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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 only 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 hurdles – by
employing the same stride pattern on each jump, in order to complete the approach at the proper
takeoff spot. It would be wise, therefore, for young high jumpers to begin by developing a
consistent approach run, then learn 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 be able to do it.