What is the Fosbury Flop?

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There are many techniques and improvised versions of old techniques that players employ to achieve a greater clearance. Let us discuss the technique that helped the champion of the 2004 summer Olympics Yelena Slesarenko in winning her title. The technique is named the Fosbury Flop or just the Flop. It involves falling flat on your back after crossing the bar. In comparison to the other jumps, the approach run in this form is shorter and involves only ten strides generally.

The approach is “J” shaped and the shape is to be maintained at take off too. The most important practice that helps a jumper during the flop is visual tracking. While standing at the start, the player should start this tracking by first looking at a point ahead from the bar. Then he should look at the take off point, then on another standard, the next point is the mid point of the bar and finally back at the first point that lies ahead to the bar extended line. It is essential for the player to fix these points in his mind. The first five strides are very crucial in this form. The first stride should be used to achieve a toe angle and a dorsiflexed position. While the second and third strides should be used to gain maximum acceleration. With the fourth stride should come the anticipation of the bar, the eyes should start gauging the distance between the bar’s mid pint and the point ahead of it. The fifth stride should bring with it maximum velocity, the body is to be turned upright slightly inclined towards the bar. This gained velocity is to be maintained throughout the lift off.

Let us come to the curve; this is supposed to begin from between 15 and 16 ? feet from the extended line of the bar. The feet have to be turned in the curve to initiate rotation in the lower body. It is to be ensured that the outside shoulder is not ahead of the hips or the inside shoulder. The turn is controlled by the feet and not the shoulders though it may look otherwise. The ninth stride is the penultimate stride it involves a low heel lift with a fixed ankle landing keeping the foot just a little ahead of the COM. Then, at lift off, it is important to bend the free leg knee and the lift off leg should be fully extended.

The moment this foot leaves the ground, the flight path has been set and cannot be changed. The body then is to rotate over the bar rather than arching over it. The knees are to be separated and just as the shoulders drop after crossing the bar, the hips will begin to rise. After the butt clears the bars, it is important to tuck the chin downward in order to ensure that the legs do not contact the bar and the player lands safe. Whether to tuck it toward the shoulder or right into the chest is a matter of personal choice. One thing to remember is that the take off should be straight upwards and not into the bar.

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