Triple jumps requires focus for track athletes

By Ed Rietveld

There is an event in track and field where the old axiom “easy as one, two, three” rings true: the triple jump.

The triple jump requires focus and technique in just a short amount of time because athletes are running at full speed. Assistant coach Kevin Dwyer, who focuses on the field events, said jumpers need to have one thing down before they can start to worry about their technique.

“We call them phases,” Dwyer said. “So each phase in the triple jump is kind of dependent upon the phase before it. The first phase to the second phase to the third phase, the biggest thing about it all is keeping your speed throughout the whole jump.”

Dwyer said there are things jumpers need to focus on execution wise during each phase of the triple jump.

“…The first phase you need to be in good position, you need to carry your speed through the board to get into that second phase,” Dwyer said. “To continue that second phase you need to have that foot right out in front of the hip and roll your hips over that foot, get your hips through and continue that speed into that final phase, which is that takeoff, and stay in good position, drive through track and then go into the landing.”

Sophomore Alexandra Schad, who competes in the event for NIU, said triple jumpers must be mindful of each step they take because it is hard to recover from one bad step.

“…If you mess up on one jump it kind of messes up the other phases because you’re losing strength from the jump that you messed up on,” Schad said.

Schad, who has only been competing in the triple jump since her freshman year, said she likes how easy it is to keep getting better in the event.

“What I like about it is there’s a lot of room to improve,” Schad said. “So, if you just improve each phase by a little bit you’re actually improving the whole jump by a lot.”

Schad, a Milwaukee, Wis., native said there wasn’t that much of an adjustment period once she started competing as a triple jumper.

“It did take a little bit of time, but I was a long jumper in high school,” Schad said. “So, it was kind of hard to get used to, but once you get the hang of it it’s kind of a like riding a bike you know what to do.”