High Jump Baby Step #3 - The Knee Drive
Updated: Mar 13, 2021
ACROSS THE BODY
The knee drive needs to be across the body and away from the bar. This allows the athlete’s body to rotate in the air which gets their back to the bar. To reiterate, the knee drive across the body gets your athlete’s back to the bar, not the foot placement.
A good example of the athlete getting their knee across their body.
DRIVE KNEE TO THE BAR
The knee drive needs to be held to the bar or for as long as possible. The knee drive is what gets the athlete’s hips over the bar. A lack of proper knee drive also leads to less area for the athlete to clear the bar. The bigger the knee drive, the more area of clearance below the athlete’s back and butt over the bar.
A good example of the athlete driving their knee to the bar.
NO KNEE = NO HIP HEIGHT
Since the knee drive is key in getting the athlete’s hips up, it makes sense that a lack of knee drive will result in an athlete’s hips and legs to sag through and hit the bar. If the athlete’s hips and legs sag through, then they cannot get the rotation on the bar needed for proper overbar mechanics or backbend. Not having knee drive is what causes coaches to have their athletes “snap” out of their jumps because the “snap” gets the athlete’s legs out of the way.
A bad example of an athlete driving their knee. Notice how the athlete's hips and legs are sagging through the jump.