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Pole Vault Problem Solving
Transcript of Pole Vault Problem Solving
by James Houston
Go for a PR!
Boys and Girls Assistant Coach
Plainfield Central High School
Adjustment 1: Grip
Adjusting your grip height should be done in small increments. I would not adjust more than
at a time, especially for benders. The more of an adjustment you make, the bigger impact or change you'll have on the end result. Who will get hurt? The coach or the athlete?
Make sure you and your athlete are on the same page when it comes to how much you adjust. i.e.-How much is
three fingers up
three fingers down
? Using the same Vocabulary is key.
Adjustment 2: Pole
Stiffer Pole Softer Pole
Adverse Conditions Adjustments
Cross Wind from the left?
Low pole carry, allow wind to help aid you in the plant, carry pole more to the left, start running from left side of the runway.
Cross Wind from the Right?
Low pole carry, carry pole more to the right, early plant. Start running on right side of the runway.
Drop your grip, low pole carry, drop down poles if necessary, relax on your run (Don't try to "run faster" to fight the wind)
Giddyup. :) Make adjustments like normal.
No spikes allowed?
Drop your grip, Drop down poles
Inclimate weather (Too much Wind/Rain)
Drop down poles and vault from a short approach, above all BE SAFE!
Short pole/Low Grip, keep your grips dry, have new tape on hand if possible
Keep your Warm Ups on, Warm up appropriately, Drop your grip, Drop down Poles
Warm up apporpriately, Keep your warm ups on, Hydrate, stay out of the sun (sun block, hood, umbrella)
Runway is too short?
Drop your grip, drop down poles
Late to the meet?
Short pole and start at a low height
The Pole Vault basics that are understood :
(before attempting to "problem solve")
1.Your priorities should be (In this order)
Go after a PR (Personal Record)
2.You must run fast. Faster is better. But you must be able to
maintain control at all times.
You must plant your pole correctly: (1) Early plant, arms pushing up, above your head, while jumping up, (2) driving your drive knee, and swinging a long trail leg.
and close the gap between your feet and your top hand effectively until you (3)"cover the pole". (4)Turn your drive knee-foot over your trail leg-foot. (5)Extend and turn in the same manner but stay as close to the pole as possible and (6)pike over the bar.
3. You must not jump on a pole that is too big (weight and length) for you.
Ultimately it is very unsafe for any vaulter to jump on a pole that is too small or rated below his or her body weight)
4.ALL ADJUSTMENTS ARE FOR RIGHT HANDED VAULTERS. (LEFT HANDED POLE VAULTERS NEED TO MAKE THE OPPOSITE (LEFT/RIGHT) ADJUSTMENT.
The basic "how to's" of Pole Vaulting
Educate yourself. Read books, go on-line, ask other coaches, go to clinics so you can become better at pole vaulting.
Standard Placement 18-24-30
18 Inches = 45 cm Closest to the back of the box
24 inches =60 cm Middle
30 inches =75 cm Farthest away from box
If you are not sure where to start, start at 24inches.
If you hit the bar on the way up, move it back.
If you hit the bar on the way down, move it forward.
If you are all the way back (30 inches), and you hit the bar
on the way up,
you may need to adjust your pole size/grip. (Up a pole or raise grip 2-3 fingers)
If you are all the way up (18 inches), and you hit the bar
on the way down,
you may need to drop your grip 2-3 fingers or go down a pole size
Standards are what the pole vaulting crossbar rests on. These can be adjusted so that the crossbar is closer to the back of the box the pole is planted in, ("up close") or they can move farther away ("buried").
Always check to make sure that "0" is measured
accurately from the TOP of the BACK of the BOX
Advantages of Raising your Grip
Closer to the "sweet" spot of the pole
Can effectively jump "higher"
Pole may be "timed up" better
May be a step closer to getting on/transitioning to the next size (longer/stiffer) pole.
If this is established and utilized correctly/safely, it will allow the vaulter to reach his or her ultimate potential.
Disadvantages of Raising Grip
Over gripping could "smash/squash" the pole
Vaulter may become out of control
Vaulter may not be able to jump up at take off enough to move the pole through the pit safely
Many inexperienced vaulters may "try harder" ultimately running faster, planting harder, pushing the pole, locking out the bottom arm, etc. (More variables=More Problems)
May take the athlete out of the coach's box (safe area to land) when they hit the pit
less is more
Define Adverse Conditions:
Weather: Too Hot, Too Cold, Drizzle, Rain, Snow?
WInd: Head Wind, Left Cross, Right Cross, Tail Wind
Facilities: Walls too close, runway (spikes/no spikes)
Advatages of Dropping your grip:
Better control when running with the pole
allows the pole to roll through the pit safely
not as high up on the pole
athlete can focus on technique
softer poles and lower grips ultimately exploit flaws or weaknesses in the vaulter's technique
Great for Practice: 4 lefts (8 total strides) on a technique (i.e. EZ plant skypole by Pacer)
May be able to take more complete jumps
Easy GO-TO when there is bad weather or adverse conditions.
