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How to do long jump
Just run and jump, right?
Well, yes, you can do that, but what if you want to try and jump quite far into the long jump pit, or at least jump further than your friend or fellow competitor?
During competition, you also don't want the toe of your foot to go over the long jump take-off board, or it will be a "no jump" and, even if you have a few more chances at jumping again, that jump was a waste, perhaps tiring you a bit, and you may not jump as far the next time, even if your foot lands nicely in the centre of the take-off board.
Well, then, I can just slow down a bit if it looks like my toe may go over the board, and get my steps just right so that my foot lands nicely on the board.
Then you have lost speed, and without a lot of speed, you are not going to jump as far as you would have if you had been sprinting up to that take off board without slowing down at all.
How do I get my foot nicely on the board without slowing down when I run up to it?
You stand at the long jump pit, with your back to it, and your toe of your one foot in the middle of the take off board. Make sure it is the same foot that you feel most comfortable being on that board when you are jumping into the long jump pit.
You get a friend to stand some distance away from the pit, roughly in the area where you would like to run from when attempting your first jump. Make sure they know which foot to look out for (the one that is your "take-off" foot; the one that is meant to land on the board when running toward the long jump pit.)
Run (fast, as if you are running toward the pit and about to do your best jump ever) right past your friend as if sprinting to a finish line much further beyond your friend. Your friend will see where the toe of your foot (the correct foot) lands near him or her as you run past. Mark the place on the side of the run up area, with a marker of some sort, even a little stone will do.
Now placing your toe in line with that marker, run toward the long jump pit, just as fast as you just ran away from it. If your running speed is exactly the same, the toe of your take off foot should land nicely in the centre of the take off board.
It is important to ask your friend to stand at the take off board when you try out your run up, so it can be seen if your toe lands in the proper place, without you yourself having to look down to check it yourself. This may sound odd, but do not jump! Just carry on running through the sand pit, no matter where your foot lands before you enter the sandpit.
If your foot has not landed perfectly, you and your friend need to see exactly how far before or beyond the board your toe is. Your marker can then be shifted accordingly, instead of you having to keep running away from the pit to try get a new run up marked off.
Once you have the perfect run up, it may be a good idea to use a long tape measure, or even a long piece of string to measure your run up, so that you can avoid having to do a new run up for each new long jump competition. You can then just test it out and shift your marker accordingly (it may be a very windy day affecting your speed.)
Right! Now you are ready to jump!
You run as fast as you can and jump as far as you can? Wrong. The running as fast as you can will help, but do not jump as far as you can.
Jump as high as you can.
The combination of speed and height is what will make you jump far.
Sit down and throw a stone as far as you can, even if you are trying to throw it both high and far at the same time. Then stand up, and take a little run, to the same launching point, and then throw the stone again.
One other thing to remember is not to step back when you land in the long jump pit. Walk out the front of the pit, or at least go a bit forward before exiting at the side. If you step back, your long jump measurement is taken from that mark and not from where you actually landed.
Run fast. Jump high. Go far.