This is part 4 of a multi-part series. Part 1 was Boo’s 32 Tips for Speed and Power Development in the Jumps. Part 2 was Boo Schexnayder Interview: 5 Questions and part 3 was More Training Tips from Boo Schexnayder.
If you’ve been to enough USATF and USTFCCCA clinics, you’ll recognize the name Irving “Boo” Schexnayder. His resume includes 19 NCAA Champions and 10 Olympians.
Here are some long jump questions that can also relate to triple jump.
More Training Tips from Boo Schexnayder
Q1 – SpeedEndurance.com: What criteria do you use for determining the optimal approach distance for the long jump and/or triple jump?
Boo Schexnayder: Generally for long jump I place beginners at 14 steps, most high schoolers at 16 steps, and very high level high schoolers or collegiates at 18 steps. If your jumper has an odd number of steps you can subtract one. (I count every step, I realize some coaches count every other step). I generally subtract 1 or 2 steps to get the triple jump approach length. These guidelines are pretty well fixed and you should be more concerned with the number of steps than the distance. As they get faster normally the approach will lengthen by a few feet, but the number of steps should remain the same. To get the initial approach distance, place a tape measure on the track (away from the distraction of the board and pit) and have them run backwards beside it, counting steps and noting the location of the takeoff step as consistency is developed. This distance is then transferred to the runway. If you run back on the runway to establish an approach, then place the toe a few inches from the front of the board as a starting point. At meets, this approach distance should be measured (not run backwards), and final adjustments made during warm-ups.
Q2 – SpeedEndurance.com: For long jump, is cycling after the take off (the hitchkick) the best technique to use or does it depend on the type of athlete or their level of experience?
Boo Schexnayder: The hitchkick (cycling) technique in the long jump is very difficult to teach and actually highly overrated as a way to position the body for landing. The free (drive) leg should straighten after the jumper leaves the ground, but after that don’t spend a tremendous amount of coaching time on flight. Coaching time is much better spent on the things that happen on the ground, the approach and takeoff.
Q3 – SpeedEndurance.com: How do you teach the penultimate stride or set up for the take off for long jumpers of high school age?
Boo Schexnayder: The penultimate step is best taught as a rolling, heel to toe type of contact against the surface. Advanced athletes can then be taught lowering techniques once they become stronger, but the heel to toe rolling action is a great place to start for all. This is true for males and females.
Q4 – SpeedEndurance.com: The landing is killing my athletes. I can’t seem to get it right. Can you help me out?
Boo Schexnayder: There is a simple way to find the cause of landing problems. Have the jumper do a few standing long jump and check out the landing. If the landing in the standing long jump is better than the landing used in the meet, then you know the problem is actually forward rotation produced at takeoff that is preventing the jumper from landing correctly. The answer is to improve posture and mechanics at takeoff so that the jumper can land effectively. If the standing long jump landing is poor, stress an upright torso during flight and absorption at impact (flexing the knees and hips, and moving the butt to the heels after impact)
Q5 – SpeedEndurance.com: Is there something during the winter months which might help prevent Jumper’s Knee during the actual spring competition season.
Boo Schexnayder: Jumper’s knee is a common problem. It results because the quadriceps muscle is not properly activated prior to the jump takeoff. This absence of stiffening in the quadriceps makes it incapable of protecting the knee, so all of the forces are transmitted to the patellar tendon, producing this injury. Poor weight room technique can also be a cause. When battling this ailment it is very helpful for the jumper to switch from horizontal hops and bounds to vertical hops and bounds in the plyometric program. Outside of the actual long and triple jump practices, keeping the majority of your plyometric work vertical is also a good way to help prevent this ailment. The vertical jumps give more time for the quadriceps to activate.
For more information on Boo’s programs, see MultiEvent Training & Practice Organization and Complete Technique & Teaching for the Jumping Events and Complete Program Design for the Jumping Events.
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