It's flat out easier to jump on a smaller pole
Disadvantages to Dropping Grip:
Pole speed may increase
Pole may roll through the pit too fast or too easily
may stiffen up the pole (last ditch option if you are out of pole selection and on the biggest pole you own)
Top of the pole= The opposite of the plug (has a label on it)
Bottom of the pole = part that goes in the ground (plug)
Top hand= Hand closest to the top of pole
Bottom hand= Hand closer to the bottom of pole
Pole= the thing made of fiberglass that vaulters jump on
Crossbar=what you jump over
Coach's box= an invisible/visible square on the pit where it is safe for a vaulter to land
1 fist/foot/finger is all relative and based on the size of each individual athlete's fist, finger, foot
Grip up/raise your grip=move grip closer to the top of pole (usually only 2-3 fingers at a time)
Grip down/lower your grip=move grip closer to the bottom of pole (usually 2-3 fingers or a fist at a time)
Grip is primarily based on top hand
Flex= the stiffness rating for each pole. Higher # = softer pole, lower # = stiff. (i.e. A Pacer 13.1 flex is VERY stiff, a Pacer 20.1 is softer)
advance slide to see video
Blow Through- over penetrating, pole is too soft, landing in the back of the pit, or possibly jumping over the top of the pole too quickly to execute a jump
Step- The exact mark of the take off foot at moment of lift off
Make sure pit is legal size
Strap it down and buckle it together
Cover all hard and unyeilding surfaces!
COVER THE STANDARDS!!!
When utilized correctly and
, it will allow the vaulter to ultimately jump higher
More energy return from the pole. (i.e. if you weigh 155lbs and you are jumping on a 170lbs pole, you'll get more bang for your buck)
More push off from your pole
Will not penetrate or "blow through" the pole or the pit
Too stiff of a pole can be very dangerous
May not allow vaulter to penetrate
May miss the coach's box
tougher for many vaulters to move to a stiffer pole
Vaulter may "try too hard"
May land to one side of the pit or the other
Vaulter may not be able to execute perfect technique on a stiffer pole
*It is adventageous for the vaulter to stay on a consistent series of poles. Same manufacturers will have a common transistions between poles (size and length)
* switching poles from one manufacturer to another or one type or series of pole to another will seemingly "mess" with the ideal transition though poles. (i.e. going from a Pacer 155 to a UCS 160 or an Altius 160 may not result in a stiffer pole.)
Also note that going from a Pacer 155 to 160 may not necessarily = +5-10lbs difference. You must check the FLEX numbers to be sure.
+ or - 5lbs is ideal
or 6 inches in length of the same weight/rated pole
Vaulter can safely land into the pit
Must execute perfect technique to jump high
For many vaulters, especially beginners, it is
easier to finish vaults on a softer pole
It's easier to finish vaults on a softer pole
Comfortable for vaulter
Vaulter can get a ton of reps.
Great adjustment to make when having unexpected problems in a vault and an easy fix for most vault related issues: bad day, head wind, sore pinky, cross wind, boyfriend/girlfriend problems, the dreaded "mental case", running through, etc.
Pole speed may increse significantly
Blowing through the pole
Landing too deep out of the back of the coach's box/pit
on the pole, and do not jump up at take off, run the
very REAL risk
of breaking the pole and injuring themselves or others
Hard to finish jumps, and make a PR height for most vaulters on too small of a pole
Easily, the athlete is the hardest variable to control. In fact,
all you can really do as a coach is build trust and educate your athlete(s). Help them become proactive in their vaulting/athletics. Develop mental toughness. Stand up for them and support them. Be honest and be clear when you communicate.
Adjustments during the
Move back (6" for 6")
Move up (6" for 6")
up 1 foot
Flat at take off?
Coming down on Crossbar?
Move it up
Hitting Crossbar on the way in?
Move it back
me to finish your vault
? Raise your grip two fingers
Landing too deep in the pit?
Move to a stiffer pole
Pole too soft?
Move to a stiffer pole (+5lbs/lower flex)
Jumping over the bend?
Move to a longer pole (6 inches)
Flying off to one standard or the other?
Plant through the center of pit. (Check that the pit is not stopping or interfering with the rotation of the bent pole)
Pit is in the way of your pole and no one will fix it?
Drop down poles/Drop your grip
Getting hit (bottom hand in forehead) at takeoff?
Earlier plant/taller plant at take off or drop your grip
Drop your grip or drop down a pole
Landing shallow in the pit?
Earlier plant or drop your grip 3 fingers or drop down a pole or all three
Drop your grip
Drop your grip
Pole is too big?
Drop down poles
Just ran a 3 mile race or threw the shot?
Drop your grip/Drop down poles
Drop down poles
Broken or damaged pole?
DO NOT JUMP ON IT! Drop your grip and drop down poles.
Throwing your head?
DO NOT THROW YOUR HEAD! Instead, look to actively
your top hand as you swing up, then keep your head neutral and look down your pole as you extend and turn.
* You can't expect to make a ton of adjustments during a competition. It usually won't end well. Use practice for practice.
Bubka 6.11 Meters (20 Feet 1/2 Inch)
This is one of the hardest things that vaulters and coaches suffer through. It is a downward spiral. Fix it immediately. It is not as easy as "Just TAKE IT UP!!!" That usually doesn't help.
Prevent it at all costs. Make it a rule that if your vaulter "Runs Through" 2 times in a row, make them adjust. (Smaller grip or smaller pole). Figure out what the root of the problem is and address it. If they run through again, they must STOP.
Tape out, or Draw with chalk, a box on the track and measure their step back. Have them do a set amount of approaches where they run, plant, and jump. Usually 5-10 times is enough.
Once they are consistent, go back to the Pole Vault Runway and try again with an appropriate sized pole. (Usually smaller)
If this is a continious stuggle, have your athlete set a goal (like 250-500 in a week) where they practice with a taped/chalked box or a slide box.
*Dropping your grip is one of the
things you can do if you run into problems in the vault.