Tips on keeping the left leg straight?

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Tips on keeping the left leg straight?

Unread postby dlevear » Tue Feb 28, 2012 4:25 pm

Hi everybody. I am pretty convinced of how important it is to keep the left leg as straight as possible throughout the swing. The most convincing argument is that bending the leg prematurely ceases the "loading the pole" stage, and the pole unbends before one has reached the prime position. Knowing this, I think I ought to have a straighter trail leg throughout the vault (mine bends right about as I swing past the chord of the pole, see this post for video: viewtopic.php?f=39&t=23105). So, I come to you asking for advice on keeping this leg more straight throughout the swing. I have no trouble keeping the left leg straight when I do three step stiff pole approaches with a swing upside down, but when the pole starts bending my left leg seems to bend naturally. Any good drills for improving this? I often do short runs (4 steps) on a pole I can bend to practice the transition between the swing, shoulder drop, and extension.

However, with that being said, I would be interested to hear from anyone on why some of today's best vaulters (I'm thinking of Lavillenie specifically) are so successful with a (seemingly) prematurely bent left leg. Here's a jump in particular of Lavillenie's where he bends his left leg at a similar time: Would he benefit from a straighter left leg, or do the different techniques just represent two approaches to the event with neither being intrinsically better or worse?

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Re: Tips on keeping the left leg straight?

Unread postby TheBestVaulterAlive » Thu Mar 01, 2012 2:13 am

I would suggest high bar swings and long swings onto the pit. Long swings being from six steps with a pole that bends somewhat easy and a turn at the end landing on your stomach. The best advice I can give you is to keep the left leg dynamic and strong. At takeoff there must be a slight bend in the left leg from finishing a good takeoff. But as the left leg swings through, think about kicking ball. What I use to focus on was locking out my leg at the knee and keeping it straight almost throughout the entire vault.

As to your other question, Lavillenie is fast, takes off out (although flat), and has a smooth pole drop (the plant could use some work) which results in him jumping what he does.

But what you have to ask yourself now is... Is 6.03m, Lavillenie's PR, really that high? Is he that successful? Or would an athlete that jumps 6.30m and consistently vaults 6.05m be considered successful? How do we become like the second athlete? That's the kind of stuff I think about at least, but I might just be rambling.
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Re: Tips on keeping the left leg straight?

Unread postby vaultdawg2014 » Wed May 16, 2012 2:02 pm

Lavillenie is what's considered a tuck-and-shoot vaulter. His goal is to rotate as far back as possible, as quickly as possible. To achieve this body position as quickly as he needs to, he must tuck in his left leg (thereby shortening the length of the pendulum, increasing the speed of his body rotation). While a straight left leg is normally what's considered the "thing to do" because Bubka did it, we have no way of knowing what style of vaulting is more efficient because Bubka was one of a kind, and no one as phenomenal as him has tried the tuck and shoot method. Much of Bubka's success is attributed to his style of vaulting, and it was extremely efficient (obviously) but there have been many great vaulters throughout the years that have performed some sort of tuck and shoot. Sorry for the rambling, I just wanted to explain that tucking your takeoff leg isn't necessarily a bad thing. One thing to try would be to tape a balloon towards the very top of a tall pole that you can bend holding a couple feet or more down. The balloon should be on the same side of the pole as you are. As you takeoff and initiate your swing, your goal will be to swing your leg up and pop the balloon with your spike. This is a difficult drill, but incredibly effective nonetheless. It takes some tweaking to figure out exactly where you should be holding, and where the balloon should be. The great thing about this drill, is that when you figure out exactly where you're supposed to be in relation to the balloon, you have to hit a good position to actually pop the balloon. It takes a massive amount of repetition, but I've heard several vaulters rave about this unique drill, but I've never heard any place of origin or anything. This drill also got them to shoot up instead of out.

Just heard from a friend in California, that he "knows a guy who knows a guy" who has been credited with the drill. Have yet to hear anymore, or school, or coach, or even the names of the who knows who. I realize at this particular juncture that this drill sounds a bit far-fetched... I haven't tried this drill, perhaps it's worth a shot.
Last edited by vaultdawg2014 on Thu Dec 27, 2012 4:21 pm, edited 2 times in total.
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Re: Tips on keeping the left leg straight?

Unread postby stavhoppare » Tue May 22, 2012 9:35 am

Leap (jump)forward and upward at takeoff. Keep your takeoff foot toes pointed at your take off spot as long as possible, then sweep the takeoff shin/foot long until you pass the chord (straight line) of the pole. Try to bring your knees to the top had or top of the pole, NOT the chest. If you hang from a high bar or rings and bring your knees to your chest, your hips do not rise very much. Bring your knees to your hands and your hips have to follow.
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