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The high jump is a track and field athletics event in which competitors must jump over a horizontal bar placed at measured heights without the aid of certain devices. In its modern most practiced format, auxiliary weights and mounds have been used for assistance; rules have changed over the years.
history of high j ump
History of high jump
  • The first recorded high jump event took place in Scotland in the 19th century. Early jumpers used either an elaborate straight-on approach or a scissors technique. In the latter, the bar was approached diagonally, and the jumper threw first the inside leg and then the other over the bar in a scissoring motion.
  • Around the turn of the 20th century, techniques began to modernise, starting with the Irish-American M.F. Sweeney's Eastern cut-off. By taking off as if with the scissors, but extending his back and flattening out over the bar, Sweeney achieved a more economic clearance and raised the world record to 6 feet 5.625 inches (1.97 m) in 1895.

Another American, M.F. Horine, developed an even more efficient technique, the Western roll. In this style, the bar again is approached on a diagonal, but the inner leg is used for the take-off, while the outer leg is thrust up to lead the body sideways over the bar. Horine increased the world standard to 6 feet 7 inches (2.0 m) in 1912. His technique predominated through the Berlin Olympics of 1936, in which the event was won by Cornelius Johnson at 2.03 metres (6 ft 8 in).

rules of high jump
Rules of high jump
  • Jumpers must take off on one foot.
  • A successful jump is one in which the crossbar remains in place when the jumper has left the landing area.
  • Competitors may begin jumping at any height announced by the chief judge, or may pass, at their own discretion. Three consecutive missed jumps, at any height or combination of heights, will eliminate the jumper from competition.
  • The victory goes to the jumper who clears the greatest height during the final. If two or more jumpers tie for first place, the tie-breakers are: 1) The fewest misses at the height at which the tie occurred; and 2) The fewest misses throughout the competition.
  • If the event remains tied, the jumpers have a jump-off, beginning at the next greater height. Each jumper has one attempt. The bar is then alternately lowered and raised until only one jumper succeeds at a given height.
technique of high jump

The Approach

  • To keep the approach simple we will discuss it as having 5 steps on the straight and 5 on the curve including the penultimate and takeoff steps. Most athletes will take their first step with the same leg they takeoff with. The drive phase will be two steps. Athletes should be moving into an upright running posture by the third step. The athlete will continue to accelerate in a straight line until they reach the fifth step. Watch for deviations to the outside, which slow the athlete down. Athletes will also tend to slow down as they approach the transition to the turn. The athlete should have two measurements for their approach, one parallel to the pit (between 8'-14' depending on speed) from the inside standard and another directly back on the apron from that point.

The transition to the turn should be a blend from straight ahead running to single track running while continuing to accelerate. To run on a turn each successive step must be directly in front of the previous one. In addition, the takeoff and penultimate steps must also be on the turn. Initiation of the turn on the fifth step happens on toe off. Instead of continuing to push directly behind, the athlete will push to the outside. This action will begin turning the body towards the far standard. The next step will land on the turn directly in front of the previous step. The lean is a result of ground contact and continued acceleration. It will be a full body lean from the ankle. The inside shoulder will be lower than the outside and shoulders will align with the hips. Typical errors in this part of the approach are the "football" pattern where the athlete plants the outside foot and cuts directly at the bar in a dual track fashion. Athletes will also tend to lean towards the bar on the penultimate and takeoff steps. Below are some drills to help both pieces of the approach.


The Takeoff

  • During the takeoff, athletes will transition from a curved approach to a vertical takeoff. During the takeoff steps the athlete should maintain speed and "stay away" from the bar. The last two steps of the approach also need to be done on the turn with foot contacts directly in front of each other. Watch for the tendency of the athlete to lean into the bar upon planting the takeoff foot. If the takeoff is executed properly the athlete will feel like they are planting the foot "inside" because they are still leaning away from the bar and running on the turn

The penultimate and takeoff steps will be rocking action, full foot contacts. There should be no heel recovery on these steps, as the foot will only step over the ankle or mid calf. The plant for the takeoff will occur just inside (towards the far standard) the near standard with the toe of the takeoff foot aiming at the far standard. Arm action can either continue single arm or be double arm at takeoff. When the athlete plants the takeoff leg, it will need to be braced or ready for the jump. They will be getting great energy back from the plant, so they need to make sure to continue moving over the top of the leg. If the approach was done correctly their back should have been to the bar at the plant. The knee of the penultimate leg will be brought up because of stored energy from the previous step. Coaching of this leg action should be to get the ankle to the bar and knee away from the bar. Athletes should leave this knee up and let the takeoff leg come up to meet it.