The triple jump used to be aptly called the “hop, step, and jump.” It is essentially a three-stage jump that relies on speed control to be executed correctly. Triple jumpers know, that while there is a lot of room for error, there also exists an excellent opportunity to successfully nail a difficult jump. Here is a step-by-step guide to executing the triple jump.
If you’ve done long jumps, the first step will feel very familiar. The triple jump starts out with a dash down the track toward a takeoff board. Approach the run with your takeoff foot forward. Lean back a bit and keep your weight to your rear foot. You will then lean forward and start your run by bringing the rear foot forward and accelerating as quickly as possible. After approximately six strides, your torso will gradually move to a fully vertical position. Run as fast as you can while still maintaining the control you need to approach the board.
Instead of taking a single, forceful leap, like in the long jump, you hit the takeoff board with your torso still upright and your takeoff foot below your hip, and you bound forward. Before taking off, pump either the opposite arm of your takeoff foot forward, or you can pump both arms backward and then forward as your takeoff leg moves to the board. As you bound from the board, bring your takeoff foot’s heel up to your bum and drive the opposite knee forward. You want your thigh parallel to the ground. Then, push the takeoff knee forward as you extend the other leg backward.
The step phase is executed correctly when you land with your body upright and your takeoff foot is planted under your hips. But don’t stay there. This step should feel like part of the run. Force that takeoff foot backward while moving the opposite leg forward and bringing that thigh back to being parallel with the ground. Pump your arm or arms like you did before. Most beginners will utilize the one-arm pump because it’s easier, but training to do the two-arm pump will give you more power as you perfect the technique.
As you lift off, keep your torso upright and your eyes focused forward, to right above the end of the sand pit. You will thrust the takeoff leg from the hop and step phases forward by bringing that knee higher than your hip. Bring both of your arms straight up extend both legs in front of you. Your legs should be roughly parallel to the ground with your knees a bit higher.
Crush that landing by slightly flexing your knees just before you hit the ground. Allow your heels to hit first and keep your body balanced by leaning forward and keeping your arms out in front.
As you can see, the triple jump is a complex sport that requires a lot of practice, determination, and finesse. Practice each step of the process individually. Try using your strong leg first, then try your weaker leg. You use one leg for the first two phases and then the other for the jump. See what makes sense for you and don’t be afraid of making mistakes. Stay motivated, work hard, and you’ll see vast improvements! You got this!