Need to fix the face-plants into the pole

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KirkB
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Re: Need to fix the face-plants into the pole

Unread postby KirkB » Sun May 10, 2009 1:15 pm

Bushy, I'm addressing my reply to Marshall ... and not to yourself ... so I apologize in advance for hijacking your thread.

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! :yes:

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! :yes:

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! :)

Kirk
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Re: Need to fix the face-plants into the pole

Unread postby varska » Sun May 17, 2009 7:13 pm

Okay...I know just enough about this to be dangerous. However, looking at the photos, the issue doesn't seem to be the face-plant into the pole, rather that his torso has swung so far forward after takeoff. The center of mass of the body is just below the navel. If you extend a line vertically upward from his COM, the bending force on the pole is located well below his bottom hand. Consequently, the pole is going to feel a lot stiffer and be more difficult to penetrate with, no? Keeping his torso more vertical and, as a result, his COM back, he should be able to make it into the pit using stiffer poles and vault higher.

So, how to keep the torso back? I can't help but believe that the bottom arm plays a significant part here. All of the semantics about pushing vs. punching, notwithstanding - it seems a momentary tension in both arms is necessary to stay behind the pole. Timing the tension and collapse into rotation takes a lot of practice and is one of the skills that separates the good vaulters from the great ones.

Seem logical?

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Re: Need to fix the face-plants into the pole

Unread postby KirkB » Mon May 18, 2009 2:10 am

varska wrote: ... it seems a momentary tension in both arms is necessary to stay behind the pole. Timing the tension and collapse into rotation takes a lot of practice and is one of the skills that separates the good vaulters from the great ones.

Seem logical?

Varska, I agreed with everything you said ... down to the quote above.

While this seems logical to you, it doesn't to me.

The reason is becuz the "momentary tension" kills the swing ... either a little or a lot ... depending on how you time it. I do agree that some "great" vaulters learn this timing quite well, but I actually think that the MOST EFFICIENT and the SIMPLEST method of "staying behind the pole" to get a good swing is to actually NOT resist at all with the bottom arm. I know this will sound counter-intuitive (according to YOUR logic as you just explained it), but it's actually quite logical.

1. Any resistance at all slows down the swing. You should find ways to speed up the swing ... while you're penetrating towards the pit ... not slow it down. My strong opinion is that driving the chest forwards/upwards MOMENTARILY whilst stretching the trail leg back MOMENTARILY gives you the best balance of (a) keeping the CoM more FORWARDS than if you were to artificially stay back behind the pole by resisting (which in turn will keep the pole moving; and (b) give you a relatively forwards-leaning body angle, rather than leaning back in the C (which will give you the best body posture from which to swing your trail leg DOWN and forwards vigorously - to add more energy to the pole, whilst also keeping the pole moving even more). The pole keeps moving for 3 reasons ... (A) due to the momentum generated by (mostly) the trail leg; (B) the long trail leg keeps the CoM lower (than if it wasn't long); and (C) the additional bend generated by the trail leg downswing causes the chord length to become shorter ... thus generating more pole speed.

2. Even if this "momentary resistance" that you propose was a more optimal technique than my proposed "no resistance" technique (which it isn't ;)), it's very difficult to time this exactly right (which is why you say it separates the "good" vaulters from the "great" vaulters). My observation from watching/coaching vaulters way back in the 1960s and 70s, as well as recent vaulters is that they "don't know when to quit". Almost invariably, you tell them to just push a tiny bit, and they push too much. WAAAAAAY too much! I think this is the fundamental reason why there's such controversey on whether to push or not with the bottom arm.

I'll be creating a new thread in the Advanced Technique forum soon where I talk about the "body chord". Stay tuned for that one. :idea:

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Re: Need to fix the face-plants into the pole

Unread postby Darbyoshea » Sun Dec 13, 2009 10:50 pm

varska wrote:
... it seems a momentary tension in both arms is necessary to stay behind the pole. Timing the tension and collapse into rotation takes a lot of practice and is one of the skills that separates the good vaulters from the great ones.

