The triple jump can seem like a game from childhood with running, skipping, and leaping all in one event—sort of like an advanced version of hopscotch. But triple jump athletes don’t mess around. The event requires competitor’s to have complete control over the coordination, speed, and power of their bodies as they move down the runway and launch into the pit.
Triple Jump Technique
To be a good triple jumper, you must first be a good sprinter. Then at a certain point on the runway, you have to instantly switch gears and move into a hop, a skip, and, finally, the jump. The toe board is farther back for the triple jump and it is considered a foul if you cross the toe board or do not begin take off with a hop.
Despite what it looks like, the point of the run is not to sprint as fast as you can. The purpose of the run is to reach your maximum controlled speed—the key word being controlled.
Hot Tip: Be Aggressive
Being aggressive in the triple jump means to be confident and in control of your body through each phase of the jump. Concentrate on your body position and your horizontal velocity versus the distance you are covering on the runway. In the triple jump great technique mixed with strength and power will bring about the results you want.
Mark where you start on the runway after attempting a few run-throughs. Some coaches recommend marking the runway again in the middle (before the board) so you can check and make sure your foot is hitting the right spot on schedule. Beginners usually use 14 to 16 strides, while more advance triple jumpers usually take 18 to 22 strides before the board. Reach your max controlled speed after passing the middle mark, the goal is to accelerate through the board without fouling or decreasing your speed.
The key point here is to run off the board with your takeoff leg. Upon hitting the board, bring the heel of the takeoff leg under your buttocks then push it and extend it forward.
It is important to use your arms after the takeoff because it will help your momentum and keep your body in the proper position. There are a number of arm techniques you can use.
Single arm action: This is the most simple style and mimics the running motion of the arms. Many coaches recommend using this style because it is more natural.
Double arm action: There are two options with this one:
- First option: Upon takeoff, bring both arms behind the body and swing both forward simultaneously.
- Second Option: As you takeoff, stop the arm that is moving backwards around the hip area. As your opposite arm swings forward, the arm that you stopped will move forward as well.
You hit the ground with the same footthat hit the board.
After the hop, drive the leg opposite your takeoff leg forward with the foot dorsiflexed. Keep your head, shoulders and body upright. Your knee and thigh should be parallel to the ground to form a 90-degree angle. Your will use the double-arm approach for the step phase. Upon hitting the ground, pull the leg back and continue to move forward.
The jump and landing of the triple jump are similar to the long jump. For your arms, use the double-arm technique to drive your body forward and up. Bring your knees up, and your heels will follow. This will put your legs in an outward, extended position that can give you extra distance. When your feet hit the sand, the body should continue in a forward rotation. Try not to roll back or out of the landing pit.
Jump Farther, Not Higher
Some coaches recommend thinking of yourself as a skipping rock and not a bouncing ball when you start the takeoff. You want your motion to be horizontal, low and flat. However you think about it, remember that the more you're able to carry your momentum through each stage, the farther you'll end up in the end.