OK, Let's open the "pole drop" can of worms

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OK, Let's open the "pole drop" can of worms

Unread postby souleman » Sun Jul 21, 2013 11:07 pm

What do you call it? In another thread I was chastised for calling the lowering of the pole tip during the run up as a "pole drop". I was told the term was confusing and also that there is no pole drop in pole vaulting. I was also told that what I should have referred to it should have been called a "controlled lowering of the pole tip". I'm very comfortable with the term "pole drop" and there is no question in my vaulters mind what I'm referring to when I refer to it as such. In BTB II, it is referred to as "the controlled lowering of the pole tip". In the USATF Level 1 curriculum it is referred to as "THE POLE DROP". In fact the curriculum goes on to say, "After the first two steps of the approach, the tip of the pole should DROP slightly with each step, using the top (rear) hand to control the DROP and the bottom (front) hand as a fulcrum. The pole tip should be at the height of the vaulter's forehead when the plant is started. DROPPING the tip too early produces poor posture and/ or forward lean, making it difficult for the vaulter to take off properly. DROPPING the tip too late forces the vaulter to slow down". Call me crazy, but there were sure an awful lot of "drops" in that explanation for "the pole drop" not to exist in pole vaulting. So? What do you call it?
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Re: OK, Let's open the "pole drop" can of worms

Unread postby AVC Coach » Mon Jul 22, 2013 6:34 am

I call it "pole drop" and all of my athletes know exactly what I'm referring to.

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Re: OK, Let's open the "pole drop" can of worms

Unread postby grandevaulter » Mon Jul 22, 2013 9:07 am

Mike, at one time I coached what was taught to me.(1978 highschool info) I started adding on to that with material that I found online with dribs and drabs of what I thought was good information. I'm sure some of the USATF is O.K..... However, it seems that if one is using BTB2 and the PB model and giving advice to a young vaulter, that one would rigorously adhere to that information. You will always be able to find support online, (for anything) even with credible experts that may make you feel good. Is that your goal?

This is a post from another thread. You may read the entire thread if needed. I hope his helps you with that can of worms :) .

Re: Fourteen Year Gap in Modern PV Technique in the 1970s?

New postby PVstudent » Mon Apr 29, 2013 7:32 am
At the instant when the centres of mass of the vaulter and of the pole are in the same vertical line above the pole tip pivoted in the vault plant box the pole – vaulter system is torque less . The vaulter at that instant experiences no torque due to the weight of the pole nor is the pole experiencing any torque due to the weight of the vaulter. This is the only time in the pole vaulting sequence (Start of the 1st step till pole release) where one can legitimately claim the system to have zero torque acting due to weight force of the vaulter or the pole! (ie the system is TORQUE-LESS meaning without torque due to weight of the vaulter, the weight of the pole or both weights combined). The recoiling pole will be exerting a torque on the vaulter until the instant their respective centres of mass become vertically aligned. Note that Newton’s Laws must also apply at all times.

However the vaulter may be feeling the effects of other torques at that instant due to the configuration of their body segments with respect to body joints. The vaulter-pole system possesses momentarily zero torque due to the effects of vaulter and or pole weight because the masses of the pole and vaulter are being acted on by gravitational force directed through their respective mass centres which are vertically aligned.

Now let me consider the pole carry and plant action.

For the pole planting action to be torque-less (ie there must be zero torque ... torque possesses magnitude and direction hence the net sum of the torques acting is zero and the object will experience constant angular velocity (angular speed in a direction)) the pole would maintain a constant angular speed in the direction towards the runway and the bottom surface of the planting box.

This is clearly not what is observed in the planting action.

If the pole rate of declination (rotation about an axis of an object moving towards a horizontal referent surface in which the angle reduces) in the plant changes then that acceleration must be due to torque/s acting on the pole to bring about that change in angular speed.

Now to the meat of the matter! (literally and metaphorically).

If the vaulter is feeling that they are resisting the declination of the pole in the plant action then they are exerting a counteracting torque on the pole that effectively resists the pole rotation induced by the weight of the pole acting at some perpendicular distance from the pole support axis. Whether the pole rate of declination stay the same, speeds up, or slows down is dependent upon the vaulter applying a torque and the manner of it’s application.

If the vaulter feels that they are offering no resisting torque to the pole during the plant action the pole will positively accelerate about it’s rotation axis (ie the angular rate of declination increases until the pole tip contacts the ground / bottom surface of the planting box).
If the vaulter does not exert any resisting torque to the declining motion of the pole the vaulter can legitimately claim to be exerting no torque to resist the pole motion ie the VAULTER is APPLYING Zero Resisting Torque which can be translated loosely as the vaulter is TORQUE-LESS against the angular motion induced on the pole by its own weight.

