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American high jump champion Chaunte Howard enjoys the fun part of the high jump as she floats over the bar. But she had to develop strong approach and takeoff skills to reach this point.
Michael Steele/Getty Images
The most exciting moment in the high jump occurs when the jumper soars through the air and tries to clear the bar. But that payoff moment is the result of a longer, more complex process. The high jump combines techniques used in running and hurdling, as well as jumping events. It’s the approach run that generates the speed that gives a high jumper the power to leap over the bar. At the same time, the approach run must be controlled – as in the hurdles – by employing the same stride pattern on each jump, to complete the approach at the proper takeoff spot. Young high jumpers, therefore, should begin by developing a consistent approach run, then learning the proper takeoff and flight techniques. If you don’t get the approach right, you won’t need to know how to clear the bar because you won’t jump high enough to do so.