Triple Jump Training
You can go a long way in the triple jump, the world record is over 18 metres.
You can go a long way in the triple jump, the world record is over 18 metres. That’s 6 metres more or less for each hop, step & jump… 6 metres is a good long jump for some! So how do you start accumulating those precious metres and centimetres?
Take a look at the long jump 101 article on this site, almost everything applies to the triple jump run-up as it does the long jump one – the triple A’s; acceleration, alignment and attack. Usually the triple jumper approaches the board slightly slower than the long jumper, perhaps at 90% of their capacity – although there are of course those who go 100% - but whatever the speed it has to be controlled.
Aged 10-18? Select a run-up length, give or take a stride for every year of your life, and practise, practise, practise. You need to have a run-up where you can virtually guarantee that you will always hit the board in a good position – there’s so much else to think about…
You must aim to run through the board with hardly any adjustment. There’s virtually no hip lowering – as there is with the long jump, albeit minimally - as it’s crucial to maximise speed through the take-off and into the two further phases
Before we consider the hop, step and jump individually, let’s consider the spread of effort between the phases. Most novice triple jumpers will take a big hop, “walk” the step and finish with a relatively long jump. They’re almost hopping and then doing a 1-stride long jump. However, watch the top guys on TV and you’ll see three large phases. For men these are usually pretty even with them all being in the 30-35% region for distance, with the hop and the jump having the higher 30 plus percentages. Women may have less step length but it’s still a very noticeable and held phase.
Try to go for pretty even, balanced phases when learning the event. Pick up that distance ratio early and it will pay dividends.
Run off the take-off with the non take-off leg coming to a position parallel to the track (rather like the long jump). Take the heel of the take-off leg in a big arc, pulling up, high and through below your body and let the foot extend very much in front of the hips. Resist temptation to snatch at the ground, let it come to you and then at the last moment, work the foot back against the track surface to keep your momentum high.
Wait for the ground to come to you and literally think big as you hop.
This is, as mentioned, often the weak phase for those starting the triple. On landing from the hop the non hopping leg needs to be driven forcibly away from the body to produce an active take-off. The hips goes forwards and not up, otherwise there will be a tendency to stall and vital speed will be lost. Keep the trunk upright and gaze straight ahead.
Practise multiple steps (bounds) in training transitioning from one leg to the next whilst trying to optimise distance between each ground contact. Think “swinging the hip of the take-off leg away on each take-off and then holding its thigh parallel to the ground for as long as possible.
As with the step, on landing from this phase, drive the free leg away and up (this time) as vigorously as possible. “Follow your knee” into the pit before extending both legs into a landing.
Most triple jumpers will perform the jump phase off of their weaker leg, so practise long jumping off this leg in training.
On Strictly they talk about the dancer’s arms (if you watch this you’ll know what we are talking about). I’ve not made any comment above as in the triple jump the arm action can be very varied. Initially encourage the jumper to balance their flight with their arms, the chances are they will move naturally in a way that will achieve this. When they master the run-up, and the correct phase distribution, then more can be said on specific arm actions (look out for a further article on this subject).