Long Jump Approach Preparation
Preparing for the approach should take place on the track and not on the runway. After the basic running technique is developed, a long jumper can learn how to move down the runway to prepare for the takeoff.
The key is a consistent acceleration pattern using good sprint technique
Long Jump Drills (30-40-meter approach acceleration pattern)
Set cones every 10 to 20 meters for acceleration checkpoints
10 meter-10 meter -10 meter drill
10 meter-10 meter – 20 meter drill
The long jump learns how to accelerate and move down the runway with visual checkpoints by 20 meters, top runway speed is achieved then maintained for the last 20 meters.
Long Jump Drills (12 step approach checkmarks)
Run down the track using good acceleration mechanics taking 12 steps
Repeat four to five times to find a consistent mark for step 8 and step 12
Then move the approach run on the long jump runway taking 12 steps
Always teach beginning jumpers a static simple start for the approach.
Long Jump Drills (Cone drill)
Cones can also be used to mark steps and acceleration patterns.
This helps set a pattern for the coach to observe the change in speed down the runway. This will help develop a consistent pattern for the approach. Jumpers need constant acceleration on the runway until top end controllable speed is established.
Coaches can determine which part of the runway is causing problems when fouls occur or the jumper is short on the board using a checkmark system at step eight and the takeoff board.
Takeoff marks can vary depending on the age of the athlete and the time of year for more advanced athletes. More advanced jumpers take 14 -20 step approaches. For most beginners, a six-step approach is enough to gain momentum and prepare for the takeoff. The approach is a build up run, when the athlete is about halfway down the runway on approaches longer than six steps, the jumper should be near their controlled top end speed. The top end controlled speed is maintained until takeoff preparation (the last two steps prior to the long jump takeoff).
Approach Length with Video
Beginning level jumpers and athletes under 14 years old
12-14 total steps
Intermediate level jumpers and athletes from 15-17 years old
14-18 total steps
Advanced level jumpers and athletes over 19 years old
20+ total steps
A general rule of thumb is matching the age of the jumper and the number of strides taken in the approach run.
Speed on the Runway
Good sprint mechanics and proper acceleration are the keys to speed on the runway.
But how fast is maximum controlled speed?
From research done by Dr. Philip Graham Smith of the University of Salford in England, he estimates that a good technical male long jumper needs a 10-meter time of one second to jump 7.30m (24’). For women with high technical skills, running 1.2 seconds in the 10 meters equals 5.49m (18’) in the long jump.
When top coaches discuss the factors in long jump distance, it is commonly thought that about 90% of the jumping distance is from the speed of the approach.
Approach Length for Training Jumps
For practice sessions, when taking actual long jumps, it is best to take short approach jumps. Generally, a 6-12 step approach with jumping is done in training, longer approaches, or full approach jumps are only done during competition.
Consider short approach jumps as long jump drills and do not be concerned about the distance, focus on the technical execution of the various phases of the long jump technique.