I was viewing a DVD from Rick Suhr who has coached several high school national champions. In his training DVD he shows examples of Jenn Stuczynski who takes viewiers through numerous drills. In these drills her bottom arm is actually locked above her head (pushing the pole forward). Rick Suhr also talks about compressing the pole forward ...Is this just simply a different model being used?

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Re: Need to fix the face-plants into the pole

Unread postby VaultPurple » Mon Dec 14, 2009 12:28 am

I think yall are over complicating things... you can tell very little about this vault, if almost NOTHING from these pictures. This vault almost looks identical to some of those done by girls learning petrov model in BTB2. The only way to tell what is really wrong is to see a video. My guess is he is just really under, and I do not think his grip is all that wide, looks shoulder width to me, but thats just eyeballing...

Best advice I would have would be keep doing what your doing and make sure your step is on and you jump up. Teaching someone new to petrov to do anything with the left arm is bad news. Just jump up and get the right arm as high as possible and keep the left one relaxed and don't really worry about it.

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Re: Need to fix the face-plants into the pole

Unread postby KirkB » Mon Dec 14, 2009 3:02 am

VaultPurple wrote: ... Just jump up and get the right arm as high as possible and keep the left one relaxed and don't really worry about it.

:yes:
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Re: Need to fix the face-plants into the pole

Unread postby golfdane » Mon Dec 14, 2009 5:54 am

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DYaBPDTrVuI

Probably the best Bubka jump available on the net. Note his left arm immediately after take off. It's clearly bent. Do not fall into the pit of thinking: "Hey, his left arm is getting straight, he must be pushing??"

His left arm is extending PRIMARILY because the pole is bending due to the force applied by the right hand. His swing is extremely effective, and adds force to the upper hand. IOW, his left arm extends simply because the pole bends away from his face. Not because of pushing it away from the face.

Judging from the pictures you posted, would I say the pole is a bit on the stiff side, and the position you're in, becomes almost inevitable. I wouldn't call your grip wide, but I certainly wouldn't widen it (I normally advocate the length of the forearm + 1 hand, just as you use now. It'll grow, just like your capabilities, and will probably follow you through your vaulting career). If possible, post a video (showing your jump in full speed as well as 1/4 speed (easily done in MovieMaker on Windows Vista)).

I think the first 2 pictures show a really nice take-off (blurry, but it looks like you have almost a foot of clearance from the ground) on a pole that's a tad too big.
The last two looks like you are more than a foot under (can't see the ground, but judging from the height of your top hand, does it seem like your toes are still on the ground on the first of them), and you have almost no take-off, and get's sucked under. If the last two pics are from the same jump (I suspect so), is there a lack of upwards momentum. Your top hand travels almost horizontal.

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Re: Need to fix the face-plants into the pole

Unread postby Andy_C » Mon Dec 14, 2009 10:30 am

Note: I've heard both the terms "punching out" and "pushing in" used so I will address them as both - just note I'm talking about the same thing

While I think this topic has been well covered by the previous posters, I would like to add something.

I think it's really important that people stop thinking about "bending it hard" and things like that. Yes of course you need aggression, but the entire mentality of "harder, faster, stronger" can really be taken overboard with this event especially because it's so technical.

In my opinion, it's best to look at everything in terms of energy.

Primarily:
1. Maximizing energy input
2. Optimizing energy usage
3. Minimizing energy loss.

I do believe that many younger vaulters as well as non-Petrov people only focus on one aspect (maximizing input).

It's very important to remember that with punching out/pushing in with the bottom arm, you can get more bend out of the pole but you are adding zero energy into the system. Think about it:

How do you apply energy to the pole? Your forward momentum and your mass

Pushing your bottom arm through will not add mass to your body nor will it increase your overall speed - therefore you will add zero energy to the system by doing this.

