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Exerc Sport Sci Rev. 1986;14:401-46.

The biomechanics of the long jump.


The preceding review has been based on over 200 publications in Czech, English, French, German, Japanese, Polish, and Russian. Even a cursory perusal of these materials is sufficient to show that much has been done to try and obtain a scientific understanding of long jump techniques. It is clear, too, that still more remains to be done. Much of the work to date has been focused on just a few aspects of long jump technique. Other important aspects have received relatively little attention. The latter include the accuracy of the approach, the techniques used during the final strides of the approach, the role of elastic energy in the takeoff, the initiation and control of the jumper's angular momentum, and the techniques used in the landing. Future research efforts might well be directed towards resolving major issues concerning these aspects of long jump technique. The methods used to gather data in the studies reviewed have been rather unimaginative. Two-dimensional cinematography has been used in the vast majority of the studies and force platforms in a few. Other data-gathering procedures like three-dimensional cinematography, electromyography and accelerometry have rarely, if ever, been used. In only one or two studies was anything remotely approaching experimental or technological innovation in evidence. The methods used to analyze data have also been very limited. With the notable exception of a study by Ballreich, few papers have involved anything more sophisticated than means, standard deviations, correlation coefficients and an occasional multiple regression equation. Given these facts, it is hard to avoid the conclusion that our knowledge of long jump techniques might be greatly improved if the full range of available and appropriate procedures were turned to the purpose. Finally, no review of the literature on long jump techniques would be complete without reference to the level of scholarship displayed in the works under consideration. With only a few exceptions, the level shown in the scientific papers reviewed here left much to be desired. Time and again, variables were not defined, crucial measurement techniques were not described and major results were not presented or discussed. In addition, much of the data presented in tables and graphs were patently in error. In light of all this, it is clear that unless the level of scholarship improves, future progress in this area of sports biomechanics is likely to be very slow.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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