How To Triple Jump
The triple jump is traditionally one of the most feared and unknown events. Due to it's technical nature the jump is many times overlooked. I have come to love this event though and will pass along all I've learned about the three phases in this section.
Before I Begin...
I'd like to take a moment to advocate for the triple jump and explain the processes that I went through to get where I am as a triple jump coach. First off, let me start by saying there was a point in time where I was extremely "scared" to teach/coach this event. I knew nothing about it, and thus didn't allow myself to get fully invested in it. If this is you (coach or athlete) please get to know this jump!!
After many years, I can now say that this is by far my favorite of the two jumps, and a jump I truly feel as though I am extremely good at coaching. The drills I've chosen are easy and make sense with teaching the various phases, and athletes pick on them rather quickly. These drills have been coached to elementary-aged children and were understood within a mere 20-30 minutes.
Getting to where I am now started with picking specific drills that really "spoke" to me and doing a great deal of research. Whether you are a coach or athlete I strongly implore you to take a look at my drills (you'll find links below) and to give this jump a chance!
The Hop Phase
This is the first phase in the triple jump; and by many technical aspects the most important. The phases that follow the hop (the step and jump) are important in their own right, but if an athlete cannot perform the hop phase correctly the rest of the triple jump is most likely going to fail to live up to potential.
To begin, I cannot emphasize enough how different this takeoff phase is when compared to the long jump takeoff. In the long jump you are supposed to drive your knee to ninety degrees due to it's added assistance with your objective to get vertical.
When you takeoff in this phase your focuses should be to get OUT in your jump and to keep the speed you built up during the approach. The athlete needs to continue the same knee and arm motions used while running towards the boards and work hard to not drive their knee upon takeoff.
Once at the board athletes take off on their chosen takeoff foot and rotate that foot to also land on it. The mechanics are somewhat difficult to explain, but can be seen by clicking here.
Too often athletes accidentally mirror the long jump in their attempt to takeoff in the triple jump. By doing this, athletes are putting too much weight onto their (single) landing leg and thus momentum/speed will be compromised.
"In the hop phase you want everything to be out vs. up!"
The Step Phase
This is the phase that sets the advanced jumper apart from the novice and less experienced jumper. Without a doubt this is the most improperly performed phase in the triple jump; but many times that's due to an athlete doing something wrong in the hop phase. If you are a high school athlete and can perform this phase at a high technical rate (while also keeping speed) you are going to be ahead of eighty to ninety percent of the other jumpers you'll compete against. This isn't as noticeable at the collegiate level, but is definitely still a struggle!
Upon landing in the hop phase athletes need to "feel their back leg" and use it to aggressively swing UP AND OUT to drive that knee to ninety degrees. Everything about the athletes movements need to mirror a long jump - drive the knee to ninety degrees, drive opposite arm to ninety degrees (stopping at eye level), eyes up, chest up, and exercising patience in the air. The landing though does not reflect the long jump as the athlete must land on the opposite foot that they took off from (generally their non-dominant or lesser used jump foot). Click here to be taken to drills that will help with this phase.
"The step phase mirrors the long jump. You need to drive your non-jump knee to a ninety 90 degree angle to get up AND out.
The Jump Phase
Of the three phases this is (in my opinion) the easiest, but still has it's challenges! Once the athlete lands on his/her lesser-used foot they must then complete a jump (much like in long jump) while keeping posture and speed. If done correctly it will look much like a long jump but there are subtle differences that athletes must do if they want to perform this phase correctly.
When the athlete lands the step phase they must immediately use the leg that is behind them to continue upward and forward momentum by aggressively swinging it forward to ninety degrees. At this time BOTH arms should move in unison with the leg and should end up directly over the athletes head. Doing this will greatly assist in performing the landing. For landing work click here.
As mentioned on other pages the landing can be very difficult, but if the athlete performs the jump phase correctly it makes it a great deal easier! To see some jump phase drills click here!
The Walking Triple Jump
This is a great drill to not only teach the proper arm and knee drives of the triple jump, but to also keep yourself/your athlete healthy! I have personally found GREAT results using this drill. I hope you'll experience the same!