High Jump Basics


  • Do modified versions of sprint workouts (short distances)
  • Use sprint drills with high jump technique
  • Increase intensity of workouts over time
  • Develop good sprint mechanics and technique

Approach (High Jump Foot Placement)

  • Blind 10 step approach (on the track)
    • Have athlete run a straight line 10 step approach with maximum controllable speed
    • Mark the 10th step and the 5th step with chalk and take average of numerous attempts
    • Mark each step with chalk or tape
    • Focus on rhythm:  1,2,3, 1,2,3, 1,2,3, jump. Or
  • Initiate the curve on 5th step
  • Have athlete run a curve that feels natural
  • Move approach to the high jump apron

Technical Points For The Approach

  • Take off point
    • Men- 1’ inside of standard approximately 3’ to 5’ away from bar
    • Women- 1’ inside of standard approximately 2’-4’ away from bar
  • Width from standard
    • Depends on speed of approach and strength of jumper
    • Men- 9’ to 12’
    • Women- 8’ to 11’
    • More narrow approaches create greater centripetal force and faster rotation about the bar
      •   Make athlete prove “how narrow they can be”
  • Examples of Approaches-
    • 7’3” male high jumper: 10’ and 70’
    • Elite male jumpers (7’6” and higher) are not wider than 14’
    • 5’9” female high jumper:  9’3” and 59’3”

The Curve (High Jump Foot Placement)

  • Initiate curve on 5thstep
    •   Left footed jumpers turn right toe slightly in on 5th step
    • 6th step should be a slight cross-over to mid line of body
  • Feel pressure and run around the curve
  • Running the curve should lower center of mass
  • Body lean is at approximately 22 degrees
  • Push through the turn
  • Positive foot strike and displacement
  • Good sprint mechanics and body position are critical

Approach Drills

  • Straight Line Rhythm approaches
    •   Run for rhythm in a straight line
    • 123…123…123 Jump
  • Approaches with bar lying on ground
  • Circle Drills- both ways focus on displacement
    • Foot strike and body lean –  feel the pressure
  • Figure 8 Drills
    •   Focus on transition into curve with cross-over step
  • “U” drills
    • Run to take off point and make a “U” to run back out other side
  • Circle Drills with take-off
    •   Focus on active, “positive” take off

Over The Bar

  • Finish drive knee all the way through take-off and leave it
  • Rotate right knee out instead of straightening leg
  • Left leg will match right leg and line up with pelvic girdle
    • Legs apart and knees bent
  • Accelerate head and shoulders to the pit as quickly as possible on the back side of the bar
  • Press the hips – “Pinch a quarter”
  • Once hips clear bring chin back to chest
    •   This will raise calves over the bar

Over The Bar Drills

  • Standing back-overs
    • From ground or box.
  • 4 or 6 step jumps from a ramp
    • Focus – rotate right knee out
    • Drive head and shoulders toward backside of  the pit

High Jump Technique

High jump foot placement – plant before take off

  • Lean in and slightly back
  • Hips and shoulders lined up
  • Good foot placement

Take off

  • Good free leg swing
  • 10% past vertical
  •   Right shoulder up

In Air

  • Right footed jumper –  left knee is up – toe up

Over The Bar

  • Knees together
  • Legs in line with pelvic girdle
  • Hips are pressed up
  • Head and shoulders move toward the pit


  • Accelerate shoulders towards pit on back side of bar

High Jump Coaching Tips

  • Rhythm….Rhythm…..Rhythm  on approach
  • Develop last 2 steps and drive
  • Drive opposite Knee through the roof
  • Stay away from bar….. Attack with the side of the body

*Practice jumping on the basketball court with good high jump fundamentals

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