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Sponsored by as mandated by Ohio Pole Vault Safety Clinic 2014

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Presentation on theme: "Sponsored by as mandated by Ohio Pole Vault Safety Clinic 2014"— Presentation transcript:


2 Sponsored by as mandated by

3 Ohio Pole Vault Safety Clinic 2014

4 Goals of the Clinic - to show a systematic progression method of teaching pole vault which develops safe vaulting habits - to acquaint coaches and athletes with the basic theories of pole vault - to make participants aware of the current problems with pole vaulting in Ohio and US - to demonstrate examples of good pole vault drills and techniques

5 Developed by : Marty Dahlman, Track Coach, Watkins Memorial High School BA Denison University, MEd Ashland University Chairman, Ohio Pole Vault Safety Committee OAT-CCC Men’s Pole Vault Coach - Team Ohio, Midwest Meet of Champions (2009, 2010, 2011) ASTM Pole Vault Sub-Committee member Best Vaulters Kyle Burns 15-4Pat Walton 14-6 David Hill 15-3Scott Haden 14-6 Mike Huston 15-0Chris Koon 14-4 Troy Rhoades 14-3 Michelle Robbins 10-9Wayne Ratliff 14-0 Rebecca Ollish 10-6Chris Dennis 14-0 Rachel Arnott 10-6Doug Payne 14-0 Taylor Amrine 10-6Dusty Rhoades 14-0 Austin Jackson 14-0 Cameron Johnson 14-0 Mitchell Novotni 14-0

6 Pole Vault in Ohio The GOOD!!!!! - NO catastrophic accidents in Midwest last year - more participation across the state - particularly in girls competition - great state meet competition in all classes - more consistently SAFE coaching

7 Pole Vault in Ohio The Not So Good changes in pit regulations have cost a lot of money Confusion about future pit and safety rules causing concerns some schools have dropped vault rather than make the changes some coaches/schools are practicing on illegal facilities - risking liability if an accident occurs

8 Pole Vault in Ohio The Bad the memory of prior catastrophic accidents is still fresh - and of great concern some coaches are still in the “bend big - vault high” mode (vaulting on poles rated below the vaulter’s weight), risking injury to vaulters lots of misinformation about pole vault is still “out there” (example: pole vaulting increases the liability insurance that schools pay for athletics. In fact - the insurance schools buys is for all sports coverage. For a six day pole vault camp with full liability coverage, and personal injury insurance for staff and vaulters totaling 100 people - only $350)


10 Pole Vault Physics and Methods

11 Physics and Methods Goal: to store energy in the pole and be in the appropriate position to get it back Goal: PENETRATION into the pit - THEN height over the bar

12 Physics and Methods Pole Run - goals: to have the optimum amount of energy at the plant to set up for a perfect plant to have a repeatable sequence that can be adjusted for conditions Factors in the Pole Run - speed at plant - alignment of body and pole to runway - positioning of body during run to setup plant position


14 Pole Carry Pole Grip set top hand height (depending on vault penetration (see pole selection) top hand faces out (away from body) bottom hand goes elbow length away (plus or minus) bottom hand faces in (towards body) Right Angles top hand goes above hip (hand relaxed) right arm at 90º angle left arm forms two 90º angles - in the armpit and at the elbow pole tip should be above eye level (higher for longer poles) shoulders should be square to the runway perpendicular to the line of travel

15 Terasov: Pole held by top hand Behind and above hip Right arm at right angle Left arm at right angle both at elbow and shoulder Erect Posture - high knees

16 Burns: Right hand behind and above hip Right arm at right angle Left arm and shoulder at right angle Erect Posture - high knees (note slight lean as this is his first step)

17 Pole Run Goals: pole run should be a smooth transition from slow to fast pole run should end at optimum speed for plant pole run should be repeatable and consistent

