Ideally you want to loose the least amount of speed possible prior to take off. The way to achieve this is twofold:
First, reduce the amount that the hips drop as much as possible.
Second, having the plant leg land underneath the center of mass by taking advantage of the natural short, quick step that occurs after the longer step.
Wait a second, how are we getting the short, quick step?
See how it’s starting to come together? In the beginning of the article we talked about how dropping the hips with a softer step. This causes the next step/stride to be longer. But we haven’t been talking about the step after that which is the shorter quicker step.
Because if you use the penultimate step to drop the hips you don’t get the short step. This is because you are already at the board and in the air.
Confused? Don’t worry, the video below and next section will bring everything together.
This video breaks down the last 3 steps of the long jump from different angles. It clearly demonstrates the advantages of having a soft 3rd to last step. It also provides a good visual of what the penultimate step should look like.