To be a good high jumper athletes must develop great technique. Their approach and take off are critical components of a quality jump. In addition the athlete must be able to get their bodies into the proper position while in the flight. Getting their bodies in the correct position at the peak of their jump is necessary for maximum results.
It is difficult to teach body position by explaining the technique to the athlete. The athlete needs to feel the right position. Given enough opportunities to feel what is right the athlete will be more likely to reproduce the position in competition.
In the video clip below Karen Gaita, East Stroudsburg State University Assistant Track and Field Coach, shows two simple techniques that she uses to help teach high jumpers the proper body position at the peek of their jump.
For a complete guide on teaching the high jump to high school athletes click on the link Becoming a Champion: High Jump for Girls’ Track & Field and learn more about the DVD that this clip came from.
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 school block access to YouTube)
The following is a brief summary of the two drills highlighted in the video
Have the athlete lay down flat on their back. Bring the heels near the buttocks with the knees pointing up. Have the athlete push down with their shoulders and drive their hips up. Additionally, tell the athlete to draw their knees outward as this will tilt the pelvis even higher. This is the position the athlete wants to be in at the peek of their jump. The heels and shoulders should be at the same level with the hips high.
This drill is designed to help then fall in to the right position. Have the athlete stand on the high jump pit. Tell them to draw their shoulders back. Coach likes to use the phrase “velco your shoulders to your hips”. Have the athlete fall back and land on their shoulders and land with their hips up and the knees drawn out. The goal is to have a great hip arch. Also tell the athletes to hold their hands up as if setting a volleyball.