Question about "models" vs. just vaulting

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Question about "models" vs. just vaulting

Unread postby polevault5 » Tue Mar 22, 2011 11:55 am

I was curious to know about why some people are obsessed with a "pole vault model" such as the Petrov Model. In my little pole vault experience, I have noticed that most kids who try the Petrov Model end up over-bending poles, sinking, and landing shallow. Obviously the Petrov Model worked for Sergey Bubka, but Bubka was also an absolute freakish physical specimen; ran a 10.3 100m, could long jump something like 26', vertical leap of over 30', etc. However, guys like Toby Stevenson, 6.00m, Jeff Hartwig, 6.03m, Earl Bell, 5.80m or 5.90m I can't remember, Derek Miles, 5.85m, Brad Walker, 6.04m, and some other talents have never really said they try to emulate the Petrov Model and have jumped considerably high.

Basically I ask, why not just work with what you have and just pole vault? Rather than try to do what Bubka does because there are not many people in the world who can do what Bubka did.

Just a thought, I do not mean to contradict and be a jerk to anyone on this message board, I'm merely just asking for my own knowledge.
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Re: Question about "models" vs. just vaulting

Unread postby superpipe » Tue Mar 22, 2011 1:24 pm

Simple answer -> The Petrov/Bubka model creates and utilizes energy more efficiently in the vault. All other existing models have less net energy or the human body cannot not make use of the created energy to maximize height clearance.

polevault5 wrote:I have noticed that most kids who try the Petrov Model end up over-bending poles, sinking, and landing shallow.


Not to sound harsh, but you definitely don't understand the Petrov/Bubka model then.
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Re: Question about "models" vs. just vaulting

Unread postby tsorenson » Tue Mar 22, 2011 1:48 pm

This is an interesting question.

First of all, you are right. People can vault very high without a strict adherence to a free takeoff, and they can vault high with a big bottom arm and tuck. Bubka was an incredible athlete, physically and especially mentally. Not Petrov or anyone else has coached anyone near Bubka's WR in almost 20 years.

I am sure that many US coaches are using "models" that are similar or identical to Petrov's, but may call it something else, and may have learned it from someone else other than Petrov. While the elite US vaulters you mentioned may not completely follow Petrov's model (although Brad Walker is pretty close), I guarantee you that they focus on many of the same aspects of technique. I think it was Barto who said a while back that all the elite level coaches have been teaching pretty much the same technique for the last decade or so. So most of the discrepancies lie at the youth level.

Probably not many coaches are actually teaching people to overstride into an under take off with a locked-out bottom arm, but they are certainly emphasizing different things that allow this to occur habitually with their vaulters. Once a kid gets used to taking off under it is very hard to break them of that habit, so it is preferrable to never let it happen. Petrov and others with similar philosophies spend most of their time working on the carry, free pole drop, plant, and the type of takeoff that can be achieved once these elements are mastered. That is certainly different from what most young vaulters are taught...I hear a lot of coaches' feedback based around the top end, when their athletes need a lot of work on the ground. This to me is the difference between the two "models." Unfortunately many vaulters get caught between the two "models" and try to take off out while blocking, overstriding, and with a poor pole carry/drop. These are the ones who overbend poles, sink, and come up short, or who find it difficult to implement a free takeoff. Also there is a lot of misunderstanding about what Petrov coaches regarding the bottom arm, which causes most of the arguments to be very polarized.

I have had great success with emphasizing elements of Petrov's coaching with young athletes, especially if they learn it from the very beginning. I am certainly not obsessed with models, but having done it both ways I can say that there IS a difference, which can look subtle but feels totally different on the pole. Mostly it boils down to which points are you emphasizing.

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Re: Question about "models" vs. just vaulting

Unread postby rainbowgirl28 » Tue Mar 22, 2011 2:05 pm

polevault5 wrote:I have noticed that most kids who try the Petrov Model end up over-bending poles, sinking, and landing shallow.


They clearly have very little understanding of the model then. Alan Launder's book is the best resource for understanding it, and no one who reads that book and follows it would be overbending poles, sinking, and landing shallow. There is a big emphasis on straight poles and deep landings.

