Maybe this is just a Southern thing. But if so, it is a VERY common Southern thing!
Especially at high school track facilities, the high jump area is shaped like a capital D. Make a big capital D and fill it in with Rekortan, and you have your typical high jump area -- at least in these parts.
Problem is, they put the landing mat at the wrong part of the "D." They don't put it on the curved part of the D, but along the straight part of the D. Why do they do this? If it were at the curve part of the D, there would be plenty of surfaced approach area. But for some reason, around here, they put it along the straight part of the D, wasting all that expensive rubberized surface.
You would think that one track coach around here would notice this and correct this situation, but they don't.
I've long held views on this matter. One of the drawbacks of watching major competitions is the fact that, among the other field events, the high jump cannot be satisfactorily watched since the area is populated by so many judges, cameras, indicators, and general layabouts that it is no longer a spectator-friendly event. In Paris I had a seat near the start/finish line and all I could see of the event was the start of some approach runs and the athlete landing on the bed. I know that I could watch it on the screens but I could do that at home. At least I could if the broadcasters showed it instead of concentrating on a bunch africans running round and round in seemingly endless circles.
>Paris I had a seat near the start/finish
>and all I could see of the event was the
>of some approach runs and the athlete
We were very close
>then!!!! Now I know that the most expensive
>tickets are not always the best!
My HJ final seats were at the apex of the curve, 3 rows up. Great for the runs. Couldnt see jackshit for women's HJ final with all the gawkers and fakers standing around all with umberellas. it is as tho the iaaf forgot that the customer is the one what bought tickets. Not officials, not press, not greenskeepers (true the french carried the administrivia and logisitics of running a track meet to new heights with the synchronized hurdle retrieval procedure) there were just too many people on the track!
There actually is some logic to the pit on the straight side of the D: equal access to the take-off. No matter where you start your approach, you have the same amount of apron to run on. That is NOT true on the straight side of the D. People who approach most directly have less apron to work with, and I've seen that become a real problem - starting your approach on grass and that transitioning to apron is a disadvantage. If you start from a more laterally displaced spot, you have all apron to work with. I agree with your rationale, but this is why many people set it up this way.
>officials, not press, not greenskeepers (true the
>french carried the administrivia and logisitics
>of running a track meet to new heights with the
>synchronized hurdle retrieval procedure) there
>were just too many people on the track!
I didn't see on TV how the French did it, but Edmonton 2001 had synchronized hurdle crews. Apparently something they came up with on their own for that little bit of extra entertainment. Of course they weren't performing during the actual races.
The real issue is how much room to give. We've all seen meets where part of an athlete's run up is on the track. I think Sotomayor had a long run up and was always off the apron to begin with. (Someday someone is going to explain to me why so many jumpers have those plyometric bounds in their run up - does that help or is is just show?)
The next time your viewing the High Jump and the pit seems to be located in the wrong place for the most effective use of space, check to see which direction the wind is blowing. No doubt you'll find it at their backs.
I don't understand tafnut's logic... seems to me that putting the pit at the curved side of the D-shape provides way more equal access for running space for all jumpers than vice-versa. Now that straddle jumpers are extinct the shape of approach runs is more uniform than in olden times. Current problems are:
1) Meets where two pits are being used simultaneously (as at Palo Alto in June)and some jumpers have runs that overlap into the other area
2) Jumpers with absurdly long approaches who need to stand on the track or other event areas. I used to high jump but I never understood people who ran very long approaches. If you accelerate efficiently you only need 9 or 10 steps to generate all the speed you can handle and the long approach, especially on a huge featureless apron, offers a lot more opportunity for error and mis-steps. Especially if the jumper throws in a couple of big leaps into the run up.
Tafnut says... "There actually is some logic to the pit on the straight side of the D: equal access to the take-off. No matter where you start your approach, you have the same amount of apron to run on. That is NOT true on the straight side of the D."
I think Tafnut has a typo and means to say on curved side of the apron in the first instance. The opposite (placing the pit on the straight side) does not correlate to having equal approach space for everyone.
>Tafnut says... "There actually is some logic to
>the pit on the straight side of the D: equal
>access to the take-off. No matter where you start
>your approach, you have the same amount of apron
>to run on. That is NOT true on the straight side
>of the D."
I think Tafnut has a typo and
>means to say on curved side of the apron in the
>first instance. The opposite (placing the pit on
>the straight side) does not correlate to having
>equal approach space for everyone.
Actually, it would correlate to having an equal approach space for everyone, given that it would be at the center of a semi-circle. No matter which direction of approach, everyone has the radius of the circle in available distance.
Placing the pit in the middle of the curve would result in a shorter available distance for those approaching head on (perpindicular) versus those approaching from an angle.
The typo is in the last sentence, which should probably read "That is NOT true on the CURVED side of the D."