What you are doing is effectively re-distributing the energy by changing the main contact point between yourself and the pole. The contact points being the places where you apply and transfer your energy into the poles (your hands). A Petrov vaulter has one primary contact point (the top hand) while a puncher will have two (both hands). This redistribution of energy will account for an alteration in the bending of the pole depending on placement. Now I haven't really broken down the biomechanics of this yet but as a rule of thumb, at take off your goal is to apply energy at the highest point possible. Following that rule I would not recommend redistributing your precious energy to a lower point (your bottom hand) as that could end up "putting energy into the box".

Also remember we are attempting to achieve a "double pendulum". Now a pendulum has one point of contact that acts as an axis from which it swings from. If it were to have a second, it would severely impinge on it's ability to swing. Similar point with our vaulter. However, this impinges not only the vaulter's active whip swing, but it will also affect the natural swing! When you apply your energy at the highest point of your body to the pole, any point below that contact point will experience a forward force once the contact point hits resistance - what we know as the natural swing. When you push in/ punch out, some of the energy you would have had in your natural swing would have been redistributed into the pole bend via your lower hand. This will make your natural swing slower, forcing you to resort to other things such as tuck and shoot just to get inverted in time. It will also increase the hang phase (which is a passive phase) so you're not only NOT adding energy, you're actually losing energy due to friction! Remember, the pole is made up of micro-particles. It bends by passing energy from one particle to another. Friction however prevents 100% of the energy from being passed on between each individual glass or carbon fiber. Therefore any time the pole bends and unbends, it is losing energy! It's a different way to look at the event, that the pole is actually bleeding energy any time it does work, but I find it's helpful. Any second you spend waiting or in a passive phase is actively hurting your cause!

There are also other concerns, such as the displacement of the hips if the pendulum motion is interrupted and the effect on the bend but I'll leave that for another time. I really just wanted to get the point forward that pushing in / punching out is not helpful and is actually against what you're trying to achieve in terms of energy.

It:
1. Doesn't add any energy to the system
2. Will not allow you to use your energy to swing effectively
3. Will cause you to spend more time in a passive phase losing energy

It's a lose, lose, lose situation if you ask me :P
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Re: Need to fix the face-plants into the pole

Unread postby altius » Mon Dec 14, 2009 10:42 am

My guess is he is just really under, SPOT ON!! That is the fundamental problem!

Lauren Eley in BTB APPEARS to be in a similar position but in fact is not - because she takes off in the correct spot. She is not using the left arm perfectly -- but was included to counter the common view that the left arm must be jammed out and locked to produce an effective jump.
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Re: Need to fix the face-plants into the pole

Unread postby KirkB » Mon Dec 14, 2009 3:36 pm

Andy_C wrote: ... I think it's really important that people stop thinking about "bending it hard" and things like that. Yes of course you need aggression, but the entire mentality of "harder, faster, stronger" can really be taken overboard with this event especially because it's so technical.

In my opinion, it's best to look at everything in terms of energy.

Primarily:
1. Maximizing energy input
2. Optimizing energy usage
3. Minimizing energy loss

I do believe that many younger vaulters as well as non-Petrov people only focus on one aspect (maximizing input).

It's very important to remember that with punching out/pushing in with the bottom arm, you can get more bend out of the pole but you are adding zero energy into the system. Think about it:

How do you apply energy to the pole? Your forward momentum and your mass.

Pushing your bottom arm through will not add mass to your body nor will it increase your overall speed - therefore you will add zero energy to the system by doing this.

What you are doing is effectively re-distributing the energy by changing the main contact point between yourself and the pole. The contact points being the places where you apply and transfer your energy into the poles (your hands). A Petrov vaulter has one primary contact point (the top hand) while a puncher will have two (both hands). This redistribution of energy will account for an alteration in the bending of the pole depending on placement. Now I haven't really broken down the biomechanics of this yet but as a rule of thumb, at take off your goal is to apply energy at the highest point possible. Following that rule I would not recommend redistributing your precious energy to a lower point (your bottom hand) as that could end up "putting energy into the box".

