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Long Jump

Technique, Approach, Takeoff

Warm-Up Light jog, agility ladder, building core and leg strength, dynamic stretching
Skill Development Long jump guidelines, long jump techniques (standing long jump, three-step long jump), approach, takeoff
Wrap-Up Game Obstacle course
Cool Down Light jog, static stretching
Printable PDF of this session

Safety Considerations

Please note that all long jump sessions have been designed for use with or without a sand pit. We recommend coaches use cones and landing mats while training for the event. If you do not have a pit, please take note of the modifications.

  • Sand pits should be kept free of debris, regularly spaded so that the sand is loose, and watered to keep the pit moist.
  • The boards surrounding the pit should be level with the runway. The sand should be kept level with the boards and runway.
  • The area around the pit, including behind it, should be free of all obstructions.
  • The take-off board should be visible, stable, and located at a reasonable distance from the sand pit.
  • Athletes should be properly instructed and supervised at all times.
  • Athletes should wear proper footwear.

Warm-up

Light Jog (2-5 minutes)

Lead the group on a light jog.

Agility Ladder (5-10 minutes)

Using an agility ladder, students complete speed drills, high knees, and butt kicks with one foot in between each rung, followed by jumps with two feet in between each rung. Complete each drill three or four times with 30 seconds rest in between.

Building Core and Leg Strength (5-10 minutes)

Have students form a circle around you, and lead them in leg strength exercises.

Refer to the Supplementary Topic on Muscular Strength and Endurance for appropriate exercises and activities.

Dynamic Stretching (5-10 minutes)

Have the students form a circle around you, and lead them in leg strength exercises. See the Supplementary Session on Stretching for additional dynamic stretches drills

Long Jump Guidelines

Long jump competitors use a runway, a takeoff board, and a sand pit. The objective is for an athlete to jump as far forward as possible. Athletes cannot plant their feet past a white take-off board before the sandpit. This is considered a foul and the jump does not count.

Explain to students that the longer they stay in the air, the further they will go. They need speed and height to go further. Athletes should land steady and with their feet as close together as possible. Their jump will be measured from the foul line to the closest point they touched. Therefore, it is important to tell athletes not to land with their hands behind them.

Long Jump Techniques

As a precursor to the running long jump, use the standing long jump and then the three-step long jump to solidify proper technique.

Standing Long Jump

You will need cones and a measuring tape for this activity. Athletes stand at the take-off board (or a marked-out line) with feet shoulder-width apart and knees bent. Swing both arms backward and then thrust them forward and upward while jumping explosively off the balls of both feet. Jumpers should land on both feet, thrusting the body forward at landing. Repeat this drill 20 to 30 times. Have athletes focus on jumping high and landing with control.

Three-Step Long Jump

Once athletes have mastered the standing long jump, begin teaching the three-step technique. You will need cones, measuring tape, and a long jump mat. As a general rule, righties takeoff on the left foot and lefties on the right foot, but there are exceptions. Take three brisk running strides before jumping. The right-handed jumper, for example, takes one brisk step with the left foot, one with the right, and then one more with the left. On the third step, the takeoff foot should be on the board, with the knee bent. Both arms should be thrust upward while jumping explosively off the ball of the foot. Emphasize landing on both feet with a forward thrust so that the jumper falls or hops forward. Use this method for a while before moving to the full running long jump.

Approach

You will need cones, measuring tape, and a long jump mat. Mark the recommended starting point with a cone, adjusting as needed for age and skill. A good starting point is eight strides away from the take-off board, but you can allow kids to start a few strides before or after the marker if they want. For the novice jumper, do not be concerned with the exact number of strides taken to the takeoff board. For most kids between 8 and 15 years of age, a run-up of eight to 10 strides, perhaps increasing to 12 or 16, is ideal.

Tell students to gradually build speed during the run-up so that they are near full speed a few strides before take-off. They should aim for fast, relaxed pace without over striding or slowing down in the last few steps. Give each athlete two to four jumps.

Takeoff

Adjust the distance from the takeoff board to the pit/mat depending on the age and skill of the jumper, leaving plenty of room for landing on the mat and falling forward after landing.

When the foot strikes the takeoff board, it should be in a “flat foot” position. Body weight should be directly over the board. A powerful extension of the opposite leg (from the toes to the hips) will provide a strong lift forward and upward; the knee should be thrust forward and high into a flexed position. At the same time, thrust both arms upward, with the chest, hips, chins, and eyes lifted to help achieve height. Give each athlete two to four jumps.

Wrap-up Game

Obstacle Course

Set up five to 10 different stations. Depending on the course, you will need cones and/or boundary markers, a stopwatch, a measuring wheel, a whistle, a long jump mat, hoops, and a jumping box. In groups of up to 4, athletes spend 30 seconds to one minute at each station, moving to the next one on your signal.

Stations can include a crab crawl or bunny hops between cones; exercises like squats, lunges, jumping jacks, hopping or balancing on one leg; box jumps or jumping in between hoops arranged on the course; sitting down and standing up with or without using hands; sprinting for 10-50 meters; or a speed drill using the agility ladder.

Cool Down

Light Jog (2-5 minutes)

Lead the group on a light jog.

Static Stretching (3-5 minutes)

Have students form a circle around you and lead them in static stretches.

Please see the Supplementary Session on Stretching for additional stretches.

Youth and Schools