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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Advanced Level Technique Metaphor

Unread postby bel142 » Tue Sep 07, 2010 11:40 am

Tim M. discussed in another thread the Advanced Level Technique metaphor of painting, and creation with regards to development of the athlete. This is reasonable in terms of thinking about the development of the athlete. Although I understand and agree with the thought,it has seemed to me that coaches would much more rely on photography, because recently people are trying to emulate Bubka to a Tee.

Now the people who are curious about the section of technique verses style from having read B2B, this is the point of the metaphor where I would discus the objective of focus. If we are taking a photo of a flower we want to focus the flower in the foreground of the shot rather than the dirt and weeds behind the flower. As is true with the style of the vaulter.

For my self who is someone who really believes there is no right way to pole vault, painting is a good metaphor because to the fact that within my own athletes I am creating something that looks like pole vault, using the tools that my, idols, coaches, mentors have taught me...

Thoughts and discussion?

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Re: Advanced Level Technique Metaphor

Unread postby altius » Tue Sep 07, 2010 5:27 pm

Trust you will let us know the results of your efforts over the next ten years. However never forget another concept from BTB2 - "A coach may have a thousand careers - the athlete only has one". :yes:
Its what you learn after you know it all that counts. John Wooden

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Re: Advanced Level Technique Metaphor

Unread postby powerplant42 » Tue Sep 07, 2010 6:23 pm

I do not like the painting metaphor.

Arts are primarily subjectively successful, inasmuch as one particular individual may find a certain piece of work more appealing than another person might.

The sciences - the pole vault being the application of a science (physics, and within that, biomechanics) - are primarily objectively successful... There are right answers and there are wrong answers. It doesn't matter who you are.

If there is a less efficient way to transfer energy inside a system, then that implies that there is a more efficient way to transfer it. It also implies that there is at least one best way. So, if there is a wrong way to pole vault, there is a right way to pole vault too. :idea:

Unless I am misunderstanding something? Can you link to the thread you talked about?
"I run and jump, and then it's arrrrrgh!" -Bubka

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Re: Advanced Level Technique Metaphor

Unread postby Tim McMichael » Wed Sep 08, 2010 12:40 pm

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.

This is how I evaluate talent, and so far it hasn’t failed me. If I see a prospect who moves with a balanced symmetry, if I see it in how they walk and stand, I know a lot about what they are capable of in terms of learning how to vault. This is also helps me identify a bad vault, no matter how high it goes. If it is ugly and disjointed, it cannot be relied on, and an injury of some kind is probably imminent. If the vault is not beautiful, some part of the anatomy is taking an undue strain in order to compensate for that lack of balance.
Last edited by Tim McMichael on Wed Sep 08, 2010 8:30 pm, edited 2 times in total.

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Re: Advanced Level Technique Metaphor

Unread postby powerplant42 » Wed Sep 08, 2010 3:39 pm

This may turn into a discussion about the dichotomy between the arts and sciences.


It must!

Here is something to consider... Can we find science in beauty? Can we find beauty in science?

The answer to both questions is of course "yes", but where do we go from there? Do you think of the vault as a whole prinicipally as an "art" with scientific rules that govern its beauty or principally as a "science" that has much beauty to be uncovered therein?

I myself must go with the second - the science with beauty inside... I am trying to think of how the vault may be thought of within the context of the scientific model... I will be back with that soon!

But what do you think?
"I run and jump, and then it's arrrrrgh!" -Bubka

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Re: Advanced Level Technique Metaphor

Unread postby Tim McMichael » Wed Sep 08, 2010 8:32 pm

Something happened to the picture of Huffman I posted, so I re-posted it as a link above.

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Re: Advanced Level Technique Metaphor

Unread postby Tim McMichael » Wed Sep 08, 2010 9:04 pm

As I understand it, the Greeks would not have seen any fundamental distinction between science and art. Plato would have said that there is indeed one best way to vault, and that this method could be ascertained through reason. But he would also have said that this ultimate model exists first in the mind of God, and must therefore, also be beautiful to behold. He would also have said that its divine origin relegates all attempts to reach it to the level of approximation. We can conceive perfection, but we cannot apprehend it. Platonic formalism has always appealed to me, and I apply it to my coaching and teaching on a daily basis. I don't see any contradiction in saying that there is one best way to vault (science) and there are as many ways of approximating that model as there are athletes to attempt it (art).
Last edited by Tim McMichael on Thu Sep 09, 2010 9:33 am, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Advanced Level Technique Metaphor

Unread postby powerplant42 » Thu Sep 09, 2010 1:01 am

It does seem as if we've been equivocating a bit... What other sport could it be than the vault!!!? ;)

Would you please further explain what you mean by your last bit: "there are as many ways of approximating that model as there are athletes to attempt it (art)"?
"I run and jump, and then it's arrrrrgh!" -Bubka

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Re: Advanced Level Technique Metaphor

Unread postby altius » Thu Sep 09, 2010 6:20 am

"there are as many ways of approximating that model as there are athletes to attempt it (art)"?