18 COUNTING!!! consistent run - counting system counting system insures a repeatable rhythm vaulters will start at a 6 or 7 “left” approach - as they improve in skill they may move up to 8 or 9 lefts collegians and world class vaulters may use 10 lefts a seven step approach using three’s would go: 3-2-1, 3-2-1, flat flat (increasing in tempo through the 3’s) an eight step approach using three’s would go: 1, 3-2-1, 3-2-1, flat flat (increasing in tempo through the 3’s)

19 Counting on Runway

20 the “flat flat” is the last right/left - emphasis on a quick step to increase the jumping tempo (penultimate step) note - using 3-2-1’s instead of counting up (1-7) allows additional steps to be added without changing the planting rhythm and count

21 Pole Carry and Drop pole should gradually drop to the plant - higher carry is better run should be tall - knees should be up - body position should be as vertical as possible pole should be held in a relaxed manner - but pole should be steady no forward and back action - a little up and down is OK

22 Austin went to state this year – he wanted a rhythm so We gave him “the clap”!!!!

23 Pole Carry and Run Drills Pole Carry Drills - stubby drills - standing carry, buddy check of angles Pole Run Drills - with stubbies - stubby walks - counting walks - counting - jogs - counting runs - same with poles - pole runs for steps - marking starting position - plant step (midpoint?) - towel plants –“free drop drills (to feel how long the pole takes to free drop to box)

24 THE PLANT The PLANT - (the most important part of the event) the plant is where the energy developed in the run gets stored in the pole the plant is where horizontal energy gets turned into vertical energy the plant is where energy is stored not only in the pole, but in the body random energy stored improperly in the body is a major cause of injury

25 Mechanics of the perfect plant pole is directly overhead (not to either side) pole is mid to slightly behind mid-head right arm is fully extended (“pressed up”) left arm is fully extended (“pressed up” - short pole exception) head - shoulders - hips are all raised (“pressed up”) plant toe is directly under right hand right leg is “stepped out” to 90° - right toe is up chest is driving forward ahead of hips “jump” is like long jump takeoff - approximately 22 degrees



28 Short Pole Exception That’s how the “big” vaulters do it But when your “little” vaulters are learning on a shorter pole – they cannot push their lower arm straight without shoving the pole forward into the box. Therefore – a bent lower arm is needed until the vaulter is on a longer pole!!!!

29 Plant Mechanics

30 How to Plant the Pole The plant begins with the gradual dropping of the pole through the run dropping the pole allows it to “free fall” and therefore not have weight that needs to be carried - pole does not need to be “directed” or “steered”- falls in straight line to box The planting action is initiated on the next to last left (the last “1”) - Initiate the action by raising the right hand into the ribs (from the hip) Then shoot the right hand directly from the ribs to fully extended overhead position (quickly shrugging the shoulder to allow the hand to pass)

31 How to Plant the Pole (2) DO NOT - Push the pole forward or pull it back - raise it directly to vertical Press the left arm vertically up to the pole (not pushing out into the pole or pulling the pole down to the box - let it fall) Raise the hips, chest, shoulders, head as vertically as possible Drive up off of the left foot - drive the right knee up to a 90º angle - right foot out - toe up Left toe should be directly under the right hand at takeoff



34 Drills for Plant - Plant Drills - walking stubby left/right/lefts - standing stubby plants - jogging LRL’s - pole walking LRL, pole running LRL, LRL into wall (or box), –Wall Drillwith Lift(hip drill), Sliding Box Drills (all of the above), one arm plant drills –Pole Run “Free Drops” vaulter runs on track with pole allowing pole to “free drop” from full carry position to ground in order to gauge timing for initiating pole drop answers the question - when do I drop the pole

35 Drive/Swing Phase Drive - the phase of the vault when the vaulter maintains the plant position as they jump up into the pole. Swing - the phase of he vault when the vaulter swings from the drive position to the inverted position

36 Drive/Swing Phase - Lead with the chest (not hips) underneath the bend of the pole - both arms, shoulders, chest, hips all maintain press up - Left leg stays back - push off of toe as long as possible



39 Drive/Swing The Drive phase ends when the pole stops bending towards the pit, and starts swinging to the side For novice vaulters who won’t bend the pole, the drive phase won’t happen. They will swing immediately. As they improve their plant - they will increase the drive phase.

