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One of the questions I like to ask long jumpers and triple jumpers is, “How fast is your top end speed when you hit the take off board?” Can you really hit max velocity after 17 or 19 strides? Of course, there is a trade off between max velocity and control to get the maximum height off the board.
Coaches claim you don’t reach top speed in a 40 yard dash.
As well, Usain Bolt and Tyson Gay reach their top speed well after 60 meters.
The next question is how do you measure velocity? A police radar gun? Or simply use a Freelap and measure the final 10 meter split? (The newer Freelap model can measure splits under 1.0 seconds)
Mitch Watt, Aussie Long Jumper
Enter Mitch Watt. In a recent interview with the Daily Telegraph, he is quoted to reach 10.1m/s at 10 strides. That equates to 0.99 sec/10m. While some of you might be ooing and ahhing those numbers, USA Triple Jumper Kenta Bell can reach 10.8m/s or 0.92 sec/10m for consecutive 10m segments.
In addition, Watt reaches 11.2m/s for 20 strides, which is is 0.89 sec/10m.
And finally, he has reached 11.4m/s on a sprint, which is 0.877 sec/10m.
If you want to compare these times with world class sprinters, here is a quick chart from 2008:
And for 2009 (from this article):
One thing is certain, speed is the name of the game, but long jumpers and triple jumpers are definitely a different breed of athletes than sprinters.