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For a high jumper, the most fundamental skill to master is the approach. The more speed your athlete is able to maintain on the turn and the more power at takeoff, the higher the potential for your jump! Jim VanHootegem, Texas A&M jump coach, describes what he terms “our core drill”, which are circle runs, to develop this ability to generate speed and power.
Coach VanHootegem marks out a circle, in this case a 9 foo radius. The smaller your circle, the more force and control your athlete will need to develop. A larger circle would be more appropriate for earlier in the season or a less developed athlete. You will need to use your “coaching eye” to determine the proper radius of circle your athlete. The emphasis will be on remaining tall as you run, hips and shoulders should be perpendicular to the ground. The lean the athlete has should be naturally developed by the speed of the run and the radius of the turn. The athlete should feel the force of the run on the outside of the foot.
Check out this world class DVD, Texas A&M Track & Field Series – Drills and Progressions for Championship High Jump, to view another excellent instructional clip. See what other High Jump DVDs we have in our expansive Track & Field DVD collection.