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Re: Question about "models" vs. just vaulting

Unread postby altius » Tue Mar 22, 2011 6:04 pm

rainbowgirl28 wrote:They clearly have very little understanding of the model then. Alan Launder's book is the best resource for understanding it, and no one who reads that book and follows it would be overbending poles, sinking, and landing shallow. There is a big emphasis on straight poles and deep landings.


Indeed there is - but if you cant afford the book buy the dvd -there is a slightly newer version from neovault, although perhaps Becca has it now - which will be generally available soon . Along with tons of film of Bubka and other world class athletes - and IZZY training - it shows seven young athletes who learned this model from the beginning and although they are not perfect - most are very ordinary 'athletes' and trained in a very amateurish way - they demonstrate many of the best elements of the model including an unloaded pole at take off. The girls ranged from a fifteen YO with limited power who jumped 3.80 after two years to a more talented athlete who jumped 4.40 at 19. She is on the back cover of the book. The three boys all aged 18 jumped 5m/5m and 5.40 in 2000 again as amateurs - they are on the front cover of the book.

It is easy to talk about what Bubka did - and many folk who never met him or even saw him vault live do - and he was/is special in many ways but the book confirms that young athletes without any special athletic ability can be helped to maximise their talent by using this model. However I would warn any who attempt to use it that it requires the attitude and persistence of a gymnast to continually practice the basic elements of the technique -especially the plant and take off - in drills -- and then to learn how to accelerate through the last six steps with high cadence. Anyone who simply grabs a pole and decides to use a prejump is doomed to failure - because if the pole is not correctly positioned at the instant it hits the box and/or the athlete has been overstriding into take off - no chance.

But it is all in the book and dvd - take it or leave it but I suggest you take a look at the dvd before you leave it - that is if you are a serious athlete or coach.
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Re: Question about "models" vs. just vaulting

Unread postby Andy_C » Wed Mar 23, 2011 3:43 am

polevault5 wrote:I was curious to know about why some people are obsessed with a "pole vault model" such as the Petrov Model. In my little pole vault experience, I have noticed that most kids who try the Petrov Model end up over-bending poles, sinking, and landing shallow. Obviously the Petrov Model worked for Sergey Bubka, but Bubka was also an absolute freakish physical specimen; ran a 10.3 100m, could long jump something like 26', vertical leap of over 30', etc. However, guys like Toby Stevenson, 6.00m, Jeff Hartwig, 6.03m, Earl Bell, 5.80m or 5.90m I can't remember, Derek Miles, 5.85m, Brad Walker, 6.04m, and some other talents have never really said they try to emulate the Petrov Model and have jumped considerably high.

Basically I ask, why not just work with what you have and just pole vault? Rather than try to do what Bubka does because there are not many people in the world who can do what Bubka did.

Just a thought, I do not mean to contradict and be a jerk to anyone on this message board, I'm merely just asking for my own knowledge.


The thing with claiming to be "part of a group" (in this case a Petrov-practitioner), making the claim does not guarantee you fit the suit. Anybody can say that they are doing the Petrov model very easily but they may know absolutely nothing about it. And in that sense the best way to answer your own questions is to educate yourself and learn more about the subject!

As for subscribing to a particular model, it helps you to ascertain what you are trying to achieve. With this technical model we have what has been scientifically researched as the most efficient way of performing a vault that is bio-mechanically possible with any able bodied human. Essentially, this is as "perfect" as it gets - the closer you are to this, the closer you will be to jumping your best.

Going with a model also helps you streamline your training. You can go out and "just jump" - then you and your athletes will be trying to deal with a plethora of problems that will hit you from all angles in training. It substantially decreases training efficiency. On the other hand, if you follow a very well worked out (and thought out) system, problems can be anticipated and dealt with in an orderly fashion. I actually compare this a lot to medicine and how the human body works. The body works in a logical manner in order to sustain itself and medicine is the understanding of that order and what happens when it goes wrong (and how to fix it). If you tell the body to "just work" in any random sequence as long as things work, it becomes very difficult for a doctor to anticipate where things go wrong let alone figure out how to fix the problem. Thankfully the pole vault is not as complicated as the human body but it is still one of the most complex technical performances in any sport. Going about in an orderly manner through progressions will just make training much much more efficient.

