Teaching the High Jump

High Jump Drills


By: Travis J. Geopfert, University of Arkansas

1. Build a Base

Things to do
Modified versions of sprint workouts.
Lifting- Olympic Lifts, Core Strength.
Plyometrics- Teach how to bound.
What to Watch
Mechanics. Relaxed. Knee, heel, toe up.
Correct technique! Posture.
Good posture, knee drive, good foot strike.

2. Developing an Approach

Things to do
Blind 8-10-step approach. Correct foot forward.
Gradual acceleration, Count..1,2,3,…1,2,3,…1,2,3, jump
10-step to apron. Start turn on 5th step.
Run approaches without jumping.
More approaches!
What to Watch
Use chalk-mark 5th and 10th step.
Correct running, Rhythm/tempo, displace.
Same rhythm, controlled, foot work correct.
Max controllable speed, Hips tall, Rhythm.
Make it so they don’t have to count.

3. High Jump Drills

Things to do
8-10 step straight line rhythm approaches.
Approaches with bar on ground.
“U” Drills from full approach.
Circles and Figure 8 drills
Circle Drills with Take off.
“S” Drills
Back overs from ground or box.
Sprint Mechanics
4 and 6 step jumps off of ramp.
6 step short approach jumps.
Hurdle Hops and box jumps
What to Watch
Rhythm/Tempo, posture, displacement.
Start curve correctly, foot placement.
Body lined up correctly. Right shoulder.
Body position. Bend at ankle not waist.
Positive foot strike and pop off of ground.
Cross-over transitions. Displace throughout.
Head and chest accelerating toward pit.
Knee up, Heel up, Toe up.
Finish take-off, good rotation over bar.
Pushing through turn active take-off.
Active on impact, quick off of ground.

4. Bringing it all Together

    1. Athlete must be in good physical condition. It’s important to strengthen ligaments, tendons, and muscles so the athlete can endure the whole season.
    2. Teach athlete how to run effectively. Good sprint mechanics. Be technically correct.
    3. Teach athlete how to run in a circle. Circle drills, figure 8’s, “S” drills. With good mechanics.
    4. Master the straight line rhythm approach.
    5. Develop a consistent approach with good transition into curve. Focus on posture, rhythm and tempo of approach. Maximum controllable speed.
    6. Through this whole process athlete can be working on “positive” take-off drills at the end of approach.
    7. Do back-overs over the bar from the ground or box. You can even jog into a back over off of two feet. Focus on rotation over bar. This drill with help athlete with body awareness. Accelerate head and shoulders into pit on back side of bar.
    8. Jump off of ramp coming from 4 steps. First do scissor jumps to focus on take-off. Then progress to the complete jump.
    9. Take numerous full jumps from a short 6 step approach. You can take more jumps and focus specifically on the take-off or over the bar technique.
    10. As a coach remember to put emphasis on what the athlete does correctly and progressively eliminate weaknesses. Remember a good consistent approach and active take-off will fix 90% of any problems.

When teaching the high jump, start with basic athletic skills, then develop the approach run and specific high jump drills.