The penultimate step in the long jump is important, but it shouldn’t be overemphasized. The goal of the long jump event is to jump the furthest distance from the take-off board In order to accomplish that, you must maximise your top speed at the take-off point and maintain that speed throughout the jump.
The mistake many athletes make when they incorporate the penultimate step is that they do it in a way that causes them to decelerate.
This deceleration can cost them several centimetres when doing the long jump.
Secondly, athletes use the penultimate step to get extra height for when they do the long jump.
This ensures that they jump in an arc instead of jumping flat. However, if the athlete pops up too high, they will simply jump high in the air and won’t get the distance.
If the penultimate step is too low, the athlete will simply pop up and down when doing the jump.
The penultimate step is important. However, it needs to be incorporated with speed. And generally, the athlete will need to have a high speed on the runway to incorporate it in a way so that the benefits will be seen.
If an athlete runs 10 or 11 seconds over the 100m, a penultimate step will be beneficial as it will give the athlete enough height to carry the speed throughout the arc of the jump.
The video below shares very good tips from former Olympic medallist Dwight Phillips.
One of the best examples ever is the penultimate step of Bob Beamon, who jumped 8.90m, which is a former world record.
You can see a snippet of his penultimate step below.
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