Pole Vault Combine

News about Elite US pole vaulters and elite competitions that occur on US soil.

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ADTF Academy
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Re: Pole Vault Combine

Unread postby ADTF Academy » Mon Jan 06, 2014 10:52 am

Altius.... That may have well been one of the best posts you have ever made. I sure hope a great majority of people can understand the message in the post.


It is one of the intangibles. The great ones have and sadly can lose it just as fast. Case in point an athlete you mentioned Steve Hooker.


Velocity is a very very important part of the equation. The real challenge is does the athlete 100% trust their ability to execute with said velocity.

Posture and the ability to utilize said velocity at the moment of impact has a much greater impact on the success of the vaulter than velocity alone.


I will have to confirm this data, but Jeremy Scott jumped 5.65 at the US Olympic Trials in 2012. I believe it was with around 8.5 m/s velocity. Comparing velocity to height it was the most efficient vaults in the history of data collection by Peter McGinnis. However, the fact he was able to grip on 5.20 poles from such a slow velocity runup to me shows velocity with posture and maximal grip while still rotating past vertical will dictate the height the athlete can achieve.

Many times athletes carry velocity into the pit, but posture and their mental ability to handle said velocity at impact is impaired. At this moment velocity is not a helpful characteristic it can be a hindrance till the athlete can learn to handle and control the higher velocities.

The ultimate mental challenge I have seen as a coach of all levels is the following and it was summed up very well in Altius's post.


Long Jumper:
Coach, "Athlete just run 8 lefts and pop off the ground." Athlete, "But coach there is a wood board there everyone keeps saying I have to hit it." Coach, "Don't worry about the board I'll adjust you to hit it. If you're in the correct position to pop off the ground you will jump further we will just adjust you to hit the board over time." Athlete, "Ok coach (as they walk away thinking I must hit the board and reach again on next attempt)." The good long jumpers just execute their takeoff mechanics and let the board come to them. The lesser jumpers will reach for the board and scratch or slow down.


This little example is only increased when you think of it as Oh My Gosh I have to hit a box in the ground with this long pole.... Coach said I must be outside 12' takeoff and worry sets in. Reality is you can be on average 6" on either side of the sweet spot and still be ok as long as your posture and takeoff mechanics are solid. 1' on either side and the athlete will still be able at least leave the ground safely and bail the jump.

In training sessions all coaches do pull runs and sliding box. I'll guess the athlete hits the same spot over and over and over again yet you put them on the runway and things get real. The brain starts wondering, thinking and focusing on something that shouldn't even be of concern with, THE BOX..... The further you move the approach back the higher the velocities are and the worst this affect gets.

When an athlete gets more mature as Altius pointed out they can only take so many attempts their neuromuscular system can only handle so much unless they are on artificial helpers (drugs). This makes it harder to get over the funk of lacking confidence. The number one deterrent right now to the growth of vaulters IMO is way way way to much short approach run ups at a young age. I am ok with them to an extent when the athlete is mature. Case in point from 6L Mary Saxer can reach over 8 m/s on the run up. From full approach she tops out near 8.5 m/s. From 6L she can hit a relatively high rate of velocity into takeoff so we can work on things with a high velocity.

However, when a kid is still young and can take 40 jumps because strength, power and velocity is not high yet they should take them from as near a full approach as possible once they are deemed a safe jumper. You will watch them advance as fast as their strength levels and coordination abilities are approving.

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Re: Pole Vault Combine

Unread postby ADTF Academy » Mon Jan 06, 2014 11:23 am

I wanted to do this post on a separate line because it could create problems. Altius brought up another point in regards to the Neuromuscular system. It has limitations and they are pretty concrete. There are ways around those limitations to prolong training. However, those ways will get you banned from the sport as an Elite.


I don't want this to be about saying this person or that person was using performance enhancing drugs when they vaulted. I will say the number of products on the banned list is greatly higher than it once ways. So here is my definition of doping.

Is the athlete injecting, rubbing or consuming anything that is not in the form of a food they are eating that could artificially give them a boost?