Also remember we are attempting to achieve a "double pendulum". Now a pendulum has one point of contact that acts as an axis from which it swings from. If it were to have a second, it would severely impinge on it's ability to swing. Similar point with our vaulter. However, this impinges not only the vaulter's active whip swing, but it will also affect the natural swing! When you apply your energy at the highest point of your body to the pole, any point below that contact point will experience a forward force once the contact point hits resistance - what we know as the natural swing. When you push in/ punch out, some of the energy you would have had in your natural swing would have been redistributed into the pole bend via your lower hand. This will make your natural swing slower, forcing you to resort to other things such as tuck and shoot just to get inverted in time. It will also increase the hang phase (which is a passive phase) so you're not only NOT adding energy, you're actually losing energy due to friction! ... Any second you spend waiting or in a passive phase is actively hurting your cause!

... pushing in / punching out is not helpful and is actually against what you're trying to achieve in terms of energy.

It:
1. Doesn't add any energy to the system
2. Will not allow you to use your energy to swing effectively
3. Will cause you to spend more time in a passive phase losing energy

Andy, this was well-written. I especially like the parts that I underlined ... which is the bulk of your post!

The one area that I think could be explained better is the "hang" behind the pole. The easiest way that I can explain it is that your NATURAL swing gives you sufficient hang-time, so you need not artificially hang to bend the pole more, penetrate more, or whatever reason you think you need to hang.

Your elastic pre-stretch ... stretching from the top hand ... is all you need. Anything that you do with your bottom arm to affect hang-time is going to be counter-productive, becuz it's going to kill your swing ... a little or a lot. You need to keep your body moving ... around your body's pendulum (top hand) ... and keep your pole moving ... around its pendulum (butt). The net effect is that you need to keep moving forwards AND upwards ... especially upwards.

If your technique includes the dropping of the lead knee ... and then lifting it back up again ... I think that's fine for ELITES ... who can do this ... but most mere mortals that I've seen (anyone below the elite level) don't have the core strength to do this properly. Most vaulters are NOT able to recover from an artificial hang ... to move around the 2 pendulums again. I don't want this thread to turn into a drop-the-lead-knee discussion, so 'nuff said about that.

Also not sure about your micro-particles woo-woo, but let's not get side-tracked on that one either! ;) The bulk of your post is ... as you Aussies say ... SPOT ON! :yes:

Kirk
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Re: Need to fix the face-plants into the pole

Unread postby Andy_C » Mon Dec 14, 2009 5:57 pm

Thanks Kirk.

And also sorry but I didn't address the original post on this topic, I think I got lost into the discussion of the left hand.

Altius is correct, Bushy looks like he is well under on his take off point. Judging just from what we can see it is his one of his biggest problems just like it would be for many young vaulters. That's actually the most practically applicable advice for him in this thread, fix taking off under. Just don't try to fix it by jamming the left hand!

Oh and for the record, there really isn't anything particularly wrong with face-planting into the pole. You could be doing good things (massive chest penetration) or bad things (taking off under) that can cause this to happen. The face plant in this case is not the actual problem, the problem lies elsewhere. I would encourage a person to attack and drive up through their open chest as much as possible at take off. If everything is right, it will cause your face to have a "close encounter" with the pole like in Golfdane's Bubka video.
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Re: Need to fix the face-plants into the pole

Unread postby vault3rb0y » Sat Dec 19, 2009 6:05 am

I agree that it takes a seasoned "eye" to see whether a face-plant is acceptable for the way a certain vaulter vaults. However, the better you get, the better you should be able to move the pole to vertical. This happens when the top hand is pushing forward rather than getting forced too far behind your head, by increasing the pole angle with the ground. So while a face-plant may indicate a powerful chest-drive and take off, keep in mind that if you can have that take off AND keep your hands moving upwards, you will be better off. A better indicator of your take off would be your trail leg extended behind your body, and your shoulders being directly over your hips after take off. If this happens, it doesn't really matter what your hands are doing, you have a pretty nice take off.
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