Simply another way of saying that every athlete brings their own individual and unique qualities to the event -so that even if they all endeavour to use the same technical model -based on bio mechanical principles - they will all 'look' different to some degree or other. This is shown clearly in the BTB dvd when you look at the range of elite athletes shown there.

For the benefit of our friend who started the discussion I would simply repeat what I said in BTB - The technical model must always be underpinned by bio mechanical principles which do not vary -so the technical model should not vary. There is only one best way to attempt to vault - however what the athlete brings to the event will determine how closely they match the model. But lets not go there again - especially as I am presently relaxing in rural England - on the coast of Cornwall to be exact. Games book almost finished!!!!!
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 » Thu Sep 09, 2010 9:57 am

altius wrote:"there are as many ways of approximating that model as there are athletes to attempt it (art)"?

Simply another way of saying that every athlete brings their own individual and unique qualities to the event -so that even if they all endeavour to use the same technical model -based on bio mechanical principles - they will all 'look' different to some degree or other. This is shown clearly in the BTB dvd when you look at the range of elite athletes shown there.

For the benefit of our friend who started the discussion I would simply repeat what I said in BTB - The technical model must always be underpinned by bio mechanical principles which do not vary -so the technical model should not vary. There is only one best way to attempt to vault - however what the athlete brings to the event will determine how closely they match the model. But lets not go there again - especially as I am presently relaxing in rural England - on the coast of Cornwall to be exact. Games book almost finished!!!!!


Yup, That's what I meant. I call it an art because I think intuition and creativity are essential to dealing with the human element. While it can be helpful, I don't think science can absolutely tell us the best way to coach each individual. What is technically desirably may not always be physically possible. (I think I am plagiarizing BTB there.) Some habits, especially among successful vaulters are too ingrained to correct and must, in the athlete's own best interest, be worked around. Individual physical characteristics can also vary so much in the vault that the same model may look significantly different from one athlete to the next. There is also a psychological element that must be negotiated ... and so on, and so on. The totality of the vault is a complex system sensitive to initial causes, and I think that science is limited in this respect.

I also distrust science a little. It seems to me to have a confidence that its history does not support. How many times has science produced the last word on something only to have it overturned a short while later? Remember when all the sports nutritionists were telling us to eat as many carbohydrates as possible? The soundness of a methodology still does not account for the limitations of the human beings who have to apply it.

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Re: Advanced Level Technique Metaphor

Unread postby powerplant42 » Thu Sep 09, 2010 11:51 am

The vault is a fickle thing, it is... We are totally on the same page but didn't know it!

I'm struggling in coming up with a scientific method analogy... I'm not sure what to make the hypothesis and the procedure... It doesn't really seem to work. I'll have to think about it some more.

Let us know when your book is finished! :yes: And are you working on the advanced coaching DVD currently?
"I run and jump, and then it's arrrrrgh!" -Bubka

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Re: Advanced Level Technique Metaphor

Unread postby altius » Thu Sep 09, 2010 3:19 pm

Some habits, especially among successful vaulters are too ingrained to correct and must, in the athlete's own best interest, be worked around.

Very true Tim - but my mission and I have chosen to accept it is to try to convince as many folk as possible that it is possible for young athletes to set out on the path towards the correct technical model from day one. It is becoming increasingly clear that the secret to developing sound technique in almost everything from music to art to literacy to performance in sport is repetitive practice in which the learner is always purposefully struggling towards the correct model of performance. Repetitive practice of the basic elements of technique is THE key.

Perhaps it is also worth noting that all great artists and musicians have superb technique - the result of a deep immersion in their field and not the result of mere genetic endowment. For those interested in this area I suggest they get copies of Bounce by Matthew Syed and/or the The talent code by Daniel Coyle.

Book has to be with the publishers by Oct 31st - how long it takes to appear on the bookstalls is up to them. :yes:
Its what you learn after you know it all that counts. John Wooden


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