Failure to launch

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Failure to launch

Unread postby varska » Sat Feb 13, 2010 2:02 am

I've read B2B and searched but can't come up with a solution here. An experienced HS/college level vaulter just can't seem to pull the trigger on a takeoff this spring. After spending the off season doing short runs and drills she's suddenly having a lot of difficulty taking off during meets. Step is on, all she needs to do is jump - but something is telling her to bail at the last minute. We've shortened the approach to 5 lefts, holding lower on a softer pole, but she's still not feeling it. My instinct is to:

1. perform the same warmup ritual every meet
2. incorporate at least 3 or 4 full run vaults over a bar each practice
3. come up with a personal mantra prior to each vault to clear the mind

If anybody has been through this, i'd love to hear your thoughts

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Re: Failure to launch

Unread postby KirkB » Sat Feb 13, 2010 3:07 am

You say that she "can't seem to pull the trigger" and she's "suddenly having a lot of difficulty taking off during meets", but you don't actually say what she does INSTEAD of "taking off". A vid would help ... or a better description of what she's doing (not what she's NOT doing).

I suggest cutting back to 3 steps ... for whatever the problem might be. Just an idea.

It sounds like it's psychological. You need to get into her head, and describe to us what SHE'S thinking about that causes her to "not takeoff" or to "takeoff with difficulty". If you're the coach, then SHE needs to describe it to YOU ... and then YOU can describe it to US.

Whatever it is, getting back to basics with a focus on self-confidence in clearing the bar before every jump ... which you allude to ... is a key to success.

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Re: Failure to launch

Unread postby IAmTheWalrus » Sat Feb 13, 2010 1:55 pm

I have experienced this a lot over my career, and could talk for hours about it, but for now I'll just give you a few quick tips from my experience. First and foremost, keep her spirits up. You need to remain hopeful in situations like this. Remind her that Steve Hooker went through this a few years ago where he couldn't take off at all... Then he set an Olympic record. I think just coming up with a plan, regardless what it is, will be helpful. Just having something that she can put faith in and plug away at will go along way. If you can get her jumping from a very short run, even stiff poling if need be ( and I would recommend doing some stiff pole drills regardless) and working on things other than taking off (for example, have her jumping from 3 lefts on a very soft pole and working on a long swing, and not worrying about longer runs and bigger runs) she may find herself itching to get back on a longer run, try bigger poles, etc.

For me this would happen a lot if I pushed myself too much in terms of getting on bigger poles or longer runs, so I find that if I "hold myself back" a little, I get bored with what I'm doing and get pumped to move up poles or back to a longer run instead of scared. I hope this helps. Feel free to ask me any questions. I won't pretend to be an expert on the subject, but I've gone through this many times and it made my life miserable, so now that I know how to overcome it, I want to help anyone else that is experiencing problems.
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Re: Failure to launch

Unread postby altius » Sat Feb 13, 2010 3:10 pm

"After spending the off season doing short runs and drills". The key MAY lie in that statement.

While it is true that this can happen to anyone I suspect you will find that it will happen less often if you follow the advice provided on page 223 - Full run up work should be carried out one day a week - EVERY week of the year! This must be done regardless of what else you may or may not do in your training.
Its what you learn after you know it all that counts. John Wooden

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Re: Failure to launch

Unread postby IAmTheWalrus » Sat Feb 13, 2010 5:13 pm

Does that mean actual full run up vaults every week, or just some sort of full run work, such full run pole runs?
-Nick

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Re: Failure to launch

Unread postby varska » Sat Feb 13, 2010 9:48 pm

Really great advice, thanks all. Walrus, it's nice to hear from someone who has been though it. I think your concept of having a plan to put faith in is very true. The one emotion we want to avoid is hopelessness. I thought it was interesting to read that Hooker enlisted the aid a a hypnotherapist to overcome the same problem. I think we'll incorporate the run up sequence in B2B moving from track runs, to towel plants to runway takeoff, jump and hold drills. I'll admit I'm a little intrigued by the hypnosis aspect, maybe keep that in mind if problems persist.

