Pole Plant Rotation?

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Pole Plant Rotation?

Unread postby scootz42 » Sun Dec 14, 2014 2:56 pm

The question I'm trying to ask is: During the plant sequence, when the top hand on the pole transitions from your hip to over your head, what is the proper way the pole should rotate in your hands? I've vaulted and been told the top hand should never slip on the pole and the pole slips/rotates in the BOTTOM hand. Right? A top hand that would slip is fairly hard to do, especially when you have/wear a sticky top hand. I've noticed lately in some world class vaulters that there seems to be a re-grip of the top hand around the head area. Are they just readjusting their fingers or is the pole slipping a little in the top hand? With someone such as myself that probably doesn't have very flexible wrists, this pole movement from hips to overhead, has always felt awkward in the rib area of the pole flip. I also notice with a firm stationary top grip that it's hard to keep a straight vertical path without round-housing a bit during the flip. Do other vaulters feel this awkwardness also? There is a second part to this question that I'll share later in the post.

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Re: Pole Plant Rotation?

Unread postby GasPasser » Sun Dec 21, 2014 12:25 am

Good question. There is not a lot of material on this fine point of the vault. I know what I do, and I believe what many others do. But as Alan Lauder said in his BTB book, there are many different styles of gripping the pole during the carry. Yes, the pole is carried with the bend down (facing the runway), and planted so that the bend is up at the end of the plant(facing the pit). Therefore, the pole must be rotated 180 degrees by the vaulter from the carry to the end of the plant.

I grip the pole and control the rotation with my top hand. Because I do not have flexible wrists, I keep my top wrist fairly straight, and only grip the pole with the thumb and first finger during the carry and early part of the plant. The rest of the top hand is fairly open during the carry (fingers relaxed). The bottom hand supports the pole with a open hand with the wrist cocked up (arm below the pole, elbow in). The bottom hand is like and oarlock for the pole to rotate about the vertical and horizontal axis. My top hand closes and tightly grips the pole as the top hand passes my head during the plant, followed by my bottom hand gripping the pole prior to the pole landing in the box. This may be the "re-gripping" you say you sometimes see other vaulters do. This is not the only way to use the hands, but for those of us with wrists that are not very flexible, it is what some of us do.

I would not recommend using your bottom hand to be the controlling grip for the pole rotation. To do so, your bottom wrist would have to be cocked down towards the runway during the carry resulting in your elbow being out and high. I can't say I've ever seen a good vaulter carry the pole that way.

David Butler has several good videos on the pole carry and plant. However, he doesn't go into great detail on the hands and the 180 degree rotation of the pole by the hands. Still worth watching his videos.
https://www.youtube.com/user/ArtoftheVa ... ture=watch

In the end, you want to end your plant with your wrists cocked out and arms under the pole. This is the power position used by powerlifters -see the wrists in the attached picture. Only difference is, you don't want your elbows locked out -especially the bottom arm. You'd end up "blocking" and hurting your swing. (Sorry, I couldn't find a good picture/angle of a vaulter at take-off showing the wrist position).
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Re: Pole Plant Rotation?

Unread postby KirkB » Sun Dec 21, 2014 8:58 pm

GasPasser wrote: ... Yes, the pole is carried with the bend down (facing the runway), and planted so that the bend is up at the end of the plant(facing the pit). Therefore, the pole must be rotated 180 degrees by the vaulter from the carry to the end of the plant.

Gasspasser, the rest of your post is pretty much the same as what I recommend. But I'm a little confused by you saying that you carry the pole with the bend down, and I don't recall every reading in BTB2 that Altius recommends that too. What page might that be on? :confused:

My recommendation has always been to hold the pole so that when it's rotated and planted, the bend will be upwards, and (on takeoff) it will bend forwards. This will mean that your initial grip at the far end of the runway should be with the bend being downwards. It never dawned on me that anyone would do this any differently.

But this isn't what your're saying, is it?

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Re: Pole Plant Rotation?

Unread postby GasPasser » Mon Dec 22, 2014 12:47 am

Sorry, I clearly didn't word it so that it was well understood. Let me try to clarify...

By carrying with the bend down, I mean that the natural bend (or sag) is sagging toward the ground. The vaulter starts by holding the pole (the top hand) with the pole tip on the ground and finding the natural bend and allowing it to sag towards the runway by rolling it back and forth in their open palm. Once you have found that natural bend, you then grip it with your top hand (palm forward, pinky towards the pit). With that top hand grip, you can move the top hand to the plant position (keeping the pole tip on the ground) and the pole will have rotated 180 degrees so that the bend is up - in the direction of the pit and away from the vaulter.

The pole, if carried parallel to the runway (not recommended for the run) will still be sagging towards the runway (bend down as I said earlier). When the tip is raised up to 75-80 degrees for the carry (preferable starting position) - the bend will still be basically down, but due to the angle held, will be sagging towards the pit.

