Advanced Level Technique Metaphor

This is a forum to discuss advanced pole vaulting techniques. If you are in high school you should probably not be posting or replying to topics here, but do read and learn.
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powerplant42
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Re: Advanced Level Technique Metaphor

Unread postby powerplant42 » Thu Sep 09, 2010 6:58 pm

Definitely the key... The attitude out there now seems a bit like the attitude toward ethics: relativism. :no:

Here's an attempt at an analogy... Tell me what you think:

Hypothesis: "this" is the best way for this athlete (not restricted to a particular athlete, but we are singling out a particular athlete in the "experiment") to vault
Procedure: carry, run, plant, etc. in accordance with the "this" of the hypothesis (the model being tested)
Data: how high the athlete vaults*
Observations: energy loss "here" and "there"
Conclusion: "this" model is better/worse than "that" model

*Perhaps we cannot limit it to this... I would think that we should also consider the repeatability of the procedure, no? (I'm not sure... Thoughts?) There might be other data as well, like safety.

What I would like to draw apart from data lies implicitly in the "procedure"... Systematic errors! The athlete will never (NEVER) be able to perform the procedure perfectly. How do we deal with this? How do we treat error range in "testing" a model?

Just some thoughts... I'm not so sure how much they're worth, but they're out there. :yes:
"I run and jump, and then it's arrrrrgh!" -Bubka

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Re: Advanced Level Technique Metaphor

Unread postby Andy_C » Thu Sep 09, 2010 8:12 pm

Hi all,

I think Tim made a really good observation about science in saying that science doesn't always have the right answer. It doesn't always have the right answer but it does slowly evolve towards the answer. Be wary of the scientist that says they have THE absolute answer. Listen to the one who has an answer but seeks a better one. What I like about science is that you have to prove your case, for pole vault you must get the result! It's because of that competitive nature that although science may not have the complete truth but it does end up being the best we, as imperfect creatures, can come up with. Does that mean there is no room for art? Not necessarily.

When you deduce everything, science and art are modalities of observation and interpretation. A lot of the discussion as to which it will be will be up to you depending largely upon your cognitive bias.I prefer to think of the theoretical aspects of the vault as a science, why a science and not an art? Because the scientific approach of it has more concrete evidence-based explanations and case studies to which I can put my opinion more confidently behind. That's simply my "spin" on things. That doesn't mean interpreting the biomechanics model as an art is wrong, since in order for something to be wrong it has to be untrue (as long as an interpretation is true to it's owner, it is not false!). However I personally believe that we will get better results looking at it as a biomechanical science. If there is a better way, make a case and back it up with results.

What's very interesting about this conversation is that it says more about the people than the event. The vault is what it is, a competitive event where people with poles try to get over a bar - a very dry explanation but we would live in a very dry world if it wasn't for our humanity. "What" it is, or even it's value (to anyone) is dependent on the psychological makeup of the person observing and interpreting the action. In turn, you have the reality of the event and then the human interpretation of it.

Now that's dealing with the theoretical biomechanics side of things, when we apply the other elements of the vault (like the psychological side) things get a lot more messy. As Alan wisely said, a coach has a lot of jobs to do! To be the whole package as a coach I really think you have to be both a scientist and an artisan at different aspects of the same field. For the athlete, dare I say that as long as you follow the coach's plan (granted they know what they're doing) and get the result, does it really doesn't matter how you see it? That's also my take on individual variation! :P

-Andrew
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Re: Advanced Level Technique Metaphor

Unread postby Tim McMichael » Thu Sep 09, 2010 9:17 pm

powerplant42 wrote:Definitely the key... The attitude out there now seems a bit like the attitude toward ethics: relativism. :no:

Here's an attempt at an analogy... Tell me what you think:

Hypothesis: "this" is the best way for this athlete (not restricted to a particular athlete, but we are singling out a particular athlete in the "experiment") to vault
Procedure: carry, run, plant, etc. in accordance with the "this" of the hypothesis (the model being tested)
Data: how high the athlete vaults*
Observations: energy loss "here" and "there"
Conclusion: "this" model is better/worse than "that" model

*Perhaps we cannot limit it to this... I would think that we should also consider the repeatability of the procedure, no? (I'm not sure... Thoughts?) There might be other data as well, like safety.