This definition leaves the term doping very very board. From all the research and studies out right now it would be safe to guess 99% of the products on the market today would get an athlete banned. The constant comment is don't consume anything by every NGB. Even things like a multi vitamin or protein powder could in fact get an athlete banned if they are accidentally or purposely laced with something. Athletes and coaches playing chemist is a dangerous game that has gone on for a long time. There are athletes getting false/questionable diagnosis to be able to take products that are illegal, but with a doctors note it's ok. Go read other forums you will see what I am talking about.


From the many stories I have heard from Europe and even in the US from past vaulters, I believe athletes were taking things that may not have been illegal at one point in time (but are now) that allowed their CNS to recovery quicker. It was just what everyone did and it wasn't banned so why not. This adaptation allowed them to do more approach runs and reps than if they were not on the products (loose term). I have seen training logs of athletes and unless they were the one gifted athlete in the world who could handle the workouts something isn't right with the volumes and intensities. The truth will never be known and the reality is it's hard to say or label something that wasn't tested for. It was a different generation and time. However, if you look at my definition that it becomes easier to say did you stab yourself with a needle or didn't you? Estimated reports from very very long standing coaches in Europe that I respect a ton is that on average around 12 to 20 cm difference in males in regards to height cleared when looking at when they were doping and when they were clean.

Some may look at it like well if you're not looking for all avenues to be the best than your not putting your athlete in the best position to succeed. If thats your way to justify what was going on thats up to you. I'd rather coach clean athletes and be second tier. It's a personal choice.

I also want to say this post doesn't mean I think everyone in the past, present or future that was successful did, are or will use banned substances. That is not my intention. My focus is on the clean athletes I coach. The only athletes that I can safely say have used substances are on the banned athlete list. There are some very fishy things going on in the world of track and field at the moment, but only each individual person can truly look in the mirror and say I did or didn't.

The challenge becomes comparing clean well tested athletes trying to succeed against athletes who doped. That is in any era. Anyone who has ever been an elite athlete and 100% clean knows exactly what I mean. It's an uphill battle you feel like you never can win.

Use the past to learn and develop from, but its hard to compare two different time frames as if they are the same. So many things are different today than they were before. Sorry the average fan not in the circles of elite coaches and athletes won't 100% understand.

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Re: Pole Vault Combine

Unread postby parispv » Wed Jan 15, 2014 6:51 pm

PV2020 wrote:What if the 5.50 guy is far more athletic than the 5.80 guy but he was just a late bloomer or did not have the right area to train? Other than watching them on the podium at USA indoors, what is the point of a company signing a a 5.80 guy that does not have the raw speed and strength to ever go over 6.00m when a hand full of 5.50 guys have the potential.


Well 5.50 + guys are all elite. And 5.80m guys still do damage and carry a big name, which is the point of sponsorship anyways. Take Derek Miles for example. Jumped 5.85m, won 2008 US Olympic Trials and placed well internationally for many years. He is probably one of the more famous vaulters as well.

PV2020 wrote:This all being said, is there anyone out there right now that you truly has the athletic ability to one day consistently jump over 6.00 or challenge to bring the world record back to the USA?


There are people who can and will jump over 6.00m in the future but he doesnt necessarily need to look like the ideal vaulter; A built 6'2 lean, fast strong... For example if you look at Sam Kendricks the 5.81m sophomore who blew away everyone this year he is really skinny, doesnt look like he has a lot of muscle, not that fast. Clearly there will be genetic advantages to some over others to make them better at vaulting however I do think that Vaulting can be taught to anyone well rounded.

PV2020 wrote:If there was to be a pole vault combine among college and emerging elite athletes who would be the champion?

This would include things like:

Vertical
40 yard dash (30m for track nerds)
Broad Jump
Overhead shot put
Standing triple jump
Flying 10m speed

I know these are not all 'directly related' to the vault, bu they show who the true athletes are. I bet if you took a guy like Bubka he would dominate all of those test.


I mean a track combine is the decathlon.


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