The Attack of the Flat Foot!

One of the most important parts of triple jumping is learning to jump using a flat foot.  Throughout the jump the athlete must land on a flat foot in each phase of the jump, even the takeoff on the board.  Do not land on the ball of the foot or the heel.  The foot must strike the ground with equal force on the ball and the heel forming a solid base for jumping.

Over the years I have seen young athletes using horrible foot placement and wondering why they can not jump far.  The key is to put yourself in a position to jump far.  If your foot strikes the ground using the heel or ball of the boot before the flat hits then that athlete is essentially slowing down the speed of the jump and therefore taking away the potential to jump far.  Effort should be made to practice using a “flat foot attack” method of jumping.  The object is to accellerate the “flat of the foot” toward the ground to create force that propels the athlete forward and up.  The hips must be above the support leg to absorb the impact and allow the body to push off into the next phase of the jump.

The flat foot is the most basic part of triple jumping and needs to be practiced and mastered before any other technique is contemplated.  An athlete should work on placing the foot flat on the ground, then flat on the sand.   The sand imprint can tell you if you are putting equal amount of force throughout the bottom of the foot and give an indication as to what part of the foot is slow to strike.

Single leg bounding over thirty meters is a good drill to master the flat foot.  Measure 30 meters, have the athlete hop on one leg from the start to the finish.  Watch the foot strike and correct any strike that is not completely flat.  When hopping, be sure that the legs are cycling and the hop leg is accellerating to the ground.

Any young athlete that masters the “flat foot attack” will have the basic skill to maximize their jumping ability.  After mastering this technique other techniques will come much easier.

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