About the Jumper

williestepWillie Banks is a former world recordholder in the triple jump.  He set the world record in Indianapolis, Indiana, USA on June 16, 1985.  His record stood for 10 years until it was finally broken by Jonathan Edwards of Great Britain.  Willie Banks is best known for introducing the rythmic clapping of the audience to the track and field.  It is a legacy that has continued on since June of 1981.


37 Responses to “About the Jumper”

  1. Coach Medina Says:

    Hey Mr. Banks,

    I just stumbled on this site today because I was getting more information on foot placement. My jumper, Josh Butler, just jumped 49-10 as a high school senior a couple of weeks ago. Now that the state meet is over and I have one-on-one time with him, I noticed a very strange thing. His foot placment is terrible! I was having him do the exact drills your article was talking about and could not believe he plants on the ball of his foot! I never noticed this before. I knew his pawing action was not very good but never until now noticed he has been planting on the ball of his foot and still jumps as afar as he does.

    We have Junior Nationals coming up soon. Can you give me some tips on how to break him of this habit? He says he cant physically do it. Honestly, I cant figure out how he can jump without hitting the center of his foot..?? Hope you can help us. He has always reminded me of you. He is a bouncer. He cant even break 12 secs in the 100m.

    Coach Medina
    Reno, Nevada

  2. chris Says:

    im chris
    i got 14.17m for the under 15 triple jump 1week ago at national and i got gold so yer very happy
    i training like 1 or 2times a week can u give some training tips and compitition tips and why did jonathan edwards jump so far
    thanks heaps

  3. Josette Ingwerson Says:

    I don’t agree with everything in this piece, but you do make some very good points. I’m very interested in this subject and I myself do alot of research as well. Either way it was a well thoughtout and nice read so I figured I would leave you a comment. Feel free to check out my website sometime and let me know what you think.

    • mrtriplejump Says:

      Thank you for your comment. I am happy to hear there are some other opinions besides my own on the triple jump. I hope that you will continue to research the event and bring forth the real solutions that will help all of us get better. Triple jump training is not a “one style fits all” proposition. There needs to be a flexibility in thought. Of course there are basic skill sets that need to be taught, but once an athlete understands those basics it is up to the coach and the athlete to create a jumping style and training regimen that fits the athlete best. Good luck and thanks again!

  4. John Mackenzie Says:

    Hi Willie

    I’m 44 and contemplating competing in masters after finishing when I was 30 with a pb of 16.18m. Did you find it frustrating when you started to do masters that you couldn’t jump as far as you thought you might. I’m hoping to jump low 14m. I’m worried about what sort of training to do as obviously I wont be able to do the load I used to. I’m not planning on doing any weights. What training would you suggest to get the most improvement with a light workload? I haven’t done any tests yet but suspect they will be pretty awful.

    • Willie Says:

      Hi John,
      Thanks for your comments. Yes, I thought I was going to die the first time I got back into triple jumping. The best way to improve is to go to the local high school and work with them for a while. Show them the techniques of jumping and run with them a little. After a while you will be in good enough shape to jump. Bounding has always been the staple for jumpers (and Eastern European runners) for a long time. It is a natural way to build strength and capture your old form in the triple. If you have jumped over 16m you have a good sense of how to jump. It is only the fitness that you lack. The fitness will come back if you give yourself enough time. It took me about 3 months to get fit enough to bound. Running long sprints and exercising in a shallow pool really helped my joints get strong enough to hold my weight. Weight is the enemy for older people. Well, good luck, I hope to see you at Masters! Willie

  5. Ashley Mort Says:

    Hey Willie, do you recommend heel cups for TJ (even if you have TJ spikes)? If so, do you recommend the rubber, gel, or hard plastic ones? Thanks.

    • Willie Banks Says:

      I used to use the plastic heel cup. It worked great for me. However, I am not a doctor so I really can’t recommend any particular cup. Good luck!

  6. Ebiye Says:

    Hey Willie I was wondering about your (bouncer, speedster, or strongman) analysis. A speedster sounds pretty straight foward, but what is the difference between a bouncer and a strongman?

    • Willie Banks Says:

      Thanks for asking. The bouncer will use quicker more active foot action on the ground. In essence, bounce off the ground. The strong jumper will spend more time on their foot and use more force for jumping. The strength jumper will spend more time in the weight room to develop static strength, the bouncer will spend more time bounding and doing quick lifts with weights. I hope that helps. Some examples of bouncers are Kenny Harrison and me. Examples of strength jumpers would be James Butts, Kristo Markov and Philips Idowu.

      • Ebiye Says:

        I appreciate your response Mr. Triple Jump. I also wanted to ask you about your thoughts of triple jumping in relationship to high jumping. I know you are compete in the 50+ high jump. In my opinion speedsters would best translate to the Fosbury Flop Style, strength jumpers to the straddle style, and bouncers would be a balanced medium. I only ask because I personally am somewhere inbetween a bouncer and a strength jumper and I use a straddle style high jump.

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  8. Richard Ford Says:

    Hey Mr. Banks,

    Could get your information to purchase the dvds?

    Coach Ford

    • Willie Banks Says:

      Coach, I might have given you the wrong address for the check. The correct address is:

      Willie Banks
      HSJ, Inc.
      PO Box 230551
      Encinitas, CA 92023

      Sorry for the mistake.

