Help on the rockback

A forum to discuss pole vault technique as it relates to beginning vaulters. If you have been jumping less than a year, this is the forum for you.

Moderator: achtungpv

PV Newbie
Posts: 12
Joined: Sun Apr 22, 2012 7:57 pm
Expertise: High School Vaulter and Hurdler
Lifetime Best: 11'6
World Record Holder?: Renaud Lavillenie
Favorite Vaulter: Lazaro Borges
Location: FL

Help on the rockback

Unread postby Vaulter239 » Thu Mar 20, 2014 9:19 pm


Ive been working with Kirk on his highbar drills which help immensely. However, I am having a problem rock back all the way and dropping my shoulders which would allow me to shoot up rather than out. And when I make an attempt to thrust hips up and shoulders back I feel like I will fall right on top of the box so I bail out right away. Here is a video from practice today. Ive also been trying to get access to a rope but havent had any luck to practice that inversion feeling. Leave a comment of drills or anything! Im thirsty for more knowledge!

Thanks PVP community!

PV Whiz
Posts: 203
Joined: Wed Dec 05, 2012 3:47 pm
Expertise: Former College Vaulter, Current Private Coach for HS and College Athletes
Lifetime Best: 16'
World Record Holder?: Renaud Lavillenie
Favorite Vaulter: Bubka

Re: Help on the rockback

Unread postby CoachEric » Fri Mar 21, 2014 11:36 am

Focus on keeping your hands and elbows over your head while you swing. You are rowing your hands and forcing pressure down the length of the pole, which stops pole rotation and stops your swing. Keep the hands over the head all the way through the vault and swing all the way to the back of the pit!

PV Whiz
Posts: 167
Joined: Fri Mar 21, 2014 12:00 pm
Expertise: Former College Vaulter, Current High School Coach
Lifetime Best: 15'
World Record Holder?: Renaud Lavillenie
Favorite Vaulter: All of them...

Re: Help on the rockback

Unread postby willrieffer » Thu Apr 03, 2014 10:01 pm

You have what I call swing progression which is that early on your body is forward of the ideal swing angle in time. It robs you of energy early and makes you see saw on the pole at the invert dropping or pulling you hips down right about the time you're trying to get them over the pole. Much of the vault is about management of rotational energy, its initiation and timing in length control. I tell my kids this. Think about a figure skater doing a spin. When their arms and legs are outstretched they spin slow. In the vault this is what you want in the take off, early swing, and compression phase as a long slow swing "rolls" the pole toward the pit. Then a figure skater will shorten their rotational axis by pulling in their arms and legs and spin faster. This is what you need in transition to get your hips forward and above the pole. There is a balance between maximizing the early slow swing and then adjusting your swing speed mid vault so that you are not getting too far behind where your hips get caught behind the pole. Then you extend to finish.

At take off you want to be as long/tall as possible. Press the pole up and leap and drive into the take off. Kick the take off leg down. This is imperative as it imparts rotational momentum that can be added to the swing. Press along the forward arm and take off foot axis to maximize your length as you kick the take off foot down. At knee extension begin working the hip of the take off leg. Swing! You have to somewhat anticipate the pole recoil and at this point shorten your rotational length, that is bring the take off leg in as you keep pulling the drive leg knee back to the shoulder. Work with the arms to close the angle between the pole and torso, but it should be much much easier if you manage your rotational length properly.

Watch the take offs, C spot, and early swing in very good vaulters. See that they work to "get back" where the top hand and arm work the pole forward and torso back to create a straight line from the hand to the hips. This puts their swing on the right angle and works the pole forward. The higher your early torso angle, the more gravity robs you of swing energy and the harder it is to get your hips to the right angle late. Try to keep the good take off posture you have in the early vault and drive for a deep pit landing.

Another thing is that while mechanically it doesn't appear that you are "pulling" late with the arms (something that will work against the hips) I believe that I see that intent. Keep working the top hand to the hip and close the angle. And you may be blocking some with the forward hand late. The forward hand action is very complex, but late it has to relax.

Many if not most of these problems can be traced back to the take off, C action, and early swing.

Hope that helps. Good luck.

Return to “Pole Vault - Beginning Technique”

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 5 guests