The high jump is a technical event that requires athletes to have a combination of speed, strength, and coordination. Even the most experienced athletes can make mistakes in their technique, which can lead to poor performance and injury. As a high school track coach, it's important to identify common mistakes your athletes make in the high jump and help them correct them. Here are some of the most common mistakes and how to correct them:
Incorrect approach: One of the most important elements of the high jump is the approach run. Athletes who have a poor approach run will struggle to generate enough speed and power to clear the bar. Common mistakes include starting too close to the bar, taking too many or too few steps, or not maintaining a consistent rhythm. To help your athletes correct this, focus on proper footwork and rhythm. Encourage them to take the same number of steps every time, and to maintain a steady pace throughout the approach.
Poor takeoff: The takeoff is another crucial element of the high jump. Athletes who don't execute a proper takeoff will struggle to clear the bar. Common mistakes include taking off at the wrong angle to the mat, being too close to the bar, or being too far away from the bar causing the athlete to reach for their takeoff. Focus on ensuring your athletes penultimate step and plan is slightly shorter and quicker than the rest of the approach and that the athlete's foot takes off at a 45-degree angle to the mat.
Mental blocks: Finally, athletes who have mental blocks can struggle to perform at their best in the high jump. Common mental blocks include fear of the bar, lack of confidence, or not trusting their technique. To help your athletes overcome mental blocks, focus on building their confidence and trust in their technique by doing high volumes of reps in practice. Encourage them to practice visualization techniques, and to focus on positive self-talk. Also, remind them that mistakes are a natural part of the learning process and that they should view them as opportunities for growth and improvement.
By identifying common mistakes your athletes make in the high jump and providing them with the tools and techniques they need to correct them, you can help them improve their performance.