Teach Young Long Jumpers to Swing on a Trapeze

A Coaching Cue to Help Young Athletes Reach Their Arms Up When Long Jumping

A few years ago I was coaching a class of young athletes at a school to long jump. Searching for a way to encourage the kids to stretch their arms up above their heads, I came up with the following:

I asked the group how many of them had either been to a circus or seen one on TV. A number of hands were raised and a few nods were given. I then asked how many of them had seen the acrobats swing on the trapeze. Again a number of hands went up along with a few nods. I told the kids that the next time they jumped, I wanted them to pretend that there was a trapeze hanging above the sand pit. Their job was to run in, jump up to grab the” trapeze” and swing on it before landing in the pit.

The results were immediate. The kids began leaping higher with their arms outstretched, eyes raised and bodies upright. Not only this, but many held this position well into the flight phase as they “swung on the trapeze”.

Asking young athletes to “swing on a trapeze” as they long jump has become an ongoing and highly successful part of my long jump coaching repertoire.

An image demonstrating a long jump take-off position with arms extended above the head.

Jump to swing on a trapeze.

What long jump coaching cues have you come across?

Let me know by leaving a reply/comment or by using the below contact details.

Further reading

Long Jump: An Essential Guide for Teaching Kids

20150614_154020-1Darren Wensor is a sports development professional, coach educator, specialist coach of young athletes and founder of the blog coachingyoungathletes.com. Learn more about him here and connect with him on TwitterFacebookLinkedin or via email.

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