high you can get up."

Try Taylor's Flat Step Progression exercise. He puts the Big Red high jumpers through it three times a week to make their footwork second nature on jump day.

Flat Step Progression
[For right-footed jumpers; lefties perform opposite]

Standing

• Bring left knee up
• Keeping your toes up, step straight down so left foot is flat on ground and directly underneath you
• Bring right knee up and perform same movement
• Perform 30 reps

Walking

• Bring right knee up, then step straight down, directly underneath you
• Step forward about 24 inches with left leg, placing foot flat on ground
• Cover 30 yards
• Perform 5 reps

Gallop

• Use same technique as walking, but perform in galloping motion
• When left leg hits ground, keep it straight and pull it back to propel you forward. Follow that with flat step with right foot
• Cover 30 yards
• Perform 5 reps

Jogging

• Jog out five or six steps
• Perform flat step with right leg; then pull left leg back, keeping it straight
• Repeat 3 to 4 times over 30 yards
• Perform 5 reps

Running

• Run with moderate effort for 15 yards
• Perform flat step with right leg; then pull left leg back, keeping it straight
• Repeat twice over 30 yards
• Perform 5 reps

Coaching Points

Foot: When you place your foot back down, make sure the very center of it is flat to the ground.

Technique: You want your next-to-last step before takeoff to land perfectly flat on the ground. Never land on your toes or heels, because it changes the angle of your hips from strictly horizontal to shifting upward. Your takeoff leg should be as solid and as straight as possible.

Posture: Pull your chin back a bit. If everything were lined up to your foot, your hips would be a little behind the foot, chest a little behind the hips and head a little behind the chest.


Photo Credit: Getty Images // Thinkstock