  9. Projector Lamp Says:

    ‘.~ I am very thankful to this topic because it really gives up to date information “;

  10. Jack Says:

    Hello Willie,
    I am a 72 year old and want to compete in the World Master TF Championships in Sacramento in July 2011 in the LJ and TJ. I have started some training and have jogged and hiked since 91974. I am working to get into sprint shape, drop weight to 170 lbs and I did bounding drills on Waikiki in the surf this month for ten days plus core work in the weight room.
    I read your answer above about the importance of bounding.
    I am very concerned about not getting injured but being ready to compete in July. I have not jumped since the 70’s and have no idea what my capabilities are now.
    Can you make some general suggestions for a training regimen for the triple and long jump for me as a 72 year old?
    Feel free to send comments to my email address.


    • Willie Banks Says:

      Hi Jack,
      Thank you for continuing to practice the triple jump. I think it will serve you well. I’m concern that you haven’t jump for such a long time but I don’t think it will be much of a problem if you are bounding properly (flat foot and attacking the ground, not waiting for the ground to attack you). At 72 I don’t expect you to bound long distances. The best bounding should be on the grass for a time. Once you have mastered the technique you can move to the runway. Not knowing much about your condition, I suggest that you start in a pool at chest level water. then move to water that is about waste high. After you got used to that, start short bounds that are about 4 to 5 feet for 20 meters. Build from there. Slow steady progression is the best method. I hope this gives you a general concept for your training.

    • Willie Banks Says:

      Hi Jack,
      I apologize for the tardy response. For some reason, I am not very good at finding the comments as they come in. Anyway, how did you do in Sacramento? I pulled a hamstring but managed to take the silver. Take care and keep jumping, you are my hero! Mr. Triple Jump.

      • Jack Says:

        Thanks for you tips. I want not in good enough shape to TJ without injury; my goal in the LJ was to take one jump and not pull a hamstring. I had a deep massage on Wednesday before the Saturday, July 9 competion. I exceeded my goal by taking three easy jumps and my distance was 2.87 meters, not good, but I was satisfied because it was my first measured jump in 40 years … it is a start. I plan to compete in Porto, Brazil, at Worlds in 2013.
        Thanks, again, Willie.
        Are you still jumping?

  11. Bonnie Sanders Says:

    When I view your RSS feed it just gives me a webpage of weird text, may be the problem on my reader?

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    I am not very good with English but I line up this real easy to translate.

  13. Loch Lomond Log Cabins Says:

    Made me want to read more…

    I guess others will know they need to think more on this….

  14. Nick Says:

    Hey Mr.Willie
    I got to LCC and my dad was talking to someone that lives near you and he said you tried to be coach for our team I was wondering if you can coach me if you live near I do long jump and I’m a freshman my furthest jump so far was 17’5″ wondering if you have any pointers for me

  15. This Day in Sports History — June 16 Says:

    […] 1985 — American Willie Banks set the triple jump record (58 feet 11 inches) in Indianapolis. (More info.) […]

  16. Juan Ugarte Says:

    I attended O’side high about when you did. Great to see you still involved. I was just bragging about you to some friends in the UK at the Olympics and found my way here through Google. My name is Juan, you might have met my sister Trini or my older Brother Pat who was and is a big fan.

  17. Elijah Says:

    Hello Mr. Banks,

    I just began to do the triple jump and have a PB of 13.23m. I would like to incresae my PB to 14m and would like to know how long my hop, step jump would have to be for me to do so.



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  20. Tulio Fiuza Says:

    Hi Mr. Banks.
    It’s amazing to find your page site and write something to you.
    I’m Brazilian and was a jumper, non expresive, but you ws my exemple to do. Every time that I had I watched your videos and try to do the same.
    Now, I only to watch the world and olimpic games.
    Was very goog you like a athlete for us.

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  25. Phil Gause Says:

    Great reading and thanks for sharing. I I I have a teenage daughter who is interested in pursuing the triple jump. Are you available for 1 on 1 coaching or can you recommend someone in SoCal who works with kids?

  26. Gary Wilson Says:

    Hi Mr. Banks. I am 59 years old. I was a triple jumper in high school. The last time I jumped was in 1975 when I was 18. I remember really enjoying it. Now my 3 teenagers are all competing in HS track and all the great memories of the friendships and competition are flooding back. My question is – can a reasonably fit 59 year old still triple jump with careful training? I know from your experience that the answer must be YES. But then again, you are a former world record holder…

    Anyway, I think it would be fun to train over the next year and compete in a local masters meet when I turn 60.

    Whaddayathink? Just needs some advice and a training program. 🙂


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  28. Patterson Johnson Says:

    Hi willie,
    Beat you in 1988 just prior to the Olympics in San Diago, was the greatest day in my life. I would admit, I was lucky, very lucky, Kenny H won the competition. However, you are the greatest, the greatest triple jumper ever. Your technique, running of the board, wow, for real. Your technique is a gift, it is phenomenal, I am trying to teach my kids how to replicate your technique. Would love to meet you, have you visit my kids in Anchorage Alaska in the very near future. Thank you,


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