Can gripping too low decrease pole rotation??

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Re: Can gripping too low decrease pole rotation??

Unread postby KYLE ELLIS » Mon Dec 14, 2009 10:05 pm

The reason I brought all this up is because I was having trouble "catching it" on my bigger poles. KC talks about raising the grip up and down 2 inches at a time, THATS A HUGE MARGIN! I raised my grip up a half inch at a time and watched on film to see how far my pole was bending, my timing was a little off at first but once I relaxed I ended up jumping 4 inches higher on the same pole and eventually blew through it which I hadn't done yet. In total I moved my grip up 1.5 inches, and I was pretty happy with the results. One of my vaulters ended up raising his grip up 2.5inches and jumped a foot higher, the pole was really running away from him before.

The result I came up with is that if you grip lower than optimum, the pole will unbend ealry and leave your hips lower than ideal to extend.
Over bending the pole will result in you being way ahead of the pole, which will cause a passive phase for you to catch it.. Renaud Lavellinie does this better than anyone I have ever seen.
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Re: Can gripping too low decrease pole rotation??

Unread postby Robert schmitt » Tue Dec 15, 2009 1:36 am

I notice a similar result. It seems like as I inch my way up a finger or two at a time My swing impacts the pole more and more. I feel the pole react to my swing more...accelerating the pole into the pit but also creating better timing with the pole. but I too will really start blowing trough the pole at some point. I think the higher grip is giving you more leverage on the pole during the swing...just like Mr. Slover was showing with his scale on a bent pole. At a certain grip height it takes less force to shorten the chord of the pole and eventually becomes inefficent. Vaulter that don't have a very effective swing will not experience this. I also have not fully figured a way to really describe what I experience when this happens but I "think" this is what may be going on.
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Re: Can gripping too low decrease pole rotation??

Unread postby kcvault » Tue Dec 15, 2009 3:13 am

The result I came up with is that if you grip lower than optimum, the pole will unbend ealry and leave your hips lower than ideal to extend.
Over bending the pole will result in you being way ahead of the pole, which will cause a passive phase for you to catch it.. Renaud Lavellinie does this better than anyone I have ever seen.


I agree with this.

The other reason I think raising or lowering your grip 1 fingure can make such a big impact is the stiffness of the pole. Esentially the reason we can hold higher on a fiber glass pole is because the pole bends down to you. Obviously we should think of the pole rising but the poles ability to bend down to us helps us hold higher. When the grip is to low the pole may be to stiff for the optimal bend. Making it more difficult to get into the pit. By raising your grip you are making the pole softer. You want the grip that the pole gives you the best return. If the grip is raised to high the pole becomes to soft overbends and doesnt give anything off the top. When this happens and the pole rolls past verticle it makes you land deeper in the pit since the momentum is going horizontally instead of verticle. This gives the illusion that you blew through the pole more then with the previous grip. It's more a matter of which way your mometum went from crushing the pole.

Oh on the example I was giving before I was blowing through alot I would normally only raise my grip a fingure at a time. I have seen huge improvement somtimes with only moving up or down half a fingure in grip.

---Kasey

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Re: Can gripping too low decrease pole rotation??

Unread postby tsorenson » Tue Dec 15, 2009 2:08 pm

Yes, gripping higher can give you more penetration when the pole is not reaching optimal bend from a lower grip, **BUT**should not be tried if the athlete is taking off under, as the pole will return too early and can land you in the box! Also should not be tried by athletes who are not swinging long and/or vaulting well above their grip, as a higher grip will make it impossible to learn the proper swing. I realize this is the advanced forum, but lets face it, beginners read this stuff, so I thought we needed a disclaimer so that people who are coming up short don't try to raise their grip to get more penetration!!

I had some success yesterday in practice with this...I have been gripping low (12'3) on a 14' pole from 5 lefts, consistently clearing 13', but sometimes coming up short, so I was hesitant to raise my grip. I noticed whle reviewing video that I was not getting the pole bent even close to "horizontal," so I raised my grip 1 finger at a time and continued to penetrate more and swing longer with the added bend. I eventually found a sweet spot at about 12' 10 and was able to put some really good shots up at 14' with a much more fluid and natural vault, landing deeper in the pit than I have in a long time. The sole reason for this seems to be simply that the chord is shortening more by achieving the optimal bend, actually lowering the effective grip, and rolling forward more easily than it did with the previous, "less than optimal" bend. The added bend also gave me more time to finish the vault without rushing it at the top. I believe this also can add to penetration.

So, yes, I agree with Kyle that raising the grip can give more penetration under the following circumstances:
-not bending the pole to horizontal with the lower grip (what you guys were calling 90 degrees)
-not taking off under
-vaulter already knows how to swing long and vault above their grip (kids don't try this at home unless you meet these criteria and your coach approves!!)