As for all those guys who jumped high... I'll just say that Brad Walker and Toby Stevenson did make their way down to Australia to train with Alex Parnov in 2007. And comparing Parnov and Petrov is interesting - of course two coaches, two different people = different systems. However the differences in ideal technique are absolutely negligible when compared to the plethora of other "styles" you can come up with. Were they looking for a "Russian take" on things? I don't know, but it's an interesting thought to consider.

Brad Walker made a particular comment about Parnov's training being highly efficient:
http://www.theaustralian.com.au/news/sp ... 1113089256

Just like everywhere else, here in Australia the coaches always push each other on what is the best way of training to achieve what we want. The difference is that here we don't spend any time deliberating on what needs to be achieved technically since everybody pretty much agrees on the same thing. And instead of the coaches arguing with each other on the technical models, they can spend their "thinking time" working on training models that get better results. That leaves a lot of time for each coach to simply hit the track knowing exactly what they need to do at every training session. That's how you get these amazingly efficient training models like Alan's "Adelaide Model" especially for beginners and Parnov's "Parnov Model(?, don't think he'd care what you want to call it)" for your world championship vaulters.

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Re: Question about "models" vs. just vaulting

Unread postby polevault5 » Thu Mar 24, 2011 9:31 am

superpipe, you're right, I really don't understand the Petrov Model at all. That's why I was asking. I have different thoughts about how the Petrov Model works, the biggest being the model requires more speed and strength to be able to keep one's hips behind the pole long enough to swing around to the top of the pole. I notice in all of Bubka's jumps, his left arm gets thrown back over his head but he is so strong that he more or less keeps it up and keeps it away from him and gets close to the pole to come right out the end. Personally, I love watching Tye Harvey and Jeff Hartwig jump because those two guys were really efficient and just pole vaulted, from what I have heard from guys who trained with them, they wouldn't think about anything other than running down the runway and vaulting.

Thanks for all the posts though I appreciate it, I just want to understand all of the different ways to pole vault. I've seen the French guys have huge grips, hit a HUGE take-off and still manage to clear huge bars, the Russians and Ukrainians use the Petrov Model, I don't know what Hooker does (probably Petrov), and the American guys more or less pole vault, aside from Brad Walker as someone mentioned before. Obviously if someone has the physical and mental toughness of Bubka, the Petrov Model will make him an amazing jumper if he can understand it.

It seems like as we are all no where close to perfect, we will always be searching for the "perfect" way to pole vault.
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Re: Question about "models" vs. just vaulting

Unread postby altius » Thu Mar 24, 2011 6:58 pm

"the biggest being the model requires more speed and strength to be able to keep one's hips behind the pole long enough to swing around to the top of the pole." Not true! Take a look at the young athletes, especially the girls in the BTB dvd

"from what I have heard from guys who trained with them, they wouldn't think about anything other than running down the runway and vaulting." When any vaulter - Bubka/Hooker is actually on the runway that is ALL they are/and should be thinking about.

It is what you do in training that matters - and as a guru once observed" if you dont know where you are going you will end up somewhere you dont want to be" - along with ther vaulters without a model to base their training on -upside down in the box!

If you are really interesting in understanding this event I would suggest that you do a lot more study -you will find almost everything you need to know about the Petrov model -and alternatives - on this forum.
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Re: Question about "models" vs. just vaulting

Unread postby VaultPurple » Thu Mar 24, 2011 7:58 pm

This kind of goes along with something I heard the other day. Our team was sitting in a restaurant and a guy came up and asked, "are you the ECU track team?''. When we said yes he went on and told us about how he used to vault there and had a life time best of 16'9 from back in the 70's. The point of this story is how he also told us about the relays he ran on, and how fast he was (sub 21 in the 100.. and yes his story had proof).

But then at the end he tried to give people pole vaulting advice and was like "the key is, really dive into it and jab that left arm into the pole while pulling back on the right one to get a really good bend".

