Improving my hop was probably the best thing that improved my triple jumping distance when I was in my teens. In the beginning, the local coaches taught us that we had to “hop, skip and jump”. Hopping usually meant doing a hop with a straight leg. The thought of having your leg continue in a natural motion for your body’s mechanics doesn’t usually cross anybody’s mind. But if you look at the top triple jumpers, you will see that they all incorporate the hitch kick into their triple jump technique.
How powerful is the rotating hop?
To give you an idea, here is what I was able to accomplish as a youth.
14 years old – 12.65m – No rotating hop.
15 years old – 13.65m – Rotating hop.
16 years old – 14.07m – Rotating hop.
There are a few other factors to consider, such as muscle development and speed. However, I can honestly say that the incorporation of the rotating hop allowed me to extend the distance of my hop and also carry through the velocity through to the next phase of the triple jump.
What happens when you don’t use the rotating hop?
Your velocity slows down.
It is very difficult to accelerate through the phases of the triple jump if you are jumping with a stiff leg. It is similar to running a race with straight legs vs leg movements in a circular motion.
You’re forced to jump upwards instead of horizontally.
This is important. In triple jump, you need to jump horizontally to maximise your distance. By jumping with a straight leg, you have to jump up to make sure that your foot doesn’t scrape the ground.
How can you improve your triple jump technique with a rotating hop?
It does require practice. There are a few fundamental things that you should aim to achieve when doing a rotating hop.
- Keep your toes up.
This will allow you to perform the movement better.
- Aim to bring your heel underneath your glute.
This will allow you to maximise the horizontal distance.
- Accelerate out of the phase.
You will need your muscles to build strength so that you can control the movement.
Remember, the hop is the most important phase of the triple jump.
If you want to maximise your distance in the triple jump, you must be able to execute a flawless hop so that you can transition to the other phases of the triple jump. The rotating hop will allow you to do this.
Below is a video that you can use to practice the rotating hop to improve your triple jump distance.
You can also check out this post which has triple jump hopping drills that you can practice.