Broad Jump Training | Coaching For The Combine
What Is The Broad Jump?
That is the first thing we need to be thinking about. We need to, in the simplest terms, say what the broad jump is. And all it is, is this: if the athlete is standing at point A and they jump, as far as possible, to point B, and we measure the distance between the two points. Simple.
We want to see in a very simple facet how explosive an athlete is over a horizontal distance. We want to train multiple different aspects to best prepare for the movement.
We want to have a very deep counter movement. For instance, the athlete is standing vertically and initiates a deeper counter movement in which the entire torso starts to get all the way in line with the hips. What is this going to show us? It is going to show us quite a bit of hip and hamstring recruitment, meaning we have to recruit this aspect. More importantly, we have to be mobile in the lower back, mobile in the hip and recruit the posterior chain effectively.
And why does the torso get so horizontal? The reason the torso gets so horizontal is because the athlete needs horizontal projection. That forward lean from the catch is going to help the athlete get out for that monster jump.
What Is Needed In The Broad Jump?
Athletes need to have a really strong coordination between the massive arm swings, the chest coming forward and then as the arms come through the chest comes out helping the legs project the body horizontally in the air.
What To Do In The Air During A Broad Jump?
While in the air, we want to see the athlete with a very high heel recovery. We want to see that high heel recovery so that the feet can get forward, helping to get a little bit further when grounding. If the athlete has a lower heel recovery, they will not be able to reach out their feet as far, potentially losing five to six inches. This means that high heel recovery as a technical touchpoint can go a long way training the broad jump for a football combine.
Why Train The Broad Jump?
To begin, it shows how quickly the athlete can recruit muscles for power output. Athletes with a seven foot broad jump are not going to be super explosive, they’re not going to have a very good first step and they’re not going to be able to block a pass or react quickly.
And that is why the broad jump is important for football. With a broad jump we can see how quickly the athlete can react through an instance of power output. We will also be able to see how well they can drop, drive forward, projecting their body forward--think laying out for a catch or laying out for a tackle.
Can the athlete use their body horizontally? The broad jump will show us athletes who are really good at horizontal projection. Typically athletes with strong horizontal projection run pretty fast.
How Does It Transfer On To The Football Field?
The broad jump will show us a plethora of demarcations of athletic ability. It will show the athlete’s first step, how quick they are out of the gate and, on top of that, how well they are able to react. The broad jump performance will answer how well the athlete is able to take a rapid rate of coordination and manipulate their body.
The broad jump will show how hard the athlete can hit performing a tackle. Think of a linebacker seeing a running back coming into the hole, dropping slightly to make the change to make the hit early. The hit happens early because of a rapid rate of coordination. The broad jump test showcases this on the field ability.
How To Execute A Broad Jump Training Session
The biggest thing to focus on is thinking about the counter movement first. If we establish a very strong counter movement and we’re trained properly where we are strong enough to handle the elastic energy that is created from the counter movement, we can then utilize that to project ourselves forward.
At Garage Strength we recommend that our athletes perform olympic lifts, back squats, hurdle hops or box jumps, or whatever, that the broad jump foot position should be the same. In the broad jump, the counter movement, which differs from the vertical jump, we want the arms to sweep back with the head coming almost exactly in line with the hips. That is going to help recruit the muscles in the posterior chain to get a powerful hip extension coming off the line. As the wide sweeping arms come forward, we want to project at a 42-45 degree angle with a high heel recovery.
This is a place where a lot of people screw up. In the air a lot of people keep their heels low. This is a no-no, don’t do, needs to be avoided type of technical fix. Instead, as the athlete extends off the line and elevates forward, we want to see a high heel recovery. Now as the knees come through in the air, the hands will start to come backwards and, when we land, we will be coming forward because of what is being performed in the air. Stick the flat foot landing.
Remember, the big key factors when performing the broad jump are as followed:
1. Good counter movement in which the upper body is almost exactly in line with the hips
2. Sweep forward aggressively with the arms and upper body
3. While in the air have have a high heel recovery
4. Reach forward to a flat foot landing to help keep everything moving forward to stick the landing
Power, strength and explosiveness go a long way for on the field performance. The broad jump is a closed skill that demonstrates the ability to execute powerful movements. Don’t sleep on the keys to technical mastery of the movement to heighten performance at a football combine.
Dane Miller is the owner and founder of Garage Strength Sports Performance. He works with a select handful of clients on building comprehensive programs for fitness and nutrition. Several times a year he leads a workshop for coaches, trainers, and fitness enthusiasts.