Then when he left I told all the vaulters to ignore that advice, and one of the girls said "well he jumped 16'9 so it couldn't be that bad". My response was that with how fast he was if he had been using a decent technique he would have easily been jumping 19'. But he was a guy at a college built around sprinters and he just happened to be able to figure out pole vault on his own and go high because of athletic ability.

We will never break the world record until we have the most athletic vaulters, utilizing the best technique!

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Re: Question about "models" vs. just vaulting

Unread postby KYLE ELLIS » Thu Mar 24, 2011 8:02 pm

polevault5 wrote:superpipe, you're right, I really don't understand the Petrov Model at all. That's why I was asking. I have different thoughts about how the Petrov Model works, the biggest being the model requires more speed and strength to be able to keep one's hips behind the pole long enough to swing around to the top of the pole. I notice in all of Bubka's jumps, his left arm gets thrown back over his head but he is so strong that he more or less keeps it up and keeps it away from him and gets close to the pole to come right out the end. Personally, I love watching Tye Harvey and Jeff Hartwig jump because those two guys were really efficient and just pole vaulted, from what I have heard from guys who trained with them, they wouldn't think about anything other than running down the runway and vaulting.

Thanks for all the posts though I appreciate it, I just want to understand all of the different ways to pole vault. I've seen the French guys have huge grips, hit a HUGE take-off and still manage to clear huge bars, the Russians and Ukrainians use the Petrov Model, I don't know what Hooker does (probably Petrov), and the American guys more or less pole vault, aside from Brad Walker as someone mentioned before. Obviously if someone has the physical and mental toughness of Bubka, the Petrov Model will make him an amazing jumper if he can understand it.

It seems like as we are all no where close to perfect, we will always be searching for the "perfect" way to pole vault.


The Petrov model doesn't require more speed and strength, if it did it would be less effecient. The Petrov model which was founded through a scientific scope and biomechanics was invented to waste as little energy as possible from the very first step all the way until they are letting go of the pole. The only way to hold yourself behind the pole is with a slightly flexed out bottom arm, a straight arm will make you swing right away (can't even argue that point, it is easy to prove).
Ty Harvey and Hartwig didn't just run and pole vault, if so they wouldn't need a coach. I am sure that they would even take some offense to that remark. Someone like hartwig who jumped 14'7 in high school, 17'6 in college, and 19'9 as a pro didn't get there by just continously vaulting without putting thought into it.
For a select few it isn't a question of what is the most effecient way to pole vault (Petrov being one), its a question on how to teach a vaulter the most creative way possible. Everyone likes to focus on Bubka's athleticism, but there are plenty of vaulters who are just as talented as he. What isn't talked about is that he was groomed from an early age to be perfect, he had the patience and trust to perfect drills and basic movements and progressed from straight pole drills to a full 20 stride run-up.
A lot of people still aren't close to getting it, in 5 years if you keep studying this event you will regret both of these posts (been there myself!). The farther you dig the crazier you will think you are becoming, until the light bulb goes off one day and it will see so simple!
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Re: Question about "models" vs. just vaulting

Unread postby ADTF Academy » Fri Mar 25, 2011 7:31 am

The only thing I will add to this discussion is to also look at the longevity of career based on Model.


Using Bubka as the staple it took him 10 years to go from 5.85 to 6.14... It took him how many years of training to go from 0 to 5.85?


Is the model your using going to allow your body to hold up for lets say 20 years? All the great vaulters of the past have one thing in common..... Whatever they did technique wise they learned how to vault as healthy as they could for as long as they could. Face it no matter the model you use not everyone will go high.... The biggest question is how long can you and how long will you be pole vaulting.

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Re: Question about "models" vs. just vaulting

Unread postby Barto » Fri Mar 25, 2011 6:31 pm

If it looks, feels, or smells anything like bungee jumping, skydiving, or base jumping it is probably WRONG. Pole vaulting is gymnastics. Never ever give up control of your body or your head. Know where you are and what you are doing at all times. If it seems dangerous something is WRONG. If it hurts something is WRONG. The one who can stay in the game the longest usually WINS.

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