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Jumping Development

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This is the final instalment of the Run, Jump and Throw activity lists. Hopefully they have stimulated enough practitioners to see the width and depth of an appropriate movement vocabulary. With such a width and depth of activity available it clearly illustrates how long it takes to create such a vocabulary and how important the role of patience and progression is in the whole scheme of things. For the technical 'purist' who is often anxious to get to sports-specific stuff you would have recognised the many opportunities available to you in this scheme of work. Run, Jump, Throw, Catch, Strike, Kick, Pass, Evade, etc, are complexities that can be woven into the movement curriculum quite easily. I would still suggest that all athletes should 'earn the right' to focus on sports-specific actions and postures by immersing themselves in solving all the movement puzzles presented in these blogs.

As with all movements the ability of the athlete to connect from ‘toenails to fingernails’ during the jumping action is vital. Even in a pure ‘jump’, such as Long-Jump in Athletics, the athlete has a variety of things happening before take-off, at take-off, during ‘flight’, before ‘landing’ and at ‘landing’ so the ability to control a variety of factors while jumping is important.

I was taught by my mentors that it was always best to teach ‘Landing’ before take-off to a Jump. I didn’t get an explanation for this mantra but quickly understood when I coached my first High Jumper when it became very clear why landing is part of the vocabulary of Jumping. As a preparation for take-off nearly every jump is preceded by a ‘Landing’ of sorts. For example, in the High Jump the take-off foot is planted on the floor and the free Knee is driven up and across the body. It is this ‘plant’ that sets up the actual take-off. Get this wrong in terms of “where, when and how” and the subsequent take-off and flight of the jump will be less than optimum.

jumping image 1

Above you can see examples of an athlete just prior to take-off having ‘landed’ on the floor on the jumping (take-off) Leg. If this ‘force-reduction’ or ‘force-stabilisation’ or ‘shock-absorption’ landing is not controlled throughout all body parts then the next action – the take-off – is going to be a more difficult action to get right. Don’t just think that Athletics jumping activities need this high-quality action. A Cricket Bowler has to land when getting into the delivery part of the action; a Basketball lay-up shot starts with a landing; a Hurdler landing from a hurdle needs quality in this landing; a field and court team athlete who needs to change direction will have to have this ‘landing’ prior to changing direction; a Soccer player jumping to head a ball will need these take-off mechanics to be first class; a Ski-Jumper will have to land correctly just as an Ice-Dancer will need to land perfectly.

Jumping image 2

Landing just prior to take-off is the key action that must be done well if the jump part is to be successful. Lose control of this contact with the floor and not only might the following jump be compromised but joints and tissue can easily be injured.

Losing control of a landing

Landing & Take-Off

  • 2 Feet take-off to 2 Feet landing (Jumping)
  • One Foot (L&R) take-off to 2 Feet landing
  • 2 Feet take-off to One Foot landing (L&R)
  • One Foot (L&R) take-off to same One Foot (L&R) landing (Hopping)
  • One Foot (L&R) take-off to opposite Foot landing (Leaping / Bounding)
  • Combinations e.g. repeated Jumping; repeated Hopping; repeated Leaping; the principles of Hop Scotch; Hop-Step-Jump; 2Hops-2 Steps–2 jumps.
  • Forwards
  • Lateral (L&R)
  • Backwards
  • Diagonal
  • With pause
  • Continuous
  • Restart e.g. Jump forwards twice then immediately jump backwards once.
  • Landing Deep
  • Landing Shallow
  • Carrying objects e.g. Medicine Balls; Aqua Bags
  • Catching and Throwing at landing
  • Arms Overhead
  • On to a Box
  • Off a Box
  • On and off and on combinations
  • Over a Box; Witches Hat; Hurdle; Bench
  • On to different surfaces e.g. Sand; Soft Mats; Up-slope and down-slope

While Landings are being adapted to, the actual Take-Off exploration can begin. The direction can be manipulated along with the amplitude from shallow jumping to jumping for height. Actions can be added during and after the ‘flight’ phase of the jump.

Vertical Jumping  (Jumping - Hopping – Leaping / Bounding)

  • Jump & Reach
  • Jump & Rotate
  • Jump & Tuck
  • Star Jump
  • Jump & Catch
  • Jump & Throw
  • Jumping forward for height
  • Jumping backwards for height
  • Jumping laterally (L&R) for height
  • Jumping diagonally for height
  • Over obstacles e.g. Hurdles, mini-Hurdles, Boxes, Canes
  • Reactive – mirror a partner’s jumping actions.
  • Reactive – tag games over obstacles.

 Horizontal Jumping (Jumping - Hopping – Leaping / Bounding)

  • Forwards
  • Backwards
  • Lateral (L&R)
  • Diagonal (L&R)
  • Along a line
  • Across a line
  • Over obstacles e.g. Hurdles, mini-Hurdles, Boxes, Canes
  • For height
  • For distance
  • With Pause
  • Continuous
  • With rebound
  • With Rotation
  • Reactive – tag games

You can find out more about me by visiting my coaching profile

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Comments (2)


Another great blog Kelvin! I’ve really enjoyed reading your series so far (Link here for those interested https://www.connectedcoaches.org/people/kbgiles/blogs). I think people might find videos helpful to further illustrate some of the things you’ve mentioned here. I do know you sell video resources on your site that do just this but haven’t mentioned them in the blog to adhere to our participation guidelines (https://www.connectedcoaches.org/about/participation-guidelines ) so thank you for doing that. If anyone wants to find out more about the resources I’m referring to though you can find out more on his coaching profile.

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Hi Rob! about 4 weeks ago I was up dating my CPD and came across Kelvins videos ( a little strange when the day after I had watched the videos Kelvin appeared on CC). I was so mesmerised by the information, I sat and watch all 4 videos over the 2 hr whilst taking notes. After watching the videos all I wanted to do was put what I had learned into practice which is exactly what I did. 3 weeks ago I had a 21 year old young lady come down to track asking for help with her fitness due to her having a fitness test for the armed forces coming up in May 2018, I offered to take her on knowing how much work and fitness was required as I had previously helped my own son loose just over 4 stone and become fitter for the RAF( This was over a 2 year period, he is now in his 3rd year and doing pretty well).
Due to the young lady not having taken part in much sport, being slightly under weight, not being very strong, very shy and not very confidante I decided to go back to basics and put what I had learned into practice using some the techniques Kelvin suggests, I have gone right back to basics in hope that in March next year she will have passed her fitness test, feel stronger, fitter and have much more confidence in herself.

Thanks Kelvin.

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