Jabari Butler continues to build toward Syracuse record in high jump by improving speed and strength


first_imgAs a high jumper, Jabari Butler is used to having the bar raised. Now, the junior is raising it on himself.“My goal for the end of the outdoor season is to get the school record,” he said.Butler came into the outdoor track season looking to break the 7-foot mark. But after coming close on multiple occasions — he reached 6 feet, 11 inches — during his indoor campaign, he instead decided to affix his eyes on the 7-foot-2 mark that has remained untouched at Syracuse since 1986. By mastering his approach through sprinting drills, focusing on his jumping technique and watching his diet and sleep habits, Butler is hoping to etch his name into Syracuse’s history books.AdvertisementThis is placeholder text“(High jump) consists mainly of a good approach,” he said. “So with that approach, you have to have good acceleration.”Butler emphasized the importance of increasing his explosiveness, something he practices by running with the sprinters.Improving the quick step necessary to launch himself off the ground consists of resistance training, Butler said.Sometimes, he practices running while pulling tires. Other times, he runs 20-yard sprints with a sled tied around his waist — back and forth, back and forth — polishing his technique with consistent repetition. Such drills force Butler to acclimate to being weighed down. When the tire or sled is taken off his back, jumping feels seamless and sprinting much more fluid. “When we do regular sprints there’s a big difference because there is nothing holding us back,” Butler said. “I think that helps me get faster… compared to last year, I’ve gotten a lot faster.”Pascal Bastien, a triple jumper and a long jumper, said they practice running just as much, if not more, than jumping itself.“The really good jumpers,” Bastien said, “they’re really fast.”But for Butler, who’s hoping to break a 29-year-old record, simply being a good jumper isn’t good enough.Going into each day, Butler said he sets small personal goals for himself.He listens to music from the 90s before each meet to help him get into the zone. Once a sense of focus has been established, Butler reviews his jumping technique in his head, mulling over his form and approach to make sure he’s as prepared as possible. “High jump is a very technical event,” Butler said. “So you have to think about little things that can affect your jumping when you’re actually doing it.”Assistant coach Dave Hegland has liked what he’s seen from his ambitious high jumper in practice. Hegland said Butler has gotten both stronger and faster. Whether throwing, jumping or lifting, Butler continues to impress with his proclivity to improve. “I think he’s just kind of holistically a much better athlete,” Hegland said. “And that’s showing up in his jumping.”Butler’s knack to out-do himself and his consistent progression resulted in his most productive indoor season to date. Now, Butler is hoping to outshine himself one more time.“Just making sure I stay on top of things,” Butler said. “I go into each meet, try to stay as technically sound and just maintain those good things in my head.” Comments Facebook Twitter Google+ Published on April 6, 2015 at 10:43 pm Contact Matt: [email protected]last_img

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