My site on High Jumping

Version 2.13


   As a former straddle jumper I designed this site for other HJers, their coaches or just folks that want to browse and learn more.  The idea was to create a place with lots to check out.  I think if you have the time, you’ll find that’s the case.  The links at the top of the page are the way into the parts and resources of this site.

    Some of the resources includes video of different high jumpers that I’ve admired, training techniques for athletes who wish to be elite, and some competitions that I’ve found on Youtube.  It also allows me to keep in one place the details of learning and coaching some of the techniques of the HJ, including the passé dive-straddle and the currently more fashionable and effective Fosbury Flop. There are links on this site, above, on how Dick Fosbury developed that technique.

    In the days when I was first learning to jump, my hero was Valeriy Brumel, the Russian jumper who set the world record in 1963 at 2.28 meters or 7’ 5 3/4”.  His dive-straddle jumping style inspired me to start jumping over things in the back yard, which paid off because eventually all that jumping around led to a scholarship... and more valuably, a college education. You’ll find a special section of this site devoted to Valeiry and the technique he mastered.  Practically no one uses the technique any more because it is difficult to learn and even harder to master.  The highest anyone has jumped using the technique is 2.35 meters or 7’ 8 1/2” by the Ukranian (then Soviet) jumper, Vladmir Yaschenko. The slow motion footage in the section labeled “Brumelian Straddle Technique” is very revealing.  It’s worth mentioning that I found how to horizontally reverse some of the video so that Brumel’s and Yashenko's approaches and jumps can be seen coming from the right side of the bar rather than from the left.  Being left handed, that would have been very helpful to me as I learned--but that “learning” ship set sail about 50 years ago.  

    The more recent (backward) Flop technique is widely thought to be more effective and all of the current elite jumpers doing the highest jumps now use it. The current world record is 2.45 meters or 8’ 1/2”, by Javier Sotomayer who used the technique. The Flop method has its subtleties, but there is general agreement Brumel’s dive straddle is harder to master, and since harder to master and thought to be less effective, it has fallen by the way-side.  

    Speaking of the recent, the only two film clips of my learning to jump were recently found buried in a closet. One was taken during the spring of 1965 in an alley behind a friend’s home and the other was from a regular practice session at the University of Missouri football stadium.  Both clips are very short, but I was so pleased to find them after they had been considered “lost” for more than 35 years.  I transferred the 8 mm film into video and then eventually digitized them.  I plan to put those two clips somewhere on this site—probably in the Brumel section. They bring back a lot of pleasant memories.  The photo (above, right) is a computer screen shot I made from that digitized film and then using Photoshop, I created the watercolor effect. And yes, I did clear that jump.  However, I only wish I had the jumping resources on this site when I was jumping so long ago. My form and training techniques were so antiquated.

   Here’s another photo (right) of my practicing the straddle technique.  I used a straight lead leg “take-off” that I adapted during my HS years.  The photo was an attempt at 2.06 M or 6’ 9”, taken during my sophomore year at MU, Columbia.  I don’t remember the particular jump, but I’m sure I missed that one because I look too close to the bar at take-off.  Unfortunately my jumping “career” was cut short because of a knee injury on my take-off leg.  PB outdoor: 2.06 M; PB indoor: 2.04 M.

    Enjoy exploring the site and its resources. Long live the dive/straddle technique of Valeriy Brumel!


Jim Cook

Jim Cook's Personal Website