The long jump and not being the underdog

A few weeks ago, in PE class, my younger son did his first ever long jump. After he’d jumped, the teacher stopped the class and asked them what mark they would give my son out of 10.

A few of them said 10. Then the teacher said he agreed – citing my son’s perfect run-up, his precisely timed take-off, the way he landed with both feet together and his weight forward. It was a perfect long jump and a not-at-all shoddy distance of 4 metres 18.

I suspect there was a hefty dose of beginner’s luck involved, but after that my son was determined to do well at long jump. He took everything the teacher said on board – he knew how to do a good long jump in theory, now he just needed to get it right every time. He started practising long jump at lunchtimes. He knew he needed exactly 13 strides, and the precise length of those strides, to get it right.

All credit to the school – they let kids practise athletics at lunchtime without having to ask for permission or supervision. He was able to help himself to the rake and make sure the pit was properly raked before and after his jumps.

His distances didn’t improve with all the practise, but his jumps were no longer beginner’s luck, he was getting them right every time.

After all his practise, he was very pleased to represent the school in a district athletics tournament for years 7 and 8. The school had won the tournament for the last 15 years, so he really hoped they would hold onto the trophy.

Parents weren’t able to go along to the tournament, but when I picked him up afterwards (in some of the worst rain I’d ever seen), he was buzzing. He’d come second out of about 20 kids, with a jump of 4 metres 20, just 1cm short of his personal best. So that’s second out of the best kids in the area.

He wasn’t sure if the school had actually won the tournament at that stage – the biblical rain had meant it had to be stopped early and the last few events would have to be completed on a later date – but he knew that they had won or come second in a lot of the events and it looked very likely they would be holding onto that trophy.

At his old school, sport had been pretty much about ‘don’t lose too badly’, so this was a really pleasant change for him.

‘It’s great not being the underdog, it’s great being the top dog!’

Author: Sarah Mummy

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  1. Ahh! Well done your boy. It sounds like he has really taken to it.
    My eldest did the long jump for the first time this week….She didn’t do too well. She isn’t a sporty person. lol

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    • Bless her! My boy is pretty sporty and is pleased to have found something he likes and is good at. He’s a good runner, but not quite good enough to represent the school, so this is perfect for him!

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  2. Ah that’s so good, how fab to find a sport that he is naturally good at, and I’m sure that with more practice his distances will improve too.

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    • Thanks very much, I think so! As long as he can stop himself from hurting his achilles, which is another story… x

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  3. While having fun and doing your best is good, being the top-dog is not so bad either, isn’t it? So pleased for your son 🙂 #loudnproud.

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    • Thanks very much! It’s great to be the top dog sometimes 🙂

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    • Thanks very much! I was OK at it, but certainly not good enough to represent the school!

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  4. oh well done to him, and sport is really competitive around here so I can imagine just how impressive his long jump is.

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    • Thanks very much! I didn’t really know what distance constituted a good jump, but it seems he’s got it right!

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  5. That’s fantastic! It’s hard to tell now from my less than svelte physique, but I was a sprinter and long jumper at school too and 4m 20ish is fantastic for that age. Unquestionably something to be proud of.

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    • Thanks very much! I didn’t really know what was a good distance, so that’s really good to hear 🙂

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  6. That’s fabulous – a huge well done to your son on coming second and hope the school holds on to the trophy. I love how the kids are able to practice athletics at lunchtime and how much encouragement there is for them to succeed. It must be a wonderful feeling not being the underdog anymore. Thanks for hosting #loudnproud and so sorry for taking so long to read and comment this week!

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    • Thanks very much, he’s loving not being the underdog! They managed to keep their trophy without doing the last few events, so that was really good news.

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  7. Wow I doubt I could jump that far. It’s good that the school let you practice in your own time too. I hope they held on to the trophy.

    Thanks for linking up with Small Steps Amazing Achievements :0)

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    • Thanks very much! They did hold on to the trophy as they’d got sufficient points without doing the last few events 🙂
      I definitely couldn’t jump that far!

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  8. Sounds like it’s a good sport for him. And that’s an almighty jump – I remember my PB only being about 3m 60 and I was quite good at it apart from the really tall girl in the class and my best friend who was county level. It must be nice when the school gets the mix right about competition vs fun. I think a lot of schools do kids a disservice now when the competition element gets removed.

    Thanks for linking up #schooldays

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    • Thanks very much! He’s loving being in a school that takes sport seriously and that actually does well. I was surprised when he told me how much less the girls jumped than the boys as there’s not much physical difference between them at age 12.

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