Teaching Jump Landing

Jump training can be a big buzz word in athletic performance training world. In the past, coaches have actually asked me if I offer jump training, as if jumping is something new.

Jumping, like all the other components of athleticism, is very important, but isn’t my primary focus in the initial teaching stages. The jump landing is my main focus.

Here are my thoughts and philosophy on teaching jump landing. It is much like cutting or any other quick, ground contact movement. In the initial stages of teaching jumping and landing, I always place the athletes in the landing position first. This allows them to feel what it is like to be in this position.

Jump Landing Position

  • Hips back
  • Shoulders over knees
  • Knees forward so ankles are dorsiflexed
  • Knees vertically aligned with feet
  • Spine neutral
  • This posture will load the system by supporting joints, putting key tissue on stretch, and creating body control. The problem is sport and activities that require jumping and the subsequent landing aren’t so scripted. Players must learn to land in all kinds of positions, both on single or double legs. But for the purpose of training, we must be controlled and accurate so when we play the sport we can have trained the body to handle unbalanced landings.

    Here is a progression that will help you and your athletes develop solid landing skills: The following is the same regardless if it is jumping, leaping, or hopping.

    Jump Landing Position

  • Landing should be with roughly a 45 degree to 60 degree knee bend – so a deeper landing pattern. This helps to build control, strength, and posture.
  • The initial deeper landings should be low intensity and volume.
  • Gradually increase the degree of landing to 25 to 40 degrees.
  • Still keep the volume and intensity low. The purpose of the smaller angle is to prepare the body to land and be able to react quickly in another direction. This is much like a speed cut body position.
  • Finally, increase the degree to 10 to 20 degrees. This becomes very proprioceptive in nature. The body must be stabilized quickly due to the lack of greater pre-stretch on tissue like in a 45 plus degree knee bend.
  • The goal is to gradually increase the quickness or response time out of the landing. The deeper landings are safer, but slower when needing to react out of the landing position. The lesser depth knee bend during landings allows for a quicker response due to the stretch reflex of the muscle/tendon unit. A great way to build quickness out of the higher position jump landing is through drills like; jump rope, dot drills, line drills, and quick response low box jumps. Do not build too much intensity too quickly in order to build good technique, joint integrity, and proper patterning.

    Ground Breaking 2 has an entire DVD devoted to teaching proper jumping and landing. Don’t go it alone. Have a resource that can support your programming. Click here to check it out.

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