Developing speed on the runway, hitting the board in stride, generating force against to board and proper technique in the air are four key areas to gaining distance in the long jump and triple jump. There is, however, another way to squeeze out a bit more distance. There are several inches to be gained by learning proper landing techniques.
In the video clip below Cliff Rovel to,the Kansas State University Director of Cross Country and Track & Field discusses what he calls Active Landing which he believes can add 6-8 inches to your jumps. In the video he explains the key components of the active landing and demonstrates a simple chair drill to help your athletes feel what what he means by active landing.
For more information about the DVD that this clip came from click on the link Mega Drills for the Horizontal Jumps
The YouTube video below has sound, so please make sure that your sound is turned on and that you have access to the site. (Some schools block access to YouTube)
The goal of a great landing is to prevent injury and gain distance with an active landing. The jumper should land with the legs extended as far from the center of mass as possible with the toes pointing upward. The upper body should be vertical and the arms along side the body. Upon on landing the jumper must drive the hips and arms forward aggressively. If this does not happen their hips will land further back than the heels and distance will be lost.
Coach Rovelto uses a chair drill to teach his jumpers to be more active in their landing. Place a chair in the sand. Have the jumper sit upright on the edge of the chair with their arms to the side. Initially have their legs bent and slightly in front of the chair and in the sand. Have the player swing their arms and stand up. Progressively move their feet forward until the legs are completely extended. Now with the toes pointing up, their body upright and their arms to the side have the jumper aggressively drive their arms and hips forward in an attempt to stand up.