What I would like to draw apart from data lies implicitly in the "procedure"... Systematic errors! The athlete will never (NEVER) be able to perform the procedure perfectly. How do we deal with this? How do we treat error range in "testing" a model?

Just some thoughts... I'm not so sure how much they're worth, but they're out there. :yes:


This is just exactly the problem. How do you collect the right data? One of the physics professors at OU came to us with a paper he had written on the vault, and he had gotten most of it wrong simply because he did not take into account the right variables. I have worked with some physics people on this, but they all end up saying that it will take way too much of their time once I explain what I want.

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Re: Advanced Level Technique Metaphor

Unread postby powerplant42 » Thu Sep 09, 2010 10:36 pm

The way to beat it is cluster sampling the entire pole vaulting population... How are those trying to emulate "this" model doing? How are those trying to emulate "that" model doing?

But there's still an issue, at least one... There are clearly more people using one "model" over another (or more just "no model"). How are we to deal with that?

In the end I think we just have to try to stick to math, then accomodate the "ideal model" according to the vaulter's physical limitations. What we end up with is the Petrov model in most cases. :idea:
"I run and jump, and then it's arrrrrgh!" -Bubka

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Re: Advanced Level Technique Metaphor

Unread postby Tim McMichael » Fri Sep 10, 2010 2:00 pm

powerplant42 wrote:The way to beat it is cluster sampling the entire pole vaulting population... How are those trying to emulate "this" model doing? How are those trying to emulate "that" model doing?

But there's still an issue, at least one... There are clearly more people using one "model" over another (or more just "no model"). How are we to deal with that?

In the end I think we just have to try to stick to math, then accomodate the "ideal model" according to the vaulter's physical limitations. What we end up with is the Petrov model in most cases. :idea:


I think it can be done, and the results might be interesting. If we took, for instance, the top ten vaulters who were not instructed in the Petrov Method and compared their results to the top ten who have, what would the statistics show? And what conclusions could be extrapolated from those numbers? And for the sake of science we may have to leave some important considerations out of the analysis. How high anyone would have jumped had they done it differently or had they had the bar high enough on a given attempt is pure speculation. It just can't be measured. I will hypothesize based only on incidental experience that there will be very little statistical difference, most of which will be skewed by the results of one individual.

I am NOT NOT NOT advocating any method over another. I just would like to know what the numbers actually say. If the results are what I think they might be, it leads me to ask other questions.

If Bubka was not an exceptional athlete, why have two decades of instruction and seven Olympic cycles not sufficed to produce his peer?

Was Bubka doing things which we (and perhaps he) are not aware of?

Perhaps he was simply doing the right things better. If so how?

Is there something missing from our coaching?

Are there aspects of other methods that are not adequately understood?

Do other vaulters correspond to the principles of Petrov's theory in ways that are not apparent?

Are there other ways to obey the immutable laws of physics effectively?

At this moment I am physically cringing. I don't want to sound disrespectful to people I respect. I am uncomfortable with these questions, but they continue to haunt me. Surely if science has taught us anything it is that questions themselves are neutral. What is important is that the answers agree with empirical data garnered from sound methods of enquiry. And my hypothesis might not be supported by the data. I will be happy to be disproven; I don't want to waste my time exploring questions that are meaningless in ways that are mistaken. Isn't that the essence of the scientific method?

I can also respect the opinion that what we have is good enough and it is unproductive to muddy the waters, but I can’t help it. Athletes should probably not read this forum. This is why I have not posted for so long. I am not making much progress wrestling with these things in isolation.

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Re: Advanced Level Technique Metaphor

Unread postby altius » Fri Sep 10, 2010 3:52 pm

If Bubka was not an exceptional athlete, why have two decades of instruction and seven Olympic cycles not sufficed to produce his peer?

He was an exceptional athlete in every sense of that word, but so was Dean Starkey. The difference was that Bubka was coached from the age of 10 by a fanatical individual who had a very good understanding of training methods, a clearly defined technical model and great support from his state. Bubka was developing the right technical model -yes the right technical model - from the very beginning. This was based on Petrov's analysis of the great stiff pole vaulters and his interaction with sports scientists and gymnastic coaches. Ask Dean to detail his development and see how it compares with this. If you want to do so take the biomechanical model I propose in BTB2 and deconstruct it - show how it can be improved.