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Re: Failure to launch

Unread postby altius » Sun Feb 14, 2010 3:32 am

such as full run pole runs? YES INDEED -EVERY WEEK through the year. I think of it as parallel training with pole runs as one of the strands alongside all the other elements you know about.
Its what you learn after you know it all that counts. John Wooden

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Re: Failure to launch

Unread postby dj » Sun Feb 14, 2010 6:27 am

hye

it usually comes down to the run..

check the mid chart and see if the grip to "mid" (6 steps from "launch") is reasonably close to matching up....

by the way what is the jumpers PR...

dj

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Re: Failure to launch

Unread postby varska » Sun Feb 14, 2010 9:59 am

12' is her pr (gripping 12'3)

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Re: Failure to launch

Unread postby souleman » Sun Feb 14, 2010 11:07 am

One of the greatest benefits of the mid mark chart,in my opinion, is providing a base to fix problems like these. Failure to launch is entirely a confidence issue. "Am I out, am I under, oh geez....here comes the box.....OK, I'm bailing". With a 12' PR and a 12' 3" grip, all you need to do now is figure out where her mid is and work on adjusting the run to fit. Which in this case is around 41'. What I do is find the vaulters "happy spot". By this I mean I let them pick their grip, there start mark etc and let them jump. Example is one of my guys always started last year at 72'. His "happy spot" mid was 42' (now here's where it got dicey), Grip and bar height could change and the two happy spots would stay the same. So what did we do? Worked the chart. So with your vaulter I would suggest that you have her find a grip that she will always launch at. Then check her mid and take off point with that grip. Compare them to the chart. Which ever is closer (mid, grip, take off, etc.) there's your starting point. Make the others come in line working your way back up to a 12' 3" grip, 41' mid. 9'4" take off and a 12' foot clearance. Once she's consistent with the chart (or very close) now it's just a matter moving those numbers up for higher heights and she'll have the confidence to launch. Later.........Mike

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Re: Failure to launch

Unread postby dj » Sun Feb 14, 2010 1:30 pm

hye

perfect mike... can't be said any better than that...

what you might do to build the confidence and to let the coach "see" the correct run is this....

mark three lanes... with 39, 40, and 41 foot "mids"... put cones at each step from 6 to takeoff (7 cones) do the full run with 39.. 2/3 times.. same with the other two..

when you go to the runway/pit, match the grip with the best run.. or most times i just start them with the 39 and a 11 foot grip and move up as i have success..

dj

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Re: Failure to launch

Unread postby vault3rb0y » Tue Feb 16, 2010 12:00 am

From someone who was in a similar situation earlier this year- only have her change ONE THING at a time, starting with her short runs. If need be, keep the same pole in her hands and tell her to relax until she hits 5 steps out (or whatever her previous step was). If that's not working, try going back 1 left at a time if need be. Sometimes doing the drills or pole runs with a little "real vault" application in ones mind can make you feel like you are just "going through the motions". My step went back 5 feet the first day i applied by 8-right's pole run to my actual vault. But i can tell you the only reason i even planted was because i BELIEVED i could.

The pyschological issues need to be reinforced every single day by you and other athletes saying "you can do it" regardless of the outcome. The whole point of taking baby steps from her short run into her long run is to allow her to only slightly move out of her comfort zone. Once she does and finds out that its not so bad to go back 1 left on the same pole, her confidence will increase (while right now its decreasing with every run through), and that confidence is absolutely key to getting her back on a longer run. Make sure she stays as relaxed as possible. If there isn't a little voice saying "It will be different, but i think i will be ok. Just maybe i can do this", she won't plant. Once you do get her on her long run with whatever speed whatever pole, under control, Tell her the goal for the day is to plant 5 times in a row. End on a good note, don't let her go up poles unless you asks to or if it's very clear her confidence is back. But it's important for her to leave the practice feeling like she made steps and that she can believe in herself when she vaults. It's exponential, but requires a spark of confidence and the patience for that confidence to build up. This whole process could take a while, so you need to be patient too.

Now some of this may go against "perfect practices", like only moving back 1 left at a time, but there is something to be said about an athlete that knows and believes he/she can go from any run at any time and plant that pole. That kind of confidence is crucial, and carried over to a more consistent short run/long run training regimen does wonders for their mentality while jumping from a more consistent long run, at least it has for me.
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