The objective of the takeoff is to create a vertical impulse through the athletes center of gravity while maintaining balance and control.
This phase is one of the most technical parts of the high jump. Jumpers must be conscious to place the foot flat on the ground, because jumping off either the heels or the toes negatively affects the jump. Taking off from the board heel first has a braking effect, which decreases velocity and strains the joints. Jumping off the toes decreases stability, putting the leg at risk of buckling or collapsing from underneath the jumper. While concentrating on foot placement, the athlete must also work to maintain proper body position, keeping the torso upright and moving the hips forward and up to achieve the maximum distance from board contact to foot release.
There are four main styles of takeoff the kick style, double arm style, sprint takeoff, and the power sprint or bounding takeoff.