Rudiment Hops

Posted by Reuben Jones

Before actual triple jump work is accomplished, a period of time is spent developing general work capacities; rudiment hops is a valued part of this.  It is here where coaches have an awesome opportunity to teach the how’s and why’s of the jump events from its foundation.   

Early in the preseason, I begin with addressing posture, limb swing and contact patterns in all movements from the warm-up to the cool-down. General jumps technique comes in the form of skipping and takeoff drills.  Skips for height, skips for distance and hurdle gallops were addressed by Ron Grigg at the 2015 Complete Track and Field clinic.  I am going to add a multiple jump circuit to our fundamental drills list.


A video of each drill is shown near the bottom of this article.

For about the first two weeks of the preseason, I use rudiment hops to teach the balance, timing, and synchronization of jumping.  Above is a series of very short bounds that Dan Pfaff and Boo Schexnayder use where the rise of the center of mass is restricted to a few inches high and the length of each hop is between one to three feet long.

I believe the rhythm of jumping comes from the uniform hip, knee and ankle flexion/extension.  Maintaining its consistency over a given distance covered is the most important objective.  Loud landings are a sign of rigidity and tension.  Quiet contacts cue heel first landings and greater flexion of joints for impact absorption.    

The middle portion of the circuit challenges coordination through single foot support drills.  Single leg forward and backward is a teaching platform for more advanced plyometrics, but do not progress until mastery is achieved.  It also allows coaches to view how the non-support side of the body helps in the athlete finding balance and synchronization. 


*Training Resource:  The Unique Features of the Triple Jump…And How to Coach Them


Normally, I want the arms slightly hanging loosely by their sides swinging in their normal sprint patterns.  The free leg should be kept a little underneath and a in front of the hips while being slightly extended.  Lateral and medial bounds are useful for developing amortization skills in all directions.

Because of the number of advantages and benefits of this circuit, it has become the most important part of my general jump circuits. Rudiment hops develop elastic strength in the hip, quad, calf and ankle region.  When injury slows down training, short rudiment work can reprogram the body’s computer for basic jump skills

Coaches with limited facilities can use rudiment as a “Plan B” for specific technical work, increasing the height of the jump and distance of the flight as abilities allow.  Progressions must be done wisely before proceeding to full blown bounding work.

Rudiment hops lay the foundation for specific jump work later in the annual plan.  I over emphasize heel first, flat footed landings throughout each mini jump. 


* Another Coaching Resource:  How to Plan Effective Workouts and Technical Progressions For Your Combo Sprinters/Jumpers


It may take two weeks for your athletes to develop the necessary skills to begin bounding or it could take up to a year.  Be patient, yet demanding of posture, contacts, and rhythm endurance.  Always remember, there is nothing more specific to training the triple jump than triple jumping itself! 


*** Press Play below to watch a video clip of each Rudiment Hops I use:




Reuben Jones is the associate head track coach at Columbia University in New York, NY, as well as the Horizontal Jumps Lead Instructor at the Complete Track and Field Summer Clinic , the largest track and field clinic in the United States.

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