We will get back to answering your questions and concerns about your particular technique. It's just that there's some conflicting advice going on here that needs to be sorted out first. [sigh]
By "face-plant" I know you mean "collapse", so here we go again ...
marshall wrote: your problem has nothing to do with grip distance
Well, the wider the grip, the more chance that you're going to use your bottom arm inappropriately ... and try to bend the pole with your bottom arm (which is a bad thing).
The narrower the grip, the more chance that you'll HAVE to let the momentum of you run force the pole to bend (which is a good thing).
marshall wrote:first you have to make sure that you are not planting late. so your arms have to be extended and in position to plant before the pole hits the back of the box.
Absolutely! You're 100% correct about this, Marshall!
marshall wrote:once you've done that, all you have to do is stick out your bottom arm and punch the pole out.
No, there's no reason to do this. Many, many vaulters ... including yourself ... and even Tim McMichael ... did it this way ... but it's actually a myth that you NEED to "punch the pole" to start it bending. Every pole has a prebend, and all you need (yes, ALL YOU NEED) to do is hang on with your top hand, and the momentum of your run and the force of your takeoff is sufficient to bend the pole.
After he experimented with this last year, Tim even agreed with this point. It's the PETROV style ... not the DRIVE VAULT style, and Tim coaches both (Jack Whitt does the DRIVE VAULT style).
But because of my personal experience ... back in the Ice Age ... and because Bubka and Isi hold the WRs doing it this way ... I truly believe the PETROV style to be the most efficient and easiest to learn. The DRIVE VAULT style ... altho Jack Whitt is proving that it's "good" ... is harder to learn and if you don't know exactly what you're doing, you can stall your swing. It's impossible to stall your swing if you do it the PETROV way.
marshall wrote:at your plant just look at your bottom arm and make sure its out in front applying pressure. do that for a couple of weeks until your plant just becomes muscle memory and you don't have to think about it anymore. once you get your bottom arm out, its a whole new world.
No, no, no! I underlined the words that I disagree with the most.
marshall wrote: poles you thought were stiff become warm ups.
Yes, yes, yes! ... if you do it the PETROV way.
marshall wrote:just be wary of that aggressive mentality. you might block your swing if you don't release pressure after your takeoff.
I'm very glad you said this, Marshall. Other than your use of the word "might", you're 100% correct on this point. You WILL block your swing if you don't release pressure after your takeoff. Well ... you mean after the pole hits the box and AFTER you've punched the pole. That's what YOU mean. I suggest that you might as well not even punch the pole AT ALL, since it doesn't improve your technique any (in my experience).
But I will say this even stronger: You WILL slow down your swing if you push at all ... even a tiny bit. Every action has an equal and opposite reaction ... so every little bit of pressure has to go somewhere. Where does it comes from and where does it go? It comes from your swing, and it goes into the pole. It slows down your swing, and it increases the bend of the pole.
What would you rather have ... a big bend ... or a faster swing?
Just about every tuck/shooter I've watched on vid has an inferior swing in comparison to Petrovers. Sure ... they have a big bend ... or get on bigger poles ... or both ... but they don't SWING as well. They lose the "continuous motion" of the Petrov Model. That's the catch.
I suspect I might get some flack on this point ... even from PETROVERS ... and to be truthful, I think you CAN get away with punching the pole A BIT as the pole hits the box ... as long as your grip is NARROW ... and as long as your bottom elbow is OUT to the side ... not UNDER the pole ... and as long as you IMMEDIATELY release the pressure of the bottom arm.
But IMHO, this is all so COMPLICATED ... PRECARIOUS ... AND PRONE TO FAILURE. One slight mistake and you're doing it wrong. And the "slight mistake" that most young vaulters make if they go down this slippery slope is that they CONTINUE to apply pressure with their bottom arm well past the instant that the pole hits the box.
So why COMPLICATE your technique? Why not KEEP IT SIMPLE? Why not just do what the Laws of Physics require ... and no more? Why "punch the pole" if it's wasted motion and the wrong focus? Why not just let the energy of your run and takeoff transer into the pole thru the top hand ... NATURALLY? This is the best way to GUARANTEE that you're not going to stall your swing.
In my experience, this was the most technically efficient way to do it ... and the easiest!
If anyone wants to argue, and point out that "if it's good enough for Jack Whitt then it's good enough for me", then I won't stand in your way. If that's the case then I just suggest two things ...
1. You can't call it Petrov.
2. You'll need someone with the expertise of Tim MicMichael to coach you.
To coach yourself any other way than the Petrov way is setting yourself up for failure.
OK ... I better get off my soapbox now!