Use This Formula When Coaching Young Athletes in the Triple Jump
In the triple jump, the hop, step and jump phases should all be relatively even in length and rhythm.
As a specific guide, some coaches advocate that the total distance of an “ideal” triple jump is made up of:
35% hop / 30% step / 35% jump
Using the above percentages (and a calculator if needed!) a coach can work out the “ideal” length of each phase for any particular performance. The coach can then place markers next to the runway and the landing pit at these distances as targets. Theoretically, if the athlete reaches each of the markers, they will jump the total distance.
For example, the “ideal” 10.00 metre triple jump will have a hop of 3.50m (35%), a step of 3.00m (30%) and a jump of 3.50m (35%).
This would mean that from the take-off board the hop would land on the runway at 3.50m, the step at 6.50m and the jump in the landing pit at 10.00m.
It is, however, common for young athletes to perform phases that are uneven in distance and rhythm. Many begin with a big hop which is longer than the ideal. A heavy landing from a big hop leads to a dismally short step and then the need to recover with a huge jump. Even if an athlete is covering a good distance with this method, for the athlete’s ongoing development, it is important for the coach to encourage them to become familiar with the “feel” of a good triple jump rhythm. This may mean controlling and pulling back the length of their hop so that they are in a better position to perform a more effective and longer, stronger step. Markers next to the runway can be the visual cue to help to achieve this.
I advise that coaches keep a handy reference sheet with them of target distances and target landing points for each phase. I have provided some examples below:
Triple Jump Distances & Landing Points
7.00m TJ = Hop to 2.45m; Step to 4.55m; Jump to 7.00m
8.00m TJ = Hop to 2.80m; Step to 5.20m; Jump to 8.00m
8.50m TJ = Hop to 2.98m; Step to 5.53m; Jump to 8.50m
9.00m TJ = Hop to 3.15m; Step to 5.85m; Jump to 9.00m
9.50m TJ = Hop to 3.32m; Step to 6.17m; Jump to 9.50m
A really great way to provide feedback to an athlete is to have them perform a triple jump while you and two assistants mark where their hop, step and jump phases land. After the athlete has completed the performance, show them the results of their effort, compared to the “ideal” model. As outlined above, don’t be surprised if the hop and jump phases are way bigger than the step.
If an athlete is really struggling to achieve the ideal length of phases for a particular distance, shorten the length of the overall effort and therefore the length of each phase. Once even phases and a good rhythm are achieved the athlete can attempt bigger distances.
When teaching beginners (or remedially teaching more experienced athletes!) my aim is for them to first achieve a 6 metre triple jump from a short (or 1-stride) approach. I place markers next to the runway and landing pit for a 2 metre hop, a 2 metre step and a 2 metre jump (i.e. at 2m, 4m and 6m). They must stick strictly to these ratios and use an even rhythm. Even if athletes can easily hop further than the first marker, or finish well beyond the final marker, I insist that they don’t. Only when the 6 metre triple jump is achieved to my approval – with even phases and an even rhythm – do I allow them to move on to the 7 metre effort and beyond as outlined above.
As an athlete improves, even quite advanced jumpers can benefit from the use of markers next to the runway to provide performance indicators and feedback.
Good triple jumping requires the athlete to develop a feeling for rhythm and even phases, which should be taught right from the start. The use of markers next to the runway to indicate phase landing points can provide invaluable guidance and feedback for the athlete and the coach.
Let me know if this activity works for you
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Darren 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 Twitter, Facebook, Linkedin, Instagram, Anchor or via email.