The nub of the issue is whether the vaulter should exert, no resisting torque, some additional accelerating torque, or apply a variable torque dependent upon the spatial and time components of the pole planting motion.

Given the inherent variability in every vault attempt the plant has to be precisely timed and the pole accurately placed to secure a successful take-off.

Therefore I conclude that there has to be some controlling (variable) resisting torque applied by the vaulter at some stage, or even throughout the plant, in order to secure an efficient and effective takeoff because of the variable environmental factors as well as inherent individual variability challenges that must be met in every single vault attempt.

The plant is not a torque-less process! If it were there would be very many highly unpredictable take-offs observed in competitive pole vaulting and hugely increased takeoff disasters for beginners.

Petrov, to the best of my knowledge, has never advocated a weightless or torque-less planting action. In fact careful observation and analysis of the Reno 2005 Petrov video shows that he has a very clear story to tell in regard to controlling the planting action. It most certainly is not torque-less.

Whilst use of the term weightless, instead of torque, is ubiquitously applied in pole vaulting it produces some esoteric and strange explanations for the sensations (kinaesthesis and proprioception) genuinely experienced in the act of pole vaulting. It can also lead to complex “Folk Physics” explanations for very simple Newtonian Principles being applied extraordinarily well by elite pole vaulters.

Out of this, instead of KISS (Keep It Simple Stupid) in pole vaulting, we perpetuate complexity, mystique and magic elixirs for all our pole vaulting ills.

Newton did not have all the mechanics answers but has helped us with some very useful theory upon which to build technical proficiency and extend physical achievement in pole vault performance.

Phenomenological descriptions have their place but we should not be misled by the allure they can offer as explanatory principles.
Every new opinion at its starting, is precisely a minority of one!

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Re: OK, Let's open the "pole drop" can of worms

Unread postby AVC Coach » Tue Jul 23, 2013 7:19 am

grandevaulter,

I think Mike was referring to the language of the action and not the mechanics.

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Re: OK, Let's open the "pole drop" can of worms

Unread postby grandevaulter » Tue Jul 23, 2013 8:50 am

In the thread Mike was referring to, he was trying to explain mechanics to a young vaulter. He was also referencing a certain book and technical model. He then defended his interpretation of the specific action (word) to a comparison of the pronunciation of vegetables.

This leads us to taking guesses on what Mike was thinking. Does the word have anything to do with the mechanics? I have come to believe that the advantages of the controlled lowering has more to do with the amount of torque applied to their system than the magic carpet theory of being pulled down the runway into the box by the gravitational force of the dropping/falling pole. (Many "drop" enthusiast subscribe to the latter)

I prefer to eliminate having the kids define the words I use or not provide them with vague inferences that may lead them down the path of "old wives tales". If we use the aforementioned book, it may be wise to adhere to the descriptions and the specific word selections provided by the authors. It would also be a good idea to read it, if you bought it.

So don't feel bad Mike, I've been smacked around on this forum by almost everyone and all it has done is made me do research and become a more efficient coach.

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Re: OK, Let's open the "pole drop" can of worms

Unread postby AVC Coach » Tue Jul 23, 2013 9:23 am

grandevaulter wrote:So don't feel bad Mike, I've been smacked around on this forum by almost everyone and all it has done is made me do research and become a more efficient coach.


I didn't realize I was smacking you around, grandevaulter. What I gathered from Mike's post was that he didn't like being chastised for using his own terminology (pole drop). I use the term all of the time with my vaulters and I will continue to use it because they understand it. I think the bottom line is that we get the results that we're looking for. You're free, as we all are, to use whatever terminology you feel best works for your athletes. I wasn't trying to start an argument, nor do I think this is even worth an argument. I was simply conveying to Mike that, in my opinion, he should use whatever terminology works for him.

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Re: OK, Let's open the "pole drop" can of worms

Unread postby grandevaulter » Tue Jul 23, 2013 9:35 am

No problem AVC, I was referring to being smacked around on other threads for some of my own poorly researched opinions. I appreciate the success that you have in your program. If you have the time to go to the thread in the intermediate forum you may see that Mike was attempting to coach a kid online with BTB2 and the PB model. My contribution to the thread was to help him find a clearer understanding.

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Re: OK, Let's open the "pole drop" can of worms

Unread postby KirkB » Tue Jul 23, 2013 8:06 pm

My vote is to retain the word "drop" to mean exactly what it's intended to mean - to drop the butt of the pole into the box.

