To the casual observer the long jump would appear to be one of the most basic of all track & field events. Athletes run up to a takeoff board and without going past it jump as far as they can into a sandpit. Many of us have seen the picture of long time world record holder Bob Beamon soaring over 29 feet in the 1968 Olympics. Regardless of the level your athletes are at they will need to 1) Accelerate to maximum controllable speed 2) Transition this approach into a takeoff and 3) Land the jump in as efficient a manner as possible.
Acceleration And Maximum Speed
In recent years a great deal as been written about these two topics. The ability to accelerate quickly is developed by addressing technique and strength (starting and explosive). In the long jump approach, somewhere between the 4-6 total steps (2 or 3 rights/lefts) are used to accelerate to maximum speed. The slower your athletes are the faster they will get to top speed. Your faster athletes will take longer to achieve maximum speed. The remaining number of steps are done at maximum controllable speed. Maintenance of this speed and the upright posture at the end of the approach is crucial to success.