However Bubka was also part of a dedicated training group - a crucial element in the development of his talent. As I suggested earlier get o copy of Bounce and you will see what I mean.
Its what you learn after you know it all that counts. John Wooden

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Re: Advanced Level Technique Metaphor

Unread postby Tim McMichael » Fri Sep 24, 2010 1:06 pm

I jumped against Starkey many times. He was a physical monster. I am sure Bubka had resources that we did not, and it is impossible to measure how much of a difference that made. I am pretty sure, just based on what I know about the Soviet methodology that the emphasis was on science instead of art.

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Re: Advanced Level Technique Metaphor

Unread postby AllaboutPV1 » Tue Sep 28, 2010 12:38 am

bubka had one coach since he was ten, how many athletes have the privilege to have that opportunity. plus to have your one coach be the best coach ever. I'm positive he wasn't the fastest, strongest physically, but mentally he had the confidence and the nuts to pull such a technique off. also he had determination. he had all the tools he needed to vault. he wasn't caught up trying to copy someone Else's technique every one else was trying to figure out why he jumped so high. while we are all studying his technique all he can do is sit back and chuckle at our attempts while he holds the real secret. if i remember right he did say push BOTH hands towards the cross bar from t-o until it is time to collapse it. his left arm was probably bent because his pole was so stiff he wasn't physically strong enough to have it straight until he started to swing, but it doesn't mean that he wasn't pushing upward.

i can say short guys do what it takes to jump as high as the tall guys, I'll use Lavillenie as an example. he uses two straight arms like two long levers and drops his leg before the chord, then tucks up into a ball to get ahead of the pole, he consistently jumps high. i wonder what would happen if a tall guy copied his technique.wouldn't that be a huge advantage?

i guess what i am trying to point out is that there are many different ways to vault, but regardless of which one is being taught its hard to get it to work with 2 or 3 different coaches all telling you something different. which bubka didn't have. and one thing that everybody overlooks is competition, he didn't want to lose. so he worked his a** of to get to the point where no one could touch him, and everybody wanted to be him.

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Re: Advanced Level Technique Metaphor

Unread postby baggettpv » Tue Sep 28, 2010 1:44 am

Study the domains of learning to clearify the concept between art and science. Art being the free application on of knowing and science being the process of knowing.

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Re: Advanced Level Technique Metaphor

Unread postby Pogo Stick » Tue Sep 28, 2010 8:02 pm

Tim McMichael wrote:This may turn into a discussion about the dichotomy between the arts and sciences. My perspective is that the vault is an art and can be studied from that perspective. The aesthetics go right back to the Greek idea of dynamic symmetry. They invented the vault after all. One of the reasons the field events have been with us for so long is that they are beautiful, and when they are done in the manner that is most beautiful, they are also safe. You won’t get hurt if your vault looks right. This is one of my favorite examples.

http://www.treemo.com/content/1142592_u ... gp2_or.jpg

Huffman’s crazy roll over the bar looks out of control, but there is symmetry throughout the movement. At no point do his arms and legs not balance one another around a rotating center. You can see this in any ethical athletic movement, and I truly believe there is sort of morality to human motion and dynamic symmetry has a lot to do with it.


Here is a citiation from pianist Ivo Pogorelić about the most important things his teacher has taught him. It contains elements of both science and art (typical Russian school):
"First, technical perfection as something natural. Second, an insight into the development of the piano sound, as perfected by the pianist-composers of the late 19th and early 20th centuries, composers who understood the piano both as a human voice ... and as an orchestra with which they could produce a variety of colors. Third, the need to learn how to use every aspect of our new instruments, which are richer in sound. Fourth, the importance of differentiation."

Replace "piano sound" with "pole vaulting technique", "pianist" with "vaulter" and "composer" with "coach", "new instruments" with "pole technology"...
-- Pogo

"It is not necessary to change. Survival is not mandatory." W. Edwards Deming


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