Asterisk... being in the center of a semi-circle would maximize and equalize approaches IF jumpers ran straight at the bar. But, given the reality that virtually all jumpers flop and use a J-shaped run up, then having the pit on the curved end makes more sense. Jumpers run straight but off center in relation to the pit, then cross-step into an arc that brings them parallel to the bar at take off. If a jumper carves a wide arc and has a long run up then he/she finds the start of the run outside the semi-circle and on the track. Jumpers with a tighter arc on their J-approach find that they have more space for the first part of their run within the semi-circle. Basically, the shape of the run ups matches the shape of the apron if the pit is at the curved end, while placing the pit on the straight end does not.
I certainly didn't count how many jumpers at the WC started their runup on the track, but I'm confident in saying it was "most," and also that "many" started their runup at least 50% of the way across the track. As somebody noted higher up, if you put the pit up against the track, you're then mandating that most people start their runup on the grass of the infield. This is a change in surface that nobody wants to deal with.
"given the reality that virtually all jumpers flop and use a J-shaped run up, then having the pit on the curved end makes more sense. Jumpers run straight but off center in relation to the pit, then cross-step into an arc that brings them parallel to the bar at take off."
Perhaps my syntax was askew - putting the pit on the straight side of the D is the ONLY way to be strictly fair, because no matter where your approach is, you have equal apron to work with.
While 'everyone' does run the J now, the radius of the arc is very short in some cases, putting them in the grass to start with (if the pit is at mid-curve of a D-apron). Plus VERY few jumpers run parallel to the bar (as in post above). They takeoff with closer to a 20-30 degree angle off the bar, aiming their CG at the back corner of the pit in running momentum.
I actually agree with the first post overall because the realities of the approach are such that we don't need 'equality' because most approaches fit within such parameters as to make the pit on the D-curve a very good option. BUT if some jumper is put at a disadvantage because he/she doesn't have equal 'access' to the pit, that will be a big problem.
Here's another pragmatic consideration. If you have the pit against the straight edge of the D, you only have to have the first couple of feet of pit on the synthetic. Put it against the curve and the whole pit then eats up part of the D. But that's not all. You also have to leave a safety zone at back so people can exit the pit and not bump into runners on the fly. And then there's the matter of seating the judges and indicators, etc., to the side(s) of the pit so they're not in anybody's way, and you've got to come out a bit more, because the curve is likely impinging on that capability. Think you'd find curve-side pits would seriously compromise the already-short amount of approach area.
Having said that, I seem to recall that BYU's pit, where the '82 NCAA was one of the great men's HJs in collegiate history, had the pit on the curve. On the other hand, don't recall that the infield was designed to double up as a soccer pitch, so that probably explans why they had several acres of synthetic approach.
Higher in the thread, somebody mentioned Stanford. It is interesting to note that the high jump(s) there are usually contested along the long axis of the D. Wonder what layout constraint there is that keeps other facilities from doing it that way? (And the HJ people are virtually always sharing the D with a vault runway, so it's not as if they have it alone.
The real solution here is to put the pit at the edge of the field (adjacent to the track) at mid-field directly in front of the grandstand, pave over all that infield grass and send the throwers off to some soccer field, thus making lots of room for all high jumpers and putting them into the center of attention as they deserve to be.
You seem to be forgetting that most of the throwers have lethal weapons in their hands. Not to mention that they're a little beefier than the jumpers. Where does the shot putters compete? Wherever they want to.
You are right, taf! I vividly remember being flaked out between jumps on the infield at Fresno when a my high jump mate pointed out rather urgently that we needed to move. I turned to see Randy Matson standing about five feet away throwing his shot straight up into the air as high as he could (pretty damn high) and catching it with the same hand... Yikes!!! We decided it was way better to just cede the area than to ask him to cut it out because he was scaring us!
I'm sure that as time goes by this is becoming a bit of a story that grows in the telling, because I can no longer actually dredge up a mental picture of it, just recall that they did it, but I know that two guys on my team in college (both NCAA scorers) used to play catch with the javelin from about 100ft apart. (I wanted to say 150, so I feel fairly safe saying 100!)
Needless to say, the coaching staff wasn't too impressed!
I used to high jump. Only in America did I ever compete with the pit on the curved side of the "D". I hated it. Not only did one have to face the challenge of running on grass then transfering to synthetic, but you also had to face the problem of not being able to see the bar optimally because it was in front of the crowd. Yes, standing on the track and having to judge when to start the approach between races was not the best but because that is the norm it wasn't really a problem; part of the skill in competing.
I think people on this thread are talking about two different types of Ds. One is the high school version, where the D is an "island" surrounded by grass. The other D is at a world class-type track where high jump area meets the track and the curve of the D actually inside lane 1 of the track. tafnut, are you picking up on this, too?
Yeah, I got that too. You meant the island type and that was what I first responded to. The D that's fitted into the track's curve is how many big venues have it, which is why the pit has to be on the flat side in that case. Oh well, interesting discussion anyway.