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Getting the balance between the phases in the triple jump in terms of the distances for each is crucial. Hop too far and you risk reducing the total distance achieved or collapsing and bailing out of the jump. Here's a little bit of info that I've gleaned whilst putting together an article on the phase ratio in the triple jump for an article in a future edition of Athletics Weekly.
Phase ratio refers to the percentage that each phase of the triple jump i.e. the hop, step and jump, contributes to total distance achieved. Particularly in the men’s event there are hop dominant and jump dominant exponents. It should however be noted that the percentages of the phases are not wildly different i.e. we’re talking in the low to mid 30 percents for each phase.
At the recent world indoor champs Will Claye’s winning leap of 17.43m was comprised of a 5.93m hop, a 5.65m step and a 5.94m jump (incidentally had he been up to the limit on the take-off board he would have achieved a distance of 17.51m). In contrast Claye’s opener which had a 6.15m hop only resulted in a total distance of 16.86m, the main reducing culprit being the step which was only 5.17m. (For reference the raw, but talented high jumper turned triple jumper from Brazil, Almir dos Santos, who gained the silver behind Claye in Birmingham, hopped 6.44m on his best effort of 17.41m but only had a 5.05m step and finished with a 5.93m jump.)
Most young athletes have no or a very small step phase and it’s the step which holds the key to total distance jumped. Working to balanced ratios initially when learning can teach the young triple jumper, the event's rhythm and the skill needed to create a distance from all the phases. As they mature and develop speed, and specific condition they will then be well-placed to exploit whatever talent they have.
Below Will Claye's winning jump from this year's world indoors