The long jump (historically called the broad jump) is a track and field event in which athletes combine speed, strength and agility in an attempt to leap as far as possible from a take off point. Along with the triple jump, the two events that measure jumping for distance as a group are referred to as the "horizontal jumps". This event has a history in the Ancient Olympic Games and has been a modern Olympic event for men since the first Olympics in 1896 and for women since 1948. Long jump competitions are part of all track and field events, the most popular of which are the Olympics and the World Championships.
How it works: Competitors sprint along a runway and jump as far as possible into a sandpit from a wooden take-off board. The distance travelled, from the edge of the board to the closest indentation in the sand to it, is then measured. A foul is committed – and the jump is not measured – if an athlete steps beyond the board. Most championship competitions involve six jumps per competitor, although usually a number of them, those with the shorter marks, are often eliminated after three jumps. If competitors are tied, the athlete with the next best distance is declared the winner.
Long Jump Rules:
- Equipment and Jumping Rules: The sole of a long jumper’s shoe can have a maximum thickness of 13 millimeters. Spikes are allowed. The runway must be at least 40 meters long. Competitors may place as many as two location markers on the runway. The jumper's farthest point forward in contact with the takeoff board, i. e., the toe of the jumper's shoe -- must be behind the leading edge of the takeoff board. The board itself must be 20 centimeters wide and level with the ground. Somersaults are not permitted. Each jump must be completed within one minute from the time the jumper steps onto the runway. Jumpe executed with a tailwind or more than two meters per second don't count.
- The Competition: Twelve competitors qualify for the Olympic long jump final. Results from the qualification rounds do not carry over into the final. Each finalist takes three jumps, then the top eight jumpers receive three more attempts. The longest single jump during the final wins. If two jumpers are tied, the jumper with the longer second best jump is awarded the medal.
Technique: Several different techniques are used in order to maximize the jumper's total distance without causing the jumper to fall backward during the landing.
The first thing a prospective long jumper may learn is that the sport lacks a starting line. Jumpers, of course, must determine their own starting points. The coach will choose the number of strides for the approach run — probably based on the jumper’s age — then the jumper may run toward the takeoff board, or may begin at the board and run toward the starting area. In either case, the jumper runs the appropriate number of strides so the coach can determine whether she is striding consistently. Once the jumper learns to stride consistently, the coach can measure the distance she travels in the appropriate number of strides. This distance allows the coach to set the correct starting point.
Run up: In the run up phase, strive for consistency and speed. The long jumper gets a huge boost from the run up before the jump. The speed greatly affects the jump distance. The jumper must also take note to jump before the foul line. Otherwise, no matter the distance, the jump would be void.
Takeoff: Your takeoff leg is the one that stays on the ground to support your weight when you kick a ball. Usually, if you are right-handed, your takeoff leg will be your left leg. When taking off, the aim is to attain height so that you can stay in flight longer and further. Place the foot flat on the ground for takeoff. Taking off heel-first will reduce your speed, while taking off on the toes decreases stability and increases risk of injury.
Flight: There are a few techniques, namely the sail, the hang, and the hitch-kick. But the hang and hitch-kick techniques are arguably effective only if you can jump further than five metres. The sail is recommended for beginners. To do the sail technique, thrust your free leg in front of your body as long as possible. The takeoff leg will follow suit into the same position of the free leg midflight. Lastly, bring your arms forward, as if you are trying to reach for your toes.
Landing: When landing, it is imperative not to fall backwards into the landing pit. Bring your heels up and your head down towards your knees. Jumpers often fall forward or sideways after landing on their heels. Every inch counts.
There are five main components of the long jump: the approach run, the last two strides, takeoff, action in the air, and landing. Speed in the run-up, or approach, and a high leap off the board are the fundamentals of success.
Training: The long jump generally requires training in a variety of areas. These areas include:
- Speed work: Speed work is essentially short distance speed training where the athlete would be running at top or near top speeds. The distances for this type of work would vary between indoor and outdoor season but are usually around 30–60 m for indoors and up to 100 m for outdoors.
- Jumping: Long Jumpers tend to practice jumping 1–2 times a week. Approaches, or run-throughs, are repeated sometimes up to 6–8 times per session. Short approach jumps are common for jumpers to do, as it allows for them to work on specific technical aspects of their jumps in a controlled environment.
- Over-distance running: Over-distance running workouts helps the athlete jump a further distance than their set goal.
- Weight training: During pre-season training and early in the competition season weight training tends to play a major role in the sport. It is customary for a long jumper to weight train up to 4 times a week, focusing mainly on quick movements involving the legs and trunk. Some athletes perform Olympic lifts in training.
- Plyometrics: Plyometrics, including running up and down stairs and hurdle bounding, can be incorporated into workouts, generally twice a week. This allows an athlete to work on agility and explosiveness. Other plyometric workouts that are common for long jumpers are box jumps.
- Bounding: Bounding is any sort of continuous jumping or leaping. Bounding drills usually require single leg bounding, double-leg bounding, or some variation of the two. The focus of bounding drills is usually to spend as little time on the ground as possible and working on technical accuracy, fluidity, and jumping endurance and strength.
- Flexibility: Flexibility is an often forgotten tool for long jumpers. Effective flexibility prevents injury, which can be important for high-impact events such as the long jump. It also helps the athlete sprint down the runway. Hip and groin injuries are common for long jumpers who may neglect proper warm-up and stretching.
Training styles, duration, and intensity vary immensely from athlete to athlete and are based on the experience and strength of the athlete as well as on their coaching style.