The Prep - Counts 1, 2, 3, and 4
The prep is the beginning of the jump. It is what starts your momentum and helps you leave the ground. A sloppy prep can lead to a sloppy jump so spend time working on your prep. And although there are variations of the prep, the instructions that follow cover one of the most common preps used. Jumps can be divided into either 3 steps or 4, depending on who is instructing. For simplification, we'll use 3 steps (prep, jump and landing) in this example, but knowing that sometimes there are 4 steps (prep, lift, jump and landing) might prove helpful. Keep in mind that all jumps are done to an 8 count. On count 1, your body should be very tight, your legs should be straight, your feet together and your hands should be clasped in front of you. You will hold this position through count 2. On count 3, you should step up on your tip toes and bring your arms into a high "V" position (hands in a fist). Hold this position through count 4.
The Jump - Counts 5 and 6
On count 5, you will bend your knees while using all your strength to swing your arms down in front of you. Your arms should cross each other some where between your elbows and wrists when they reach your mid section or upper thighs. Your body should be a bit forward, but not too much. On count 6, you will propel or spring yourself into the air and hit the arm and leg position of the jump you are doing.
The Landing - Counts 7 and 8
Do not overlook this part of jumping. As with all the other steps, the landing is important. A bad landing can cause you injury. So take the time this step deserves. Practice your landings as you would any other parts of a jump and your efforts will be rewarded with a clean, balanced looking jump. On count 7, you should whip your legs down and land on the balls of your feet; your feet should be together and your knees slightly bent. The bend in your knees is a must as is landing on the balls of your feet. These things are what absorbs the shock of your landing. Your arms should be straight at your side with your fingers straight and facing your body. You should have a slight forward bend in your body to help you balance your landing. You will hold this position for count 8. Then you can straighten up your body and be ready for your next jump.