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High Jump - Fosbury Flop

The high jump comprises of four phases: approach, take off, flight and landing.

ApproachThe Approach

Factors to look for in the approach:

  • 2 or 4 strides lead into a checkpoint
  • non-take off foot hits this checkpoint
  • followed by a curved 5 stride approach to the take-off point
  • in the last 3 to 4 strides the athlete is inclined away from the bar
  • final strides to be fast and hips kept high




Take off

Factors to look for on take-off:

  • take off point is approx. 0.5 metres to 0.75 metres from the near upright along the bar and out from the bar
  • take off foot is slightly ahead of the athlete's body
  • take off foot plant is an active flat down and back action
  • take off foot is pointing towards a position halfway between the middle of the bar and the far upright (10° to 20°)
  • take off foot is in alignment with the take-off leg
  • hips are forward
  • inside shoulder is high
  • the trunk is upright and leaning slightly back - not leaning towards the bar
  • hips are at 45° to the bar and the shoulders at 90°
  • there is a quick and vigorous movement of the free limbs
  • the inside shoulder does not drop in towards the bar
  • rotation comes from the non-jumping side i.e. the free leg and shoulder pulling across the body
  • the leg nearest the bar is driven up bent and high at the opposite upright, thigh and foot parallel with the ground and lower leg vertical
  • both arms are swung forwards and upwards with the free leg


Once off the ground factors to look for in the flight:

  • inside knee stays up at bar level
  • heels are pulled back towards the head (arching the back)
  • knees bent and wide apart
  • arms in a crucifix position or held by the side
  • head back and looking towards the far back corner of the mat (forces the hips to stay high)
  • once the hips are over the bar the legs are snapped straight from the knees
  • landing on the shoulders

High Jump Drills

In all drills, stress "Trunk upright, hips forward and head high".

  • 2 × 20m walking - lifting the heel and stretching the ankle quickly
  • 2 × 20m bouncing ankle extension
  • 2 × 20m bounding arm drill
  • 5 × 3 or 5 stride vertical jump drill (ankle extension, free knee drive, arm action)
  • Three stride practice jumps, concentrating on specific body parts (5 to 10 jumps).

Training Programs

A training program has to be developed to meet the individual needs of the athlete and take into consideration many factors: gender, age, strengths, weaknesses, objectives, training facilities etc. As all athletes have different needs a single program suitable for all athletes is not possible.

Training Pathway


Athletes in the Event Group stage

The following is a basic annual training program suitable for athletes in the Event Group development stage:

Athletes in the Event stage

The following is an example of a specific annual training program suitable for athletes in the Event development stage:

Evaluation Tests

The following evaluation tests can be used to monitor the high jump athlete's development:

Rules of Competition

The competition rules for this event can be obtained from:

Page Reference

If you quote information from this page in your work, then the reference for this page is:

  • MACKENZIE, B. (2001) High Jump - Fosbury Flop [WWW] Available from: [Accessed

Related Pages

The following Sports Coach pages provide additional information on this topic:

Associated Books

The following books provide more information related to this topic:

  • High Jump, F.W. Dick
  • How to Teach the Jumps, D. Johnson