I agree with PVStudent that each vault is a one-off, so you cannot rely on a perfect, weightless pole drop to optimize your plant and takeoff.

However, from personal experience, I concluded (long ago) that the answer is "steering" rather than a "controlled drop". My rationale is that a controlled drop almost guarantees that your pole drop will be sub-optimal (forcing you to lean back unnecessarily during the runup), whereas "steering" means that you can (and will) make very minor adjustments FORWARDS and BACKWARDS to approach the ideal "weightless pole carry".

I see no new data or technical discoveries to change my mind, and I would NOT recommend that vaulters LEAN BACK as they plant. If anyone can explain how to have a controlled drop while NOT leaning back, then I'm all ears. Key to optimizing your speed on takeoff is to NOT lean back during your run (or at least MINIMIZE any leaning back).

Incidentally, this entire pole drop issue has already been thoroughly discussed over 4 years ago on "The Plant - Advanced Technique" thread: http://www.polevaultpower.com/forum/viewtopic.php?f=38&t=17138&hilit=drop.

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Re: OK, Let's open the "pole drop" can of worms

Unread postby grandevaulter » Wed Jul 24, 2013 4:30 pm

Steering seems more accurate. I read the posts from the advanced discussion. Watching Bubka frame by frame. He doesn't drop anything ever. I'll end with that.

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Re: OK, Let's open the "pole drop" can of worms

Unread postby AVC Coach » Wed Jul 24, 2013 9:51 pm

I understand what both of you guys are saying and I can't say that I disagree with your explanations of what is actually happening, but I can say that I tried that approach early in my coaching career and it was a very slow process. Now, I just want the pole tip to drop. I don't need to explain to you why or how or what emotions the pole tip might be feeling during that drop. I just want it to drop and be on time when you get to the box.

We drill this starting from standing drops and work our way back from there. When I tell one of my athletes their pole drop was late or early, they know what that means and have drilled enough to know how to make an adjustment. Depending on your location on the map, you might need to explain it differently, using terminology that is geographically fitting. Pole drop works down here.

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Re: OK, Let's open the "pole drop" can of worms

Unread postby souleman » Wed Jul 24, 2013 11:32 pm

I've given this a couple of days to roll around in this ol' melon of mine and what follows will be obviously my take. First of all I didn't put this thread on to be right. I truly wanted to get a consensus of what term is most often used in American pole vault coaching. Most if not all of the vaulters I work with, if they get good enough, will move on to a college program where it's my opinion that that coach will refer to the pole drop as a pole drop. I truly appreciate AVC Coaches last comments as this was exactly what I was going to point out. Now I don't have to. On the other thread if anyone was confusing what I said to be a direct quote from BTB then I'm sorry. Shoot, I've read the new testament a bunch of times but if you were to put a gun to my head and tell me to quote a verse, well, ya might just as well pull the trigger. That doesn't mean I don't know what's in there. After watching the young man's video I tried to put forth several different points of view that if he could improve it would improve his vaulting. At least make him look more like a vaulter. One of my suggestions was to buy the BTB and the video because it was obvious to me that he is self coached. If he were to follow the book and the drills he could help himself improve. Back to the pole drop. Grandvaulter, my suggestion would have been for your response to what I wrote be something like the following, "young man, if you get the book and the video, you will not find any reference to a pole drop. Alan refers to that as a controlled lowering of the pole tip". Finishing up with what chapter and what page it is on would have been more helpful to the young man than your blasting of me. Now here's the rub. After further correspondence with the young man, family finances aren't allowing him to buy the set right now. So it's back to me to provide him what I can to help him. Fact is, I will probably buy the DVD and send it to him because in my world there is nothing like a visual teaching item. Some folks are literal learners, some visual. I'm more visual than literal. I read the book. It came more together after watching the video. The light really went on when I saw Alan administer the model to teach the model and that's a basic outline of what we are now doing at our club. Fact is, bringing the pole tip from up in the air to the box providing the least resistance to the vaulter in my world is a drop. Like AVC Coaches athletes, mine have absolutely no problem knowing what I mean when I comment on it. It's one of the links in the chain of events that this event is. Finally, let's keep the coaching debates or "calling outs" on this forum and not on the other forums. Different ideas are good. That I believe is what these kids are looking for when they ask for help. A good rule of thumb would be to start every post for advise with, "what has worked very well for me and my vaulters has been.........". Just a thought.

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Re: OK, Let's open the "pole drop" can of worms

Unread postby rainbowgirl28 » Wed Jul 24, 2013 11:45 pm

I think "pole drop" is the most common terminology.


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