A great tip to share with struggling long jumpers in Athletics
My grade 2 students were struggling with understanding the concept of jumping as far as you can in running long jump this week. I completely get that being able to sprint up to the line and take off of one foot, jumping as far as you can requires a certain degree of physical coordination and ability. Every year that I teach running long jump there are always some kids who really have difficulty executing this maneuver. There are always a handful who cannot do it even by the end of the unit, so I decided to have a bit of fun with it today to get them not only doing, but thinking as they do.
After watching one student after another not be able to actually jump from the line into the sand pit, I stopped them all. The grade 6 class was using the same sand pit to work on their triple jump. I asked one of the grade 6 students to demonstrate the proper long jump technique as the grade 2 students watched. Just before the grade 6 student was about to take off down the lane for the pit, I laid my body across the sand, just in front of the jump line and told the grade 6 student to imagine I was her grandma. "Do you want to squish grandma?" I asked. Of course all the grade 2 and all of the grade 6 students busted out in laughter. The grade 6 student said "NO", then proceeded to sprint down the lane, jump perfectly from the line, soaring through the air directly over me.
After a big round of applause from the grade 2s, I got up and told my students that they had to imagine the same thing. They had to pick someone or something that they loved and imagine it laid out just past the jump line. I asked the students to share what or who was the imaginary thing or person laid out before them. Here were some of their answers:
Both Grandma and Grandpa
My Mom and Dad
Once I had this idea firmly planted in their head, I took my shoes off and placed them on the ground directly ahead of the jump line. Another adult also donated their shoes to place ahead of the other jump line as we were using 2 lanes for running long jump. I asked them to visualize that our shoes were the person or thing they had chosen not to SQUISH.
Away they ran and jumped! I wasn't surprised that almost every single student could execute running long jump properly taking off from the line and jumping clear into the pit. Some were kind of doing a leaping step landing in the pit on one foot, but I was able to work on the proper landing technique the rest of class with these students.
We had a lot of fun doing it and the kids were laughing away making references to having saved grandma or their dog. I'm sure many of you have your own effective strategies that you use to get your students thinking about proper running long jump technique. I wanted to share the simple one that I used today with you all. Most of the students in the photos below were ones who COULD NOT execute the proper long jump technique before. This simple and fun technique got them thinking their way through and doing the activity effectively. !00% of the students said that this visualization helped them to be able to jump into the sand pit properly. Have a great week. Please share any ideas that you use for long jump in the comment box below! Happy Jumping!