Tom

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Re: Can gripping too low decrease pole rotation??

Unread postby vault3rb0y » Tue Dec 15, 2009 3:00 pm

If by raising your grip your step becomes under, you take away your ability to effectively finish your take off, and even though the pole will be more "forgiving" of a passive phase, you create so much more passive phases by being a little more under, that you probably wont be jumping higher anyway.

So it's important to say that these hypothetical questions are explored with the assumption that on whatever grip on whatever pole, that you are obtaining a free take off and fully finishing your take off before your swing.

That being said, Your optimal grip is going to come down to how effectively and powerfully you can complete the second phase of the jump. If you can swing like a MOFO you can grip pretty low and get some serious pop off the top. If you have a harder time adding energy efficiently and smoothly, you would be better off with a higher grip. Im basically paraphrasing what's been said in this thread already, but only because i'd like to summarize some points.

It kind of goes against how you would regularly think about the vault, doesn't it? The more efficient a jumper you are in terms of your inversion ONLY, the lower you can grip (stiffer the pole can be) and the higher differential you can achieve. While the less efficient jumper you are, the higher you should grip (softer the pole will be) with a lower differential. So its interesting that it seems like the grip hieght you have on a pole is termined by your take off efficiency (more efficient= more grip) and the stiffness of the pole is determined by your inversion efficiency (the more efficient= the stiffer the pole can be). These are general guidelines for vaulters with near optimal grip hieght and optimal technical ability, and i wonder if you agree with this?
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Re: Can gripping too low decrease pole rotation??

Unread postby KYLE ELLIS » Tue Dec 15, 2009 11:10 pm

I agree with alot of what you said Vaulterboy, an agressive fast swing will increase the bend of the pole (adds more energy into the system), taking off under will lessen the bend (loses energy)... This is something we need to think about because if you don't know how to swing correctly, the pole won't reach its full potential bend. I think a fast effecient swing adds pole speed, so there alot of stipulations here.

1- If you block at takeoff you won't rotate the pole as much and the pole will reach a full bend earlier in the vault.
2- If you take off under the pole won't bend as much (loss of energy)
3- If you takeoff out the pole will overbend unless you are undergripping already (especially if you slow down to takeoff out)
4- If you are a drive vaulter (someone who tries to keep there trunk upright during the swing like PP did in his drill video), then it will be harder to get a full bend and you probably risk landing short if you do.

The only thing is Vaulterboy the guys who have a good takeoff and swing fast and get alot out of the pole are the ones who will win ;).. I don't have any scientific evidence but I would bet my life that a fast effecient swing makes the pole rotate faster.
Bubka gripped 17 and swung extremely fast, he wins!
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Re: Can gripping too low decrease pole rotation??

Unread postby kcvault » Tue Dec 15, 2009 11:40 pm

3- If you takeoff out the pole will overbend unless you are undergripping already (especially if you slow down to takeoff out)


I agree with everything you said except for this. If you take off out, an appropriate amount that is it will allow you to jump up better since you are jumping up better the pole will bend less. As a result you will be able to hold higher with out over bending the pole. The advantage of taking off out is not that you bend the pole more it's that you bend it less and put the focus on moving the pole instead of on bending it. As a result you get a higher grip and a better push off the top.

Also I would like to mention it is just as crucial if not more crucial that a drive vaulter jump up and have a free take off as it is for a petrov style vaulter.

---Kasey

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Re: Can gripping too low decrease pole rotation??

Unread postby Tim McMichael » Wed Dec 16, 2009 5:10 pm

It kind of goes against how you would regularly think about the vault, doesn't it? The more efficient a jumper you are in terms of your inversion ONLY, the lower you can grip (stiffer the pole can be) and the higher differential you can achieve. While the less efficient jumper you are, the higher you should grip (softer the pole will be) with a lower differential. So its interesting that it seems like the grip hieght you have on a pole is termined by your take off efficiency (more efficient= more grip) and the stiffness of the pole is determined by your inversion efficiency (the more efficient= the stiffer the pole can be). These are general guidelines for vaulters with near optimal grip hieght and optimal technical ability, and i wonder if you agree with this?