40 Drive/Swing More advanced vaulters will increase their drive phase by pressing back with their jump leg. This will also set up the swing phase. Drive Swing Drills - Grass Drills (keep left leg down and back), Sand Drills, Pit Drills - Rope Drill with collapsed left arm (hold drive position) - short pole stall through, one arm Drills into the pit

41 Sand Drills - on the only warm day in January - work on swinging up (don’t worry about a box - plant in the sand!!!)

42 Swing Up Goal: To swing past the pole before it unbends - allowing the stored energy to go back into the vaulter vertically instead of horizontally - swing left leg (maintain length) past top of pole - drive both arms through to thighs - then left arm flexes at elbow - close off to chest - keep right knee bent through invert - knee “driving” - as inverting - bring pole in-line - and as close to body as possible

43 Close Off/Flex In Take-off leg stays long to top of pole Hands drives through thighs (closing off gap between thighs and pole) Top arm stays long through to thigh Bottom arm flexes in, bending at elbow and bringing back of wrist to chest



46 Pull/push turn - fly away - bar clearance Goal: to maximize bar clearance height shoot vertical from the top of the pole release left hand first then right (finishes turning action) - at peak height - pike at hips - “cup out” over bar - do not throw chest into bar - wait for clearance then “snake” - As pole unbends - allow body to shoot straight up the pole - Begin turning hips to the bar - cross right foot over left - Release left hand first - then right (release pole back - do not “throw”) - Pike as hips peak over bar - cup chest - do not “throw back” head (as chest is thrown out) - wait to “snake” bar - don’t lift head or arms






52 Drills for Bar Clearance “flex and slide” floor drill, underwater vaulting, gymnastic back roll to handstand, stubby bar clearance drill, straight pole bar clearance, trampoline and rope drill to clearance

53 Pole Vault Grip Height and Pole Selection

54 Plant Angle The more acute the angle is from the pole to the pit - the easier it is to get in the pit Therefore - gripping down gets you in the pit - gripping up (on the pole) makes it harder


56 Grip Height (where you hold the pole) - the higher the plant angle - the easier to get enough pole speed to get into pit - the lower the plant angle - the more energy required to get into the pit - grip height is a function of energy - not of height or desire for height

57 Pole Selection - poles are designed to be vaulted by a vaulter of a given maximum weight - with average speed, plant ability and height - poles are designed to be gripped (top hand) between 6” and 18” from top - top of the grip range of one pole is the bottom of the grip range of the next - type of pole used by a vaulter is determined by: - body weight - pit penetration (pole speed v pole bend) - top hand grip location - differences in the “brand” of pole used - difference in barrel size (difference in how fiberglass is wrapped) - difference in location of sail piece - not a difference in “test weight” but in response - a safer way to increase pit penetration - lower grip height!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

58 Pole Selection At the top of the grip ranch (6” down) of a 140 pound pole - the pole will work as a 140 pound pole For each inch below the top grip, add approx. 1 1/2 pounds At the bottom of the grip range (18” down) the pole will act like a 155 pound pole Keep in mind - even though the pole is stiffer, holding down will make the plant angle higher and therefore make it easier to get in the pit!!!


