Iain's For The High Jump

[Thu 23rd Dec 2010]


For those of you who have known me for up to three years only, believe it or not I havenít always been crocked most of the time or just basically non competitive.I actually used to run 60 miles most weeks, compete a lot of the time and actually plan to do races in the future.All was going great until I suffered a serious lower leg injury, twice in two years.


Last year, I decided to try something different.The problem was what was it to be?I wasnít good enough for any school teams at any sport, so that would make it difficult to decide.Having competed in track running events in later years, I turned my gaze to field events.As I cannot throw anything to save my life, it really leaves the jumps only.


Long Jump would seem the obvious one, but I thought that would need a fair bit of speed and actual running.Next the Triple Jump, but it has the same problems as before but also has an element of ďMulti TaskingĒ to it.(Hop, Step and Jump). Like most blokes I think Iím the greatest at multi tasking, however the wife says Iím not!.Well that leaves the High Jump!.

High Jump requires a degree of flexibility with the body; fortunately after a few years of constant stretching for injuries Iím actually quite flexible for a 40 year old bloke.

Itís over 25 years since I lobbed myself over a bar and into a sandpit!Did that a couple of times and reckoned it was a daft idea then.But as the tallish, but light youth I was, that was my job once a year in the school sports day.


So there you go, having found something I could do if a bit crocked on the running side, the next plan was to see where I could practice.

With a bit of research I found out you could practice indoors at either Jarrow or Alnwick.No choice for me, Iím off home was the cry, so Alnwick it was.

I didnít realise that the class would be made up of athletic talented young people plus one old bloke!


A typical session consists of extensive and dynamic warm-ups; these must warm up all the jumping muscles of the body, not just the legs.A large amount of time is spent on this vital area.Then take off positional practice, static back jump practice, run ups, marking out then the actual run and jump are practiced.

Iím taught the Fosbury flop; other variances are the Scissors which Iím ok at and the Western Roll amongst others.We mainly practice over a nylon ďbarĒ which allows you to get over it without damaging yourself.Big mats replace a sand pit which is handy!


As there are a lot of parts to this, I find it absolutely mentally and physically draining if in competition.In general terms I think you reach your ďpeakĒ for jumping after about 5 attempts.If like me you start low and work up, you can get tired very quickly.If I compete, itís against those of my own age range.Even if time wise I can do a running track race plus the high jump, which you usually can at these meetings, I do the high jump only.


One problem is, that as it requires a lot of mental thought and concentration, unlike a run or a race I find I cannot compete if Iím having a bad day in the office, so to speak.


I wish to thank our Coach, Sue Skirrow of Alnwick who the patience of a saint to put up with my pathetic attempts and the class of extremely talented young people, who to a person are about two foot shorter than me but who can easily jump higher! Their commitment and enthusiasm is great to see.


So there you go, I may not run as much nowadays, but I do enjoy other activities.


The moral is try something else!!!


Iain Singer