I may or may not discuss this in more detail. I'm still pondering on whether or not it would be beneficial. But I will give you this possibility to plug into the discussion. In 1985 the Dials were taking the idea of swing efficiency to its most extreme conclusion. The reason for this was because at 5'8" and under 140 pounds, he did not think we would ever be able to grip high enough to be competitive. Dean figured that the world record could be broken with a 15’ grip, and they were getting closer and closer working along these lines. In 1986 Joe decided he had to grip higher, and against Dean’s advice, he raised his grip to 15’10” and broke the American Record several times and the World Record once. I know I’ve repeated this too many times, but it bears directly on this question. Before he made the change, Joe jumped 18’10.5 with a 15’ grip. I saw it with my own eyes, and at that time Dean saw no reason at all to raise Joe’s grip much higher. He felt he could keep increasing pole speed indefinitely. The idea was to have the pole moving as fast as Joe could possibly time up with and just push off farther to jump higher. I inherited this legacy, and I feel that this is why I was able to compete despite my athletic limitations. It was no problem at all for me to grip 15’ and jump over 18’. But this is because Dean would not let me grip higher than 15’ until could jump that high. I once made 18’4” with a 14’10” grip in practice. (It was one of those magical days that I was never able to quite repeat.) My problem was that I wasn’t strong enough to time things up consistently. Anyway, everything about this approach to the vault is so counterintuitive and opposed to accepted theory that I am not sure it would even be wise to go into detail. The fact remains that it worked, though I seriously doubt anyone will ever take this particular road again.

Another key to the way this worked is pole design. The amount the pole bends and how the bend is shaped is crucial. Back in those days Cata-Pole gave you the option of an X, Y, or Z sail piece, with X being the highest and Z the lowest. Dean ordered a set of 17’ poles with X and-a-half sail pieces; in other words, as high as they would possibly build. He then cut the bottoms off of them an inch at a time as Joe tested them till they were 15’ 10” long. This meant that most of the strength of the pole was very low and it bent asymmetrically, like a fishhook. At that point they worked like magic. I had one of them in my series for years, and it was the first pole I cleared 18’ on, but I seriously doubt anyone else has used a pole designed anything like that. Dean also insisted that there was one exact right grip for a given pole design. We did not move our grips around once we found it. He used the illustration of a weight on a scale. Once you find the point of equilibrium, moving it even a fraction one way or the other tips the scale out of balance. I would sometimes raise my grip 2", but all of Joe's poles were taped in exactly the same place with a grip only as wide as his hand.

For anyone who might be tempted. DO NOT take a hack saw to your poles. Unless Dean Dial taught you how to pole vault and your pole is at least the equivalent of 40 pounds over your weight at 16'5" long it is not wise. We would have preferred not to cut our poles at all, but nobody would build them like we wanted. They thought we were insane. Dean once made me a pole at one of the major companies' facilities, but he had to sign a waiver and promise to never put their label on it. I never planted it, but he swore I could set a world record on it. The problem was that it was 60 pounds over my weight and 16'9 long. He wanted me to grip it at 15'4". I seriously regret never trying it. One of my vaulters used it in practice years later, and it worked just fine. Bruce Caldwell eventually made me a set to the specs I gave him back in '93 and those were the poles I took to the world championships. I could never jump higher than 17' on a standard 16'5" design.

Sorry for rambling. I am exhausted from grading papers all night. I always write more than I intend when I start.

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Re: Can gripping too low decrease pole rotation??

Unread postby kcvault » Wed Dec 16, 2009 8:18 pm

Another key to the way this worked is pole design. The amount the pole bends and how the bend is shaped is crucial. Back in those days Cata-Pole gave you the option of an X, Y, or Z sail piece, with X being the highest and Z the lowest. Dean ordered a set of 17’ poles with X and-a-half sail pieces; in other words, as high as they would possibly build. He then cut the bottoms off of them an inch at a time as Joe tested them till they were 15’ 10” long. This meant that most of the strength of the pole was very low and it bent asymmetrically, like a fishhook. At that point they worked like magic. I had one of them in my series for years, and it was the first pole I cleared 18’ on, but I seriously doubt anyone else has used a pole designed anything like that. Dean also insisted that there was one exact right grip for a given pole design. We did not move our grips around once we found it. He used the illustration of a weight on a scale. Once you find the point of equilibrium, moving it even a fraction one way or the other tips the scale out of balance. I would sometimes raise my grip 2", but all of Joe's poles were taped in exactly the same place with a grip only as wide as his hand.


It's funny because some of this sounds similar to my philosophy of jumping. I often have people tell me I should be holding higher but I think at 15 ft I am holding plenty high unless I can jump at least 18ft with my current grip I see no reason to raise it. Also more do to lack of pole selection I do the same thing with my poles. Last year I jumped 17-8 on a 16-9 pole that was cut to a 15-10 pole holding 15 ft. I cut 5 1/2 inches off the bottom and 5 1/2 off the top so there was no chance of holding to high with the newly lowered sail piece. after that I just flexed it as a 16 ft pole and went off that flex. I don't think it's good to cut poles but learning to jump high by holding low seems a lot more logical for safety and technical reasons. However every pole seems to have a spot which is to low to hold which actually takes away push off efficiency. No one ever pushed 4 ft off there top hand on a non flexible pole. So I would agree with dean that there is an exact right grip for a given pole design all though that may be a different spot depending on weight, height, and take off of each individual vaulter.

---Kasey


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