Track and Field Jumping Progressions High Jump


High Jump Teaching Progression


The high jump approach starts with a straight-ahead run followed by running on a curve into the takeoff

The curve is the final five steps of the approach

High jumpers use checkmarks for the start and for the start of the curve

How to Triangulate The High Jump Approach

The distance from the near standard and the start of the run are triangulated

Draw a line as if the cross-bar was extended out about 15’ out
The distance from the near standard will vary with each jumper from 10′-25′ out
Extend a tape measure to the starting distance of the approach, creating a 90-degree right angle

If the triangulation of the high jump approach is too complicated for beginners, try one to two large strides away from the edge of the pit and two to four large strides forward to mark the start of the curve.

Approach Run

The steps leading to the curve should be a smooth gradual build up in speed

Start the approach with a gradual build up to about 50% speed for beginners
The eyes should be focused on the check mark into the curve

Curve Running

Apply outward pressure against the ground
The body leans inward slightly
The arm action helps balance the body
The foot plants on each step along the curve of the circle
The eyes should focus on the near standard during the start of the curve
The eyes will shift to across the bar and onto the far standard during the final steps

Curve Running Drills

  • Circle runs (20-25′ radius)
  • Figure 8 runs
  • 5 step curve run


The high jumper prepares for the takeoff by lowering the hips on the penultimate step

Most beginning high jumpers will takeoff about 5-6′  away from the bar (arm’s length)

The takeoff point is near the standard on jumping side of the pit

Advanced high jumpers takeoff further away from the pit and travel across the bar longer

The takeoff foot should be pointed at the back corner of the pit
The takeoff foot is placed in well in front of the jumper
The free leg drives up aggressively with the knee up
Both arms work together driving back and then up during the takeoff

The high jumper will lift off the ground and rotate during takeoff because of lateral momentum of the curve and forceful vertical lift during the takeoff

Running and Take Off Drills

  • Figure 8 runs with takeoff
  • 5 step curve run with takeoff
  • 5 steps straight ahead plus 5 step curve run with takeoff


The body is laid out over the bar
The hips rise up and the has a slight arch over the bar
The knees are separated and bent
The arms drop to side of the body
The head is lifted up as the feet pass over the crossbar

High Jump Drills (over bar or bungee)

  • One step
  • Three step
  • Half circle run
  • Five step
  • Five walking steps into five step
  • Five jogging steps into five step

High Jump Cues

Vertical lift during the takeoff should be directed up, not into the bar

The body moves from leaning away from the bar into a vertical position

 Other jumping progression articles