I'll reply to both your posts together ...
grandevaulter wrote: This is a good 17 year old that competes in our league. He is coming to our clinic. He has been to a camp nearby that produces vaulters that dead end at 12'6". He pulls the sweep leg in immediately. I attribute this to the old "Rock Back" drill. It translates right into the actual vault. Can this be undone?
If he's coming to the clinic that Altius is coaching at, he's in good hands.
I do see that he "pulls the sweep leg in immediately
", but I don't see how you attribute this to a rockback/whip drill on the highbar. From what I see (based on many other similar vaulters that I've seen with his skill level), he hasn't been doing any highbar rockback drills at all!
Rather, someone has told him that the way to vault is to use a soft pole and just tuck into a ball as soon as you take off. And by the way, throw your head back while you're at it (as if that helps at all). And don't worry about being 'under' on takeoff - that will help to bend the pole!
Frankly, I don't think there's anything to undo here. I think just start from scratch, with the basics, exactly as Altius has prescribed in his post above, and exactly as his 12 year old lass is doing.
Further to this, the 17 year old lad has not been doing heavy highbar drills, else he would have much better gut strength, and he'd be swinging on the pole with a longer trail leg. If you were to tell him to swing his trail leg straight, and then whip it past the chord, I doubt that he would be able to do it.
Conversely, if you ask him to get on the highbar and do the same thing (swing his trail leg straight), he STILL wouldn't be able to do it. Why? It takes repetition. Practice, practice, practice. Do this practice on the highbar first, THEN apply it to the similar actions on the pole.
I don't know for sure if that's what you and Altius are also saying, so please do me a favor when you post, and when you refer to the 'rockback drill', please clarify whether you mean on the pole or on the highbar.
grandevaulter wrote: This youngster has gone close to 13' but I've watched him go out at 11' the last two meets that he vaulted. He knocks the bar off on the way up and I've told him to move his standards back to 28". He doesn't have a coach other than the club guy that has contributed to what we see here.
These are additional issues, not to be confused with the original 'rockback drill' issue. He gets jerked off the ground and then goes directly into a tuck. I'll bet that when you saw him go close to 13', his takeoff was much improved (maybe accidentally, as he apparently doesn't know how to improve his technique methodically to stay close to 13' on all his jumps). As Altius says, there's no sense in trying to improve his so-called 'rockback' if he's not planting and jumping off the ground with good posture (so he doesn't get jerked).
Honestly, I think he's too anxious to vault with a soft pole. If I were his coach, I'd get him to learn to swing better on a much stiffer pole before worrying about bending the pole. And if that means he must lower his grip substantially, then so be it.
I feel for this vaulter. So much misdirection and/or lack of direction. I know he's trying his best, but he isn't yet equipped with the tools to fix his technical problems. I'm confident that Altius will help him quite a bit in the clinic.
I would love to hear a post-clinic report on this guy! Good luck to him.