The long jump is an event that many great athletes have experienced through over the years. It is often taught in school, as part of an overall set of track and field events. It is different from the high jump in that the athlete is attempting obtain optimal projectile motion from their take-off whereas the high jump athlete is simply looking for height. The long jump is more of a two dimensional sport whereas the high jump really just relies on one dimension for the large part.
Athletes that perform well at the high jump are extremely strong in their lower bodies and also have some arm strength to go along with their lower body strength. The importance of arm strength will be illustrated later on, but it is definitely a prerequisite towards having a good career in the long jump. In addition these athletes will need to also have good speed for their runs up to the line where they push off from. Finally, a successful long jump athlete will also be quite excellent at maintaining shapely and toned muscles in order to be as aerodynamic as possible and in addition to that will also possess excellent long jumping form.
While the long jump and the high jump are two completely different events that different athletes participate in there are still similarities between the two and these similarities become readily apparent when an athlete is in training. As far as the skill training goes the two events are completely different. The training involved with the long jump as mentioned above is different from that involved with the high jump. There are very few similarities in the two skill sets and aside from perhaps the push-off into the jump there is no way for an athlete to simultaneously train skill sets for both events.
However, the physical aspects of both events are remarkably similar. Consider that the high jump starts with a short run up to the take off point and then a launched jump over a bar. The long jump begins with a straight run up to a take off point and then a launched jump over as far a distance as possible. If we remove the technique involved then it becomes easy to see that both motions are remarkably similar in the muscles that they use. We can even add events like hurdling and the triple jump into this as well simply because they too have similar movements in them. As one regards the range of events available to a track and field athlete it immediately becomes apparent that the physical conditioning of a long jumper can very quickly be interchanged with the physical conditioning of other events.
For an athlete wishing to master the long jump technique there are four parts to it that they must keep in mind: the approach, the take off, the flight through the air and the landing. The approach is simply the athlete building acceleration to the point of take-off. They need to be able to accelerate quickly in order to reach their ideal speed by the time they get to the jump point and depending on the age of the athlete the stride number and length will be different. By the time an athlete gets to a high level of proficiency they are usually at least in their late teens and will be taking at least twenty strides during their approach run.
Once the athlete reaches the take-off point they will want to be able to carry momentum forward from the actual approach itself; otherwise there would be no point going through the approach! To accomplish this goal the athlete will lower their hips in the second to last stride before the take-off and then quickly raise them in taking that last stride. This will accomplish the goal of carrying some of their momentum in a forward and upward manner and therefore allowing them to carry momentum from the approach into the take-off.
Once the athlete has taken off then the majority of the technique work has been done. During their time in the air however an athlete must act to prevent torque from acting upon them, because of their upward and forward momentum the physics of the jump will create some rotational movement within them. This movement can result in their legs hitting the ground earlier which can cost them precious amounts of distance. A hitch-kick or alternatively torque compensation through the movement of the arms and legs is the most common way for the athlete to compensate for this. The distance is measured from the take-off board to the heel of the athlete that landed closest to it. Therefore during the landing the athlete should attempt to get their heel as far away as possible by jutting them out upon imminent contact with the ground.