High jumps are strenuous. Every bend, every stretch matters. The idea behind this sport is to jump over the bar and land in the pit without knocking the bar over.
At the beginner level, it doesn’t matter whether you clear the bar by a millimetre or by a foot. At the higher level, these millimetres play such a crucial role in deciding who the winner can be.
The athlete must feel assured about his/her landing area. It shouldn’t hurt him in any way. The right warm-up is exercising the entire body. Landing on your back can be quite risky, and thus, warm-up is important for not only the right run-up and jump but also for preventing injuries while landing.
In this piece, let’s take a trip on how to make an individual comfortable with jumping over the bar with the right technique and fundamentals.
1.Practice the running technique
Practicing the run is very important. Every jumper has a different distance from start to jump, as different speeds and body shapes need different accelerations and momentum to get the right launch to jump over the bar cleanly.
Just jumping (straight up) after running can help get your body get acclimatised to a jump after a short bust.
2.Running towards the mat
No jumper stands directly in front of the mat. It is technically impossible or improbable (or very, very difficult) to run straight and jump over the bar. Thus, the athlete makes a J-shaped run, to ensure their body has the right shape and flexibility. Physics says the shape of the run contributes to the lift.
The role of the non-dominant foot is very important. The runner must start his stepping with the non-dominant foot. Run straight to gain as much momentum as possible, and while approaching the mat, turn a little to create a J-shaped curve. Begin to curve so you will eventually be parallel with the bar after about 3 strides.
After you’ve picked your best speed (the speed at which you practice regularly), do not accelerate or decelerate. You may lose momentum, which can be very critical in the amount of energy you input in the jump.
The athlete must begin to curve, so he will eventually be parallel with the bar after about 3 strides.
4.Jump towards the mat
The athlete needs to jump off into the air with his non-dominant foot. This point is called the take-off point. The non-dominant leg will automatically be extended as he jumps, and the opposite knee will be driven upwards on its own. The athlete needs to rotate his back for the Fosbury Flop and pivot his body towards the sky.
Dick Fosbury used this technique for the first time in 1968 to lift the Gold medal. Since then, it has become the most commonly used technique. It requires leaping headfirst with your back to the bar.
6.Clear the bar
As the athlete becomes airborne with hips near the bar, his head should look directly back so that his hips rise over the bar. To get the feet to clear the bar correctly, he needs to tuck his head back to his chest, finally landing on his upper back in the landing area, usually the pit.
The back needs to be arched well after the jump begins. The head must be angled back the chin and needs to remain untucked to avoid injury. The arms need to be as close to the body as possible for a better centre of gravity.
7.Land on the mat properly
The athlete must fall back on his upper back first. Preferably, the upper back and the shoulders. It helps in avoiding injuries. The rest of the body can harmlessly follow. At times, it may feel right to let the movement turn into a backward tumble. If so, allow it. Try to roll into the tumble. Just resist the reflex to curl up. Keep your body open so that you don’t smash your knees against your face.
Eventually, it’s all down to practice. Young jumpers need to learn to put the three parts of the jump together. The right starting position with the right run, the fixed take-off point for the jump, and how to clear the real, metal bar, the main challenge.
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