60 Here’s what happens when the pole gets longer (8” or so because the vaulter missed the box

61 Effective Teaching Methods

62 Effective Teaching Methods one arm vaults - push pole on runway - plant overhead (just top hand) - swing up on correct side of pole - land on feet in pit - raise grip height according to penetration - teaches tall plant, planting with step on, staying long under pole - swing long left leg

63 Effective Teaching Methods push vaulting - push pole on runway - holding with both hands but resting top hand on shoulder - plant consists of pushing both hands up into air - execute full vault from plant - teaches plant/vault mechanics without dealing with run issues - teaches correct vaulting technique - and safe vaulting - cannot have a “bad” runway - or a “lip” on the box!!!!!!!! –rule - boxes with “lips” are illegal - with both one arms and push/vaults - start at lower hand grip and Raise grip (one grip at a time) until vaulter starts to land in the middle of the pit (instead of over penetrating) if the vaulter comes up short - lower grip again to improve mechanics

64 Teaching Progression Every year in March - we have the “Middle School” Pole Vault night at Watkins. We get 25 to 35 kids - and we teach them pole vaulting in about 2 hours. At the end of the night - they are jumping and excited about pole vault (and have downed 10 pizzas) Here’s how we do it...

65 Teaching Progression 1. Pole Orientation (using stubbies) - pole grip, pole carry 2. Pole Run (start with walking, then jogging, then running with stubby) 3. Repeat steps one and two with a suitable pole until athlete can consistently accomplish 4. Plant - standing plant action with stubby 5. Walking plant action with stubby emphasizing correct action to correct foot 6. Running Plant - increasing from jog to running plant action with stubby 7. Repeat steps four, five and six with suitable pole until athlete can consistently accomplish

66 Teaching Progression (2) 8. Sand Vault (using long jump pit) (note - make sure there are no obstructions to pushing the pole down the runway) - place a pit section in the long jump pit - using a three to five left approach, athletes should push the pole down the runway, “plant” the pole vertically overhead, into the sand in front of the pit section and jump into the pit on the correct side of the pole (athlete should work for distance - not height) and land on their back on the pit - as the athlete improves technique, athlete can increase swing-up, and can add pull and turn to land on stomach in the pit

67 Teaching Progression (3) 9. Push Vault - using the same technique as the Sand Vault into the box and the pole vault pit - some goals apply 10. Vertical Takeoff - using a pole carry and a three to five left approach, athlete should vault into the side of the pole vault pit, planting the pole up against the bottom of the pit. This teaches athletes to use a pole carry, a vertical takeoff, and can be used to achieve the same goals as the sand vault. 11. One Arm Vault - athlete ‘push” vaults using only the top (right) arm - teaches a high plant angle, vertical takeoff, correct pole placement in box and can continue to be used for drive-swing and swing up drills 12. Full Vault - athlete moves to a five to seven left approach. As the athlete achieves greater depth into the pit, coach can move athlete up the pole one hand grip at a time. If run/plant is a serious problem, athlete can “push” vault, but should eventually working on run/plant timing

68 Drills on the Pit Indoors

69 Equipment And Safety

70 Pole Vault - Equipment Safety Goal - To vault in a safe environment Pit Location - is it in a “high traffic” area - where accidents, equipment, and people are likely to interfere - is it in a easily supervised area - where a coach with multiple responsibilities can observe practice -is it in an appropriate place for prevailing winds

71 Equipment Safety Box Condition - is the box legal (105º) or 90º - and has it been set properly (leveled) - is the box anchored and is it intact - and is there a lip on the box - is the box padded


73 Equipment Safety Size of Pit - new rules - 20’2” length - 19’8” width. 16’6 wide in front of the standards 16’5” depth behind the box - is the pit covered with a common cover - are there insets for the standards (if not it cannot be legal)

74 The Box Collar Controversy (2014) The National High School Federation has added a new rule for 2014-15 the “box collar” must meet ASTM standards The question is – what are ASTM standards At the moment – the standards are set to equal this box collar:

75 The Gill Safety-Max Collar

76 Box Collar Controversy However – the ASTM pole vault sub- committee is debating withdrawing the ASTM recommendation for box collar, or re-writing it. Before you spend $600 on a collar – see what will be the FINAL word!!!


