Getting every inch out of your long jump can be the difference between a scholly to your dream college and an invitation to walk on at your safety-net school.
According to Dennis Nobles, Florida State University’s T&F jumps coach, applying force at the proper time—and with proper technique—is critical in maximizing each jump. He says, “The technique challenge in long jumping is maximizing your takeoff angle without decreasing your takeoff velocity.” Here, Nobles lays out some expert tips on how to get everything from your jump—takeoff through landing.
1. Continue accelerating with your last two steps. Avoid slowing down or overstriding into the board; that will affect your velocity and takeoff angle.
2. Keep your shoulders, hips and ankles in a straight line. Leaning back will slow you down.
3. Maintain a 23- to 25-degree angle, from horizontal. This comes from your hips; this is the ideal trajectory to maximize your jump.
In the Air
4. Keep your feet up. Use the hitchkick technique; you’ll look like you’re running or riding a bike in mid air. Or, use the hang technique—put your hands over your head, curl your feet behind you and arch your back.
5. Get your feet as far out in front of you as possible. Avoid having your butt or hands hit the ground behind your body. Once your feet hit the ground, try to push the sand out in front of you and scoot your butt down on top of your heels.