If you were to draw a line along the length of the pole on the high side of the natural curve/bend/sag of the pole. That line would be on the "downward" facing side of the pole from the time the vaulter raises the tip to run, all through the carry until the plant is underway. That imaginary line, during the carry, is towards the pit - but is on the underside of the pole from a ground-sky perspective. The plant rotates that imaginary line that we just drew on the pole, so that it becomes the "upward"/"forward" facing side of the pole and the line is once again, towards the pit in the direction the vaulter is moving. It (the imaginary line) will be on the topside of the pole from a ground-sky perspective at the end of the plant.

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Re: Pole Plant Rotation?

Unread postby KirkB » Mon Dec 22, 2014 5:25 pm

GasPasser wrote: If you were to draw a line along the length of the pole on the high side of the natural curve/bend/sag of the pole.

OK, I'm with you now - 100%.

That's exactly how I recommend doing it as well. Also, instead of re-verifying the direction of the bend on each attempt, I recommend marking the outside of the bend with a short and narrow piece of white tape near the butt. It would be in the same alignment as the imaginary line that you referred to.

scootz42 wrote: I've noticed lately in some world class vaulters that there seems to be a re-grip of the top hand around the head area. Are they just readjusting their fingers or is the pole slipping a little in the top hand?

What you call a re-grip as you raise the pole above your ear is really just clasping down tighter on the pole with all 5 fingers. The initial grip is still tight - even if it's just with the thumb and forefinger. It doesn't slip.

Any slippage would be entirely in the clasp of the bottom hand. Therefore, you can use chalk (if necessary) on the bottom hand, but you should not use any sticky substance on it. (If you've been working out on a highbar, you should have the strength, and be confident enough in your grip that any sticky substance on the bottom hand is totally unnecessary.)

Back to GasPasser's point, remember that you want to bend the pole EXACTLY FORWARDS. You DON'T want to set up the pre-bend so that it bends slightly to the side of your takeoff foot. That would throw you off to the opposite side. Don't worry, the pole will BEGIN to bend exactly forwards, but as you swing with your shoulders square to the box, the bend will just naturally rotate to your takeoff foot's side - without any specific effort by you in that direction - allowing your body to swing directly forward (thru the chord) to pass by the pole.

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Re: Pole Plant Rotation?

Unread postby AVC Coach » Mon Dec 22, 2014 9:26 pm

With an open top hand, I teach the soft side up. With a closed grip, I teach the soft side down. I don't think there's a right or wrong as to whether you have a closed grip or not. It's more of flexibility issue. The final goal is to make sure the soft side is up when you leave the ground. Don't over think it or over analyze it. It's a simple solution.

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Re: Pole Plant Rotation?

Unread postby Colbyc63 » Mon Jul 27, 2015 4:09 am

GasPasser wrote:Good question. There is not a lot of material on this fine point of the vault. I know what I do, and I believe what many others do. But as Alan Lauder said in his BTB book, there are many different styles of gripping the pole during the carry. Yes, the pole is carried with the bend down (facing the runway), and planted so that the bend is up at the end of the plant(facing the pit). Therefore, the pole must be rotated 180 degrees by the vaulter from the carry to the end of the plant.

I grip the pole and control the rotation with my top hand. Because I do not have flexible wrists, I keep my top wrist fairly straight, and only grip the pole with the thumb and first finger during the carry and early part of the plant. The rest of the top hand is fairly open during the carry (fingers relaxed). The bottom hand supports the pole with a open hand with the wrist cocked up (arm below the pole, elbow in). The bottom hand is like and oarlock for the pole to rotate about the vertical and horizontal axis. My top hand closes and tightly grips the pole as the top hand passes my head during the plant, followed by my bottom hand gripping the pole prior to the pole landing in the box. This may be the "re-gripping" you say you sometimes see other vaulters do. This is not the only way to use the hands, but for those of us with wrists that are not very flexible, it is what some of us do.

I would not recommend using your bottom hand to be the controlling grip for the pole rotation. To do so, your bottom wrist would have to be cocked down towards the runway during the carry resulting in your elbow being out and high. I can't say I've ever seen a good vaulter carry the pole that way.

David Butler has several good videos on the pole carry and plant. However, he doesn't go into great detail on the hands and the 180 degree rotation of the pole by the hands. Still worth watching his videos.
https://www.youtube.com/user/ArtoftheVa ... ture=watch

In the end, you want to end your plant with your wrists cocked out and arms under the pole. This is the power position used by powerlifters -see the wrists in the attached picture. Only difference is, you don't want your elbows locked out -especially the bottom arm. You'd end up "blocking" and hurting your swing. (Sorry, I couldn't find a good picture/angle of a vaulter at take-off showing the wrist position).



Just wanted to point this out, because I am a powerlifter, that that picture is Olympic lifting not powerlifting. ;)
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