09-22-2008 16:49

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When Zhou Zhongge took his place as the coach of the national high jump team, the first thing he had to do was choose a team of excellent high jumpers. It was at that time that Zhang Shufeng of Heilongjiang province joined to his team.

The gravity center of the taller high jumpers is high, which they can take the advantage during a jump. Zhang Shufeng was worried that he was physically unsuitable for the sport.

Coach Zhou Zhongge valued the rare explosive force he possessed, while realizing his height was indeed an issue.

After a great deal of time, Zhou Zhongge came up with a highly complex training plan for Zhang Shufeng that would last three years.

Zhang Shufeng felt that he couldn’t adapt to Zhou Zhongge’s training methods. Previously, he could jump 2.20 meters, but now it seemed like his achievements had tapered off.

Despite Zhang Shufeng’s disappointment, Zhou Zhongge still prodded him to practice with a lower center of gravity. Zhang was even more confused now and was struggling to understand the logic behind the training.

Zhang Shufeng felt that what he had learned at sports school before had dwindled away into nothing.

Coach Zhou Zhongge realized the emotional challenge this was for Zhang Shufeng. To help him understand the logic behind his training, he continuously exchanged ideas with Zhang. He taught him the theoretical basis of his strategy.

Zhang Shufeng’s running approach speed gradually increased. It was at that time that Coach Zhou decided it was time to correct his center of gravity.

People’s center of gravity lies in his hip joint. Adjusting the center of gravity is crucial for high jumpers to cross the bar. To overcome the issues relating to center of gravity and jump higher, people have tried many postures in high jumping.

The English high jumper, Meciar jumped 1.67 meters in 1864, which was the record of that time. No one at that time could imagine that one day people would be able to exceed two meters.

The various styles adopted by high jumpers, such as the leaping jump, the rolling jump, the scissors jump and the straddle jump all put the center of gravity of the body over the bar when crossing the bar. In 1965, the American high jumper, Fosbury adopted the Fosbury flop to finish two meters easily. In 1993, Cuban high jumper, Javier Sotomayor also adopted this method to finish an astounding 2.45 meters.

When the high jumper adopted the Fosbury flop to cross the bar, his body will form an arch, which is obviously different from other styles.

That is to say, under similar conditions, the high jumpers adopting the Fosbury flop can jump higher. Zhang Shufeng also adopted this method but he couldn’t figure out why he had to bend his gravity center back as well as make his hip joint the key support for his body before taking off. Should he not simply be trying to jump up as high as possible all the time?

The training process was boring and there was no improvement in his high jumping. Zhang Shufeng began to doubt he had chosen the right coach.

Zhou Zhongge tried every means to encourage him and help him understand the mechanical principles behind this technique.

The supporting movement can help the high jumper transform his speed gained from the run-up into an upward force.

Zhang Shufeng became more active after applying the scientific training. He trusted his coach more than ever and they quickly became close friends.

Zhang Shufeng kept his average high jump achievement above 2.25 meters in 2005. It was then that Coach Zhou challenged him to do 2.30 meters in the coming National Athletics Championships. To achieve this, he decided to increase Zhang’s exercise of a very special muscle vital to high jumping. Doing this, his supporting movements became more powerful.

Then they began to aim for 2.30 meters.

To ensure that Zhang Shufeng was in a good state before the match, coach Zhou took good care of him.

On August 7, 2007, Zhang Shufeng finally stood in front of the jumping bar at a height of 2.30 meters at the National Athletics Championships.