High Jump
by: Mandy Olson

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Why do High Jump athletes have to run in order to get over the bar instead of just jumping?

Every day we experience science. Everything we do has science in it. In sports especially there is science: In Basketball when a player is running, friction keeps the athletes feet from sliding out from under them so they can score, Momentum helps carry the ball over the rim and through the net, and projectile motion curves the ball’s path so that it goes into the net instead of hitting the board behind it. High Jump has lots of things in Physics that factor in. Such as Newton’s Third Law of motion, Friction, Acceleration, Speed, Velocity, and Momentum. Without any of these concepts the High Jump would not exist.
Here is some vocabulary to think about!

  • Newtons Third Law of Motion: For every action force there is an equal and opposite reaction force.
- Like when

  • Friction: Force that opposes motion between the surfaces of object moving, or attempting to move, past each other. - Friction also creates heat: Like when you rub your hands together when it is cold out, they seem warmer. That's because the friction between your hands is making heat and that is warming your hands up. There are two different types of Friction. Static Friction and Kinetic Friction. Static Friction opposes motion between two stationary objects. Kinetic Friction opposes motion between two surfaces that are moving past each other. One way to increase friction would be by applying more force.
A few ways to reduce friction would be to:
- add Lubricants. Ex. Motor Oil
- use ball bearings Ex. Skate Wheels
- have a smooth surface Ex. Sandpaper on wood.

  • Acceleration: Change in an objects velocity. (Speeding up, slowing down, or changing direction.)
You use Acceleration many times in your every day life. When you are walking out side and you turn a corner you are accelerating. Even if you remain at your constant walking speed when you turn that corner, you are still accelerating. Or if you are standing still and begin to run or walk, that is accelerating. You are increasing your speed, and when you slow down to a walk or stand still, that is accelerating too.
You can calculate acceleration using this equation:
- Acceleration = (Final Velocity) - (Original Velocity) / Time

  • Speed: How fast an object moves or, The distance traveled by a moving object per unit of time.
- Whether you are walking, jogging, or running you have speed.
- you can figure out the speed of something by using this equation: Speed = distance / time
- speed only gives distance and time.

  • Velocity: The rate of change of position.
- Velocity gives the distance, time, and the direction of travel.

  • Momentum: The product of the objects mass and velocity.
- Every moving object has momentum
- Use this equation to figure out momentum: Momentum = Mass x Velocity.

Newton's Third law of motion: states that “For every action there is an equal and opposite reaction force. When a High Jump runner takes off running to get over the bar their feet are pushing down on the floor. When they push down on the floor; the floor is also pushing up on them propelling them forward. When they jump they push down on the floor, the force that from the floor pushes them up and therefore making them jump upwards. Friction also plays into this idea.

Friction keeps the runner’s feet from slipping off the floor as they run. If there had been no friction between the souls of the runner’s shoes and the floor, the runner would fall.
Also there wouldn't be enough grip to jump over the ball.

Two of the three parts about acceleration, that i explained earlier, play into the high jump. When a High Jump athlete first begins their jump they are not moving. They then increase their speed quickly by running. They are doing what's called speeding up. They also curve their running path as they speed up. This is know as acceleration. Without Acceleration, the High Jump would be very hard to accomplish.

The runner needs speed in order to complete the High Jump. If the runner did not have speed it would be hard to jump over the bar. Standing still and just diving over the bar would not work very well that is why a runner must have speed to help complete the jump.

Here is a High Jump Picture i think you should see. It's pretty cool!

Here is a video of a very good High Jump athlete.
(If you are having trouble viewing this video on this page check the links below. It will direct you to the You-tube video)

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Here is another video of the High Jump. Check it out if you like. I guarantee you'll be amazed. (If you are having trouble viewing this video on this page check the links below. It will direct you to the You-tube video)

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THE ANSWER: The answer to that scientific question on the top is: High Jump runners have to run to gain momentum. The momentum of when they jump up carries them over the bar as they arch their back and lift their legs up. If they were to just stand still and try and jump it would not work very well.

All these concepts are keys to the High Jump. Each of these concepts are a tiny piece of what makes up the High Jump. Without even one of those pieces the High Jump would be no more. Each concept is very important to our everyday life.


Most of the vocabulary is from during class and notes, but here is some links to show you where i got my pictures and videos.
Steve Smith High Jump Picture:

Science Equations:

Videos are from youtube.

Men's High Jump: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lD8J4WNxTZY

Woman's High Jump: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TADJh_DZOfE