What To Say When Teaching A Two-Foot Long Jump Landing
The ability to take off from one foot and land on both feet in the sand is fundamental to long jumping. Young children, however, can struggle with this. Some will run into the sand without any form of take-off. Others may leap from one foot and land on the other foot. Even those that try to jump often bring one foot down slightly in front of the other in a quick “one-two” movement.
Ideally, the feet should land simultaneously, parallel, and not too far apart.
So how do we close the gap between what they are doing and what they ideally should be doing?
One quick fix may be the language that you use. Try these two coaching cues:
1. “Make One Noise”
Teach kids that their landing in the sand should make one noise – not two.
“Try to make just one noise with your feet when you land”.
One noise indicates that the feet have touched down simultaneously.
2. “Footprints Close Together”
Tell kids that the footprints they make in the sand when landing should be next to – and close to – each other.
“See if you can make your footprints close together in the sand.”
Encourage them to look at their footprints after leaving the pit. It will help them judge how they have performed the skill.
Why Are These Cues So Effective?
I suspect that the strengths of these cues are that:
- They are simple and understandable. The kids can relate to them.
- They are external cues. They direct the child’s focus towards something external to the body (i.e. the sand). External cues seem to be easier to process and perform. Using internal cues – where the focus is on how the child is moving – can interrupt the natural flow of a movement.
- The child can immediately assess the outcome with minimal reliance on others. i.e. “Did your feet make one noise?” “Are your footprints close together?”
- The outcomes are clear and measurable. (i.e. One noise on landing & close-together footprints).
Two coaching cues that may help a child learn to better land in the long jump are:
- “Make one noise when you land.”
- “Make your footprints in the sand close together.”
How To Teach Young Athletes To Long Jump (plus bonus cheat sheet) by Coaching Young Athletes
If this post helped you please take a moment to help others by sharing it on social media. If you want to learn more I encourage you to leave questions and comments or contact me directly.
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, or via email. Check out Coaching Young Athletes on YouTube, the Coaching Young Athletes podcast, and the Coaching Young Athletes E-Book Series.