78 Equipment Safety Standard Settings - by rule- standards are now from 18” to 31.5” (45 to 80 cm) (new since 2013)

79 Equipment Safety Standards must be anchored and padded (no Exposed hard Surfaces)

80 Equipment Safety Pit Inspection - are their holes in the pit - areas where vaulters will “go through” - is the foam intact and will the cover allow for a vaulter to walk/run on it - are all hardened areas around the pit covered - are all dangers removed from the pit (pallets, cinder blocks, hurdles)


82 Equipment Safety It’s a nice pit - but There’s asphalt all Around where the Vaulter might “abort” And land. That needs To be padded


84 Bad Pit – Vaulted at Districts!!

85 Equipment Safety Runway Environment - is the runway intact (no holes) and appropriately marked - are marks placed on the runway safe from being moved/removed - are there likely to be people walking/running across the runway - is the runway secured in such a way as to make it safe

86 Equipment Safety Vaulter attitude - are vaulters prepared to make safe vaults through: - appropriate training - attitude toward consistency and safety - no kamikaze vaulters - are vaulters willing to accept coaching and make appropriate changes during competition - are vaulters using appropriate and legal poles

87 Equipment Safety pole conditions - have poles been inspected for legality and safety - are pole clearly marked to avoid confusion - have poles been checked for cracks and bruises - are butt plugs in acceptable condition - are poles stored in such a way as to avoid scratches and crushes - are poles kept dry and secure at meet - are vaulters gripping poles in a safe manner

88 Equipment Safety Helmets????? New Box Collars??? Soft Boxes??? Landing Zone Rules??

89 Equipment Safety Lots of ways to try to get kids to “land in the big blue thing” (the first rule of “Watkins Pole Vaulters”) Problem – will the added expense cause Schools to simply stop vaulting? In the end the biggest safety factor is:


91 YOU THE COACH - the attitude you set for your athletes - your willingness to commit to safety - your supervision of your kids - your knowledge of safe vault coaching - your enthusiasm for »DOING IT RIGHT!!!!

92 Rules And Problem Solving

93 Rules VI. Pole Vault Competition Rules Note - this is not intended as a “complete” Pole Vault rule discussion. For further rule clarification and detail, please go to and view the Pole Vault Officiating Presentation. A. The Pole must be rated at a weight greater than the vaulter must be legally marked may have taped handholds - but those may have only two layers of tape - and no ridges handholds may NOT cover the “top grip” label B. The Standards may be set between 18” inches behind the “zero” mark (back/top of the box) to 31 1/2” inches behind the “zero” mark (NEW RULE 2013 FOR HIGH SCHOOL)

94 Rules C. The Vaulter Must be “legally” attired Must initiate (start running down the runway) within 1:00 (new in 2014) of being called May not regrip the top hand upwards after leaving the ground (but can move it down or move the lower hand up - but the lower hand may not go above the upper hand - climbing) Can abort an approach run and try again (even if both feet leave the ground). under current rules - once the vaulter leaves the ground in an attempt to clear the bar - it IS an attempt May clear the bar and land in the pit in any manner - as long as they do not touch the bar with their hand(s) in an attempt to steady it Must attempt to release the pole in a manner to not hit the crossbar. If it DOES knock the crossbar off - it is the officials determination if the pole was properly released.

95 Problem Solving - Standards goal: to increase safety by solving problems in vault standards - vault deep ALL THE TIME - gets vaulters in the habit of penetrating - thinking in terms of storing energy - not simply “going up” - gives room for error in case of poor plant - use of bungee - gives vaulter a sense of penetration as well as height - in competition standard settings are still the same 18 -31 1/2 ” - if a vaulter is practicing at 24” to 30” - then competes at 18” there is something wrong - check position of left arm at plant (probably collapsing), or - look to plant step (probably under), or - look to chest drive at plant - leading with hips - check “hip drill” to see what happens

