When it comes to the long jump, the smallest fraction of an inch can be the difference between wearing a medal or taking home a fourth-place ribbon.
Getting maximum distance out of your jump is always the goal. And according to Dennis Nobles, Florida State Track & Field jumps coach, applying force at the proper time—and with proper technique—is the key to consistently maximizing each jump.
Coach Nobles, who’s produced more than 55 All-Americans during his 25 years at FSU, goes on to explain, “The technique challenge in long jumping is maximizing your takeoff angle without decreasing your takeoff velocity.”
To get every inch out of your jump, follow these expert tips from Coach Nobles:
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1. Continue accelerating with your last two steps. Avoid slowing down or over-striding into the board, as it 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 and 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 midair. 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.
For more track training advice from the Florida State Seminoles, check out our exclusive interview with head track and field coach Bob Braman.