Jeremy Fischer, head coach and lead instructor at the Chula Vista High Performance Training Center, runs through a few drills that will help your high jumpers improve their technique at the top of the bar. Coach Fischer’s drills will improve back arch, core strength, and being patient over the bar.
Drill Summary: There are five drills in this video.
Keys to the Drills:
1) Solid back arch.
2) Hold the arched position.
3) Core strength.
4) Land correctly.
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One of the most crucial aspects of clearing the bar on the high jump is taking off from the correct location. Gary Pepin, University of Nebraska head track coach, shows you the optimal takeoff locations for both males and females before explaining the body position and angles that lead to great jumps.
Drill Summary: The ideal takeoff position for males and females is different. For females, the distance they should typically jump from is about 18″ to 36″ away from the crossbar. For males, the distance is about 36″ to 60″. The foot plant itself should be even with the standard or up to 18″ inside it. When taking off, look to drive the plant leg flat footed into a position where the rest of the body doesn’t go back down again (the athlete should already be compressed and ready to spring up). Keep the angle of the plant leg as straight as possible and explode up and over the bar.
A fun drill for athletes to use to practice their jumping technique is the “Circle Pops Drill” from University of Arkansas assistant coach, Travis Geopfert. High jumpers will target their explosion off the surface of the ground and work on executing a quick takeoff to maximize height.
Drill Summary: Set up two hurdles about ten yards away from each other, facing the same direction (the sides of the hurdles should be in a line). One by one, athletes take turns running around in a circle and jumping over the hurdles while running in the circle. The focus of the drill is on staying in a lean before jumping and getting off the ground quickly. Go around the circle twice, then have the next athlete begin their rep.
This video came from Championship Productions’ video “Arkansas Track and Field Presents Common Errors and Corrections High Jump.” View other world class Track & Field videos!
One of the most important stages of the high jump is when the athlete takes flight. In this clip featuring Karen Gaita, assistant coach at East Stroudsburg State University, you’ll see how Coach Gaita trains high jumpers to raise their hips and lower their shoulders over the bar.
Drill Summary: For the stationary drill, athletes lay on the ground on their backs with their feet shoulder width apart and heels close to their butt. For the motion, athletes push their hips off of the ground using their shoulders and draw their knees outward, then hold that position for a few seconds. Do multiple reps.
For the dynamic drill in this clip, the athlete stands up straight, then begins to move their hips forward and draw their shoulders back. As their shoulders fall back to the ground, athletes should imagine their shoulder blades “velcro-ing” to their heels. It’s also important to remember to “look through the window” with the hands in front of the face.
Keys to the Drill:
1) Move hips forward.
2) Draw shoulders back.
3) “Velcro” shoulder blades to heels.
4) “Look through the window” with your hands.
This video came from Championship Productions’ video “Becoming a Champion: High Jump for Girls’ Track & Field.” View other world class Track & Field videos!
USA Track & Field master coach Cliff Rovelto presents three drills that train athletes to be better high jumpers. These drills will improve the penultimate step and ability of athletes to be quick off their feet.
Drill Summary: For the circle popoffs, athletes run in a circle with a diameter of about fifteen yards. On every other step, execute a popoff. After doing that for a few times, run in the circle and do a popoff on every step. Make sure to do this in both directions to work both sides of the body. For hurdle popoffs, place four hurdles on their sides, about 4-5 feet apart in a line. Athletes jump over every hurdle, working on getting flat-footed contact and being quick off their feet. Finally, for the penultimate leg strengthening drill, athletes start down in a low position in front of the pit and bar with their penultimate leg forward while holding a rod on the back of their shoulders. To execute a rep, the athlete steps through, making sure to keep their low leg parallel to the ground.
Keys to the Drill:
1) Quick on your feet.
2) Flat-footed contact.
3) Shoulders should be square.
4) Chest out.