96 Problem Solving - Pole Run problems with pole run - not maintaining speed to plant - Running Mechanics - Pole Carry Mechanics(is pole behind hip) - is athlete running with high knees and erect body posture - is pole approaching in a straight line (not angled to box) - is all pole motion during run “in line” (not side to side) - is pole dropping too soon -- too late - is vaulter slowing down to plant (move back) - is vaulter counting steps (maintaining consistent run)

97 Problem Solving - Pole Run(2) - not getting in position to effectively plant - inconsistency in plant step (midpoint) - is vaulter “counting” steps - is vaulter using and adjusting to a midpoint - is vaulter changing rhythm in competition - is vaulter changing pole carry - is vaulter injured or otherwise impaired (tired)


99 Problem Solving - Plant inability to vault “straight” - vaulting straight is a plant action problem - it is not controllable by attempting to control “where you jump from” - athletes are off-angle in their plant foot because of the mechanics of their pole carry and planting action - fix the pole carry and plant to fix the off-angle attack

100 Problem Solving - Plant (2) ineffective planting action - erratic forces in plant action - plant is too early (vaulter loses speed, also forces plant to be horizontal rather than vertical) - plant is too late (vaulter slows to put plant up, plant is not complete prior to takeoff, vaulter tries to “muscle” pole, completes press after leaving ground forcing action down instead of up) - Plant is “Roundhoused” (vaulter steps to side on jump step) vaulter jumps from right to left instead of in straight line -Plant is brought down across body instead of in a straight line -- pole carry is not in line with run - left to right rotation of pole creates a right to left rotation of body - plant is on the left side of the runway or vaulter compensates - crosses last step over to right side of runway

101 Problem Solving - Plant (3) pushing instead of pressing - failure to press - loss of energy - loss of vertical inches creating more acute angle at plant - fails to store maximum energy - shoulders and elbows absorb energy - pushing - put body “behind” the plant - will create a lot of bend - but will leave vaulter short at top of vault - vaulter looks great through plant - but unable to rotate to vertical or close off - tends to block with left arm - body rotates through left hand and shoulder instead of right hand - creates horizontal energy - but not vertical energy - stores energy low in the pole - pole “unbends” early


103 Problem Solving - Plant (4) failure to convert horizontal to vertical energy - check other plant issues first - check “attack” angle of vaulter (as measured from chest angle to horizontal) - check step - if vaulter is “out” it will create a “push plant” listen to plant - a “pushed” plant sounds like a “stick” - a pressed plant slides in the box to the back

104 Pole Selection grip height determination (assuming on a legal pole) - grip height is determined by penetration - if the vaulter is penetrating - grip height can be raised - raise no more than one grip (hand grip width) at a time - if the vaulter then over-penetrates (lands too deep) - go to a stiffer pole (match or lower grip depending on how much stiffer) - if the vaulter starts to come up short - lower grip height - check plant mechanics - grip (top hand position) between 6” and 18” from top of pole

105 Coaching Zone use of “coaching zone” in pit (see diagram) - Coaching Zone can determine - depth of plant (energy storage) - erratic forces in plant (off line plants) - when to make changes in pole selection - other problems


107 Questions????? The author would like to acknowledge the following for the participation (knowing and unknowing) in this presentation: Greg Fraunfelter – Past President, OAT-CCC The OAT-CCC Executive Committee Mark Hannay, Former Chairman, USATF Northeast Pole Vault Development Committee Great Videos from Alan Roark - Coach, Amherst Steele High School for Equipment Pictures Rob Wahl – Coach, Altoona Area High School for ideas and rules suggestions!! and the following Watkins Memorial High School vaulters (who often only see their mistakes in these presentations!!!!!) Kyle Burns - (vaulted at the Ohio State University – now a Chicago Police Officer) Austin Jackson – (forner Coach at Athens High School now is West Viriginia) Scott Thomas - (now on the rodeo circuit) Zach Novotni - (vaulted in college now finishing nursing school) Michelle Robbins - (now in college and helping coach at Watkins)



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