As we examine the jumping events, several obvious (and not so obvious) demands surface. These are listed and discussed individually below.

The Need to Accelerate 

Since the body is at rest at the beginning of the effort, and high momentum values assist performance, the ability to overcome inertia and accelerate in a powerful, efficient manner is important to success in the jumping events. Momentum is as important to performance as velocity, so acceleration capabilities must be sound.

The Need for Speed

The ability to exhibit speed obviously contributes to performance. Speed contributes directly to performance in horizontally oriented events, and serves to load the takeoff leg eccentrically so that vertical accelerations can be produced at takeoff. Good speed related abilities are indicative of an effective neuromuscular system.

Handling Impact

The nature of takeoff indicates the importance of the ability to handle impact without undue duress. The planting of the takeoff foot, horizontal jump landings, and the impact pole vaulters experience as the pole strikes the back of the box are gross examples of impact related stress. Each event demonstrates many other example of minor impact as well.

External Force Production 

Producing large forces at takeoff obviously contributes to performance in the jumping events. The ability to create these large forces also enables the performer to accelerate better, improve speed, and assists in many other areas as well. A unique aspect of these events is that as performance levels improve, the forces generated must be larger, but the time available to apply these forces decreases.

The jumper must be able to exhibit power, producing and applying forces quickly, since time available for force application is limited.

Handling Internal Forces

The intensities of performance dictate that internal forces (forces generated within the body) are high. The ability to generate and control these forces governs successful performance. The core of the body must be capable of harnessing and controlling the torques created by the limbs. Examination of the musculoskeletal system shows that it operates primarily as a system of third class levers. Anchoring the fulcrums of these levers is essential to efficient operation of these lever systems. This anchoring is a function of the body’s ability to handle internally generated forces.

Also, the body must be able to withstand the transmission of these internal forces. Connective tissue structures, such as ligaments, tendons, and fascia, must be strong enough to withstand the forces they are subjected to as internal forces are generated.

Achieving Large Amplitudes of Motion

The obvious advantages of high amplitudes of movement dictate that developing flexibility in a specific sense be done. The ability to attain certain ranges of motion in the jumping events is associated with good displacement values, the ability to control unwanted rotations, and the ability to produce desired rotations.

Coordination Needs

The high speeds involved in performance require that precise movements be performed in extremely short periods of time, so coordination development is crucial. The athlete must display coordination in a general sense, and be able to execute the techniques of the event flawlessly and repetitively.

Producing Elastic Energy

Detailed examination of the movements of the jumps, especially at takeoff, show that the ability to create force via the stretch reflex is essential to high performance. Stretch reflexes are also created in other body parts and situations, including postural musculature. High levels of elastic energy production are a hallmark of great performances in these events.


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