How Do They Jump So Far? Calaveras Frog Jump Secrets Revealed

Want the secrets to winning the $20,000 grand prize for breaking the world record at the Frog Jump? Read on to learn everything we know…

When people hear some of the records set by winners from Calaveras County Fair and Jumping Frog Jubilee competitors over the years they frequently ask one question–“21 feet?? How do they get their frogs to jump so far? Do they train them?” and the answer might surprise you.

1. Calaveras Frog Jump Secrets – Handle the frog as little as possible.

Their human handlers—lovingly known as “frog jockeys”—have a variety of strategies for getting the biggest forward lunging leaps. But one of the biggest secrets lies within what the best frog jockeys don’t do before the big day. They don’t handle their frogs. In fact, the best frog jockeys keep their frogs as wild as possible, preserving their frogs’ powerful instinct of self-preservation, so when they are released at the time of the jump, they are that much more likely to fly.

2. Calaveras Frog Jump Secrets – Keep them at the perfect temperature on Jumping Day.

Research scientists studying frogs were stumped when realizing they could never get their frogs to jump nearly as far in the lab as Calaveras County’s local frog jockeys could. The longest bullfrog jump recorded in a lab was 4.26 inches (11 cm) yet Angels Camp frog jockeys were regularly getting their frogs to jump 6′ or even 7′ (183 – 213 cm) per jump. So these same Brown University researchers, rolled up their sleeves, grabbed their gear and came to Angels Camp, CA to see how frog jumping really gets done. One of the things they discovered that they had been doing all wrong (in addition to handling their frogs far too much) was asking their frogs to jump with cold muscles, on cold metal, in a cold lab. Wrong, wrong, wrong. Just like all world famous athletes, frogs’ muscles need to be kept at the right temperature to be as limber as possible at jump time.

Insider Tip: Choosing what time you get to compete? Aim for a time when the sun’s on the stage to help your amphibious athlete stay warm and limber.

3. Calaveras Frog Jump Secrets – Give them a solid foundation to spring from.

In addition to the right food, temperature, and not too much handling, experienced Calaveras Frog Jockeys know a frog is only as good as its start. At Jump time, when you belly up to the mark, make sure to hold and gently drop your frog onto its mark like the pros do. Watch the video below for a great tutorial from a local in the know.

Posted by Calaveras County Fair & Jumping Frog Jubilee on Thursday, April 26, 2018.

4. Calaveras Frog Jump Secrets – Let’s get one thing straight.

The length of a frog’s “jump” is actually measured from the starting point of its position before its first jump all the way to the ending point of it’s third jump. This means its total “jump” is the combination of three consecutive jumps. However, the catch is, that this distance is measured in a straight line.

Want to get the longest jump possible?

Make sure to position your body so your frog moves continually away from its original starting point, rather than coming back towards where it first began. This means that if your frog jumps in a circle—even if it’s a really big circle—that will count as zero feet.

Watch This: National Geographic takes a slow motion look at what makes a frog really fly, below.

Ready to Jump?

Get all of the information you need on competing in the Frog Jump here. While you’re at it, don’t miss out on all of the other fun things happening at the fair with our top tips of what not to miss at this year’s annual Calaveras County Jumping Frog Jubilee. Happy jumping!

Purchase (discounted) tickets online or view the schedule for the next Calaveras County Fair and Jumping Frog Jubilee here. 

Enjoy this absolutely ribbiting event!