Does the Russian model represent ideal technique?

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Does the Russian model represent ideal technique?

Unread postby david bussabarger » Thu Aug 23, 2012 7:51 pm

My apologies. Being a newbie on your site it is obvious that I didn't follow correct procdure when I orginally sbumitted my article. So here is the article.


A great many coaches, vaulters and sports scientists today believe that the Russian technical model (or the Bubka/Petrov model ) represents ideal technique. Further, it is believed that this model has been proven to be ideal by physics and biomechanics.
The best way to test this proposition is to examine it using the scientific method.
We must begin then, by:




1.Observing and analyizing what elite male fiberglass vaulters actually do in the real world. For the purposes of this article any vaulter who has jumped 19' or better can be considered an elite vaulter.
This approach is based on the fact that in the scientific world all ideas must be verified by empirical evidence before they can become accepted theories. Empirical evidence can be defined as evidence derived from experience and or observation of the real world. Finally, the more empirical evidence there is to back up a given theory, the "stronger" the theory.
2.In order to achieve an accurate conclusion, observational analysis must be based on the broadest possible spectrum of elite vaulters. Keep in mind that vaulters have been jumping 19' or better for 30 yrs, so 19' or better vaulters probably number in the hundreds.
It should be immediately obvious that from a scientific point of view there are several problems with the Russian model.
1.Proof of an idea or a system of ideas, as in the Russian model,must be based on empirical evidence. The application of physics and or biomechanics can help support an given idea but cannnot prove it. Keep in mind that an idea can be based on sound physics and or biomechanics and still be wrong. This is a common problem in science when there are often several competing solutions to a given problem.
2.At best, the Russian model is only partly based on empirical evidence. For the most part it is a system of hypotheses that give specfic directions for executing the vault.
For example, the Russian model advocates the use of a "free" take off action. This means the vaulter should take off far enough away from the box so that he/she can leave the ground before the tip of the pole contacts the back of the box.
The writer has carefully examined dozens of vaults by elite male vaulters ( including many by S. Bubuka ) and found no examples of a vaulter successfully employing a "free" take off action. This is not to state that no elite male vaulter has ever successfully employed a "free' take off action. Rather, if they have , it is a very rare occurrence. The point here is that there is minimal ( if any ) empirical evidence supporting the
'free" take off concept and it's supposed superiority vs. other possible take off points.
Note, it is quite easy to determine whether or not a vaulter has employed a "free" take off action. If the vaulter's top hand is behind his /her head just after leaving the ground, the vaulter has not executed a "free" take off. This assumes the vaulter was erect, with the with the top hand directly overhead at the completion of the plant.
3.The Russian model (which is primarly based on the technique of S. Bubka ) represents a tiny percentage, at best, of elite vaulters. It is simply bad science to base a vaulting concept on such a small sampling of vaulters. This problem is particularly critical when most variations of technique that do not conform to the Russian model ( no matter how successful they are ) are simply dismissed as flaws in execution.
4. World record holder Sergey Bubka was a uniquely talented athlete. His raw speed and explosive power are unmatched. It is logical to assume that Buubka's athletic talents played a major role in his success. Therefore if another vaulter was able to precisely duplicate Bubuka's technique, he would have to have superior athletic talent vs. Bubka, in order to surpass his marks.
Conversely, if any 6m. vaulter had Bubka's athletic talents, it is certainly possible that they could or could have vaulted as high or even higher than Bubka using thier own technical style.
5. The fiberglass vault dates back to the early 60's. Since it's inception individual stylistic variations have always been the norm. This fact continues to this day and is even evident in the super elite 6m. club where every vaulter has a distinctive individual style (this true even for russian 6m. vaulters ). The fact that these variations continue to persist at this late date in the history of the event ( note, some variations, such as the "underneath" take off, date back to beginning of the fiberglass era ) is a kind of proof that there is no one ideal technical stlye or model.
Based on the broadest possible visual analysis of elite male vaulters, it is possible to isolate many elements of technique that, with few exceptions, are universally practiced.

On the other hand, this method should also make it clear that there also are many aspects of technique that remain subject to individual interpretation.

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Re: Does the Russian model represent ideal technique?

Unread postby rainbowgirl28 » Thu Aug 23, 2012 8:21 pm

I'm guessing you originally posted last Friday? My web host moved my database to a different server or something and somehow all of the posts from Friday (and probably late Thursday/early Saturday) were lost. I am very sorry about that, and I am glad that you came back and re-posted. I very rarely delete or edit posts, aside from spam bots.

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Re: Does the Russian model represent ideal technique?

Unread postby altius » Thu Aug 23, 2012 10:01 pm

I suggest that you consider the idea that a "Technical model" MUST be based on biomechanical principles = as the Petrov/Bubka model clearly is - an athletes "style" simply reflects their unique qualities, both physical and mental, and overlays that model The term "technical style" then becomes meaningless. All discussed in some detail in BTB2!

I also suggest that you - and anyone else who wants to join in the discussion you hope to start - should try and catch up on some of the critical contributions of PVP dealing with this issue, before going much further. Good luck and welcome to the club. :yes:

Oh and please - do not go down the 'red herring' path that Bubka's performances were purely the result of athleticism. He has stated categorically on several occasions that it was his technical model and his training that lead to those performances. He also suggested that there were several athletes competing during his career with superior physical qualities to his.

Finally just a teaser- those of you in the US may have the opportunity early next year to see the Petrov/Bubka - Botcharnikov - model in action - although with a female athlete - same difference as far as the technical model goes!
Last edited by altius on Fri Aug 24, 2012 12:50 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Does the Russian model represent ideal technique?

Unread postby Andy_C » Fri Aug 24, 2012 10:06 am

Hello and welcome to the website,

david bussabarger wrote: 1.Observing and analyizing what elite male fiberglass vaulters actually do in the real world. For the purposes of this article any vaulter who has jumped 19' or better can be considered an elite vaulter.
This approach is based on the fact that in the scientific world all ideas must be verified by empirical evidence before they can become accepted theories. Empirical evidence can be defined as evidence derived from experience and or observation of the real world. Finally, the more empirical evidence there is to back up a given theory, the "stronger" the theory.


I think this is the first mistake and misconception about the whole "Russian issue"... You do not have to "jump Russian" to jump 19 feet. Achieving 19 feet requires a mix of technical competency and athleticism, this is in the end an athletic event. However the argument from the supporters of the technical model is that whoever the vaulter, a 19ft elite male to a 9ft high school female, will jump higher using these principles.

With regards to study integrity: The 19-foot inclusion criteria for the study has interference from variables that do not have any relation to technique. You are measuring a mixture of athleticism and technical competence with the 19 foot criteria. And the mixture itself is not consistent among all of the vaulters with some relying on athleticism and some more technical than others. In the end the results will neither be precise nor accurate.


david bussabarger wrote:2.In order to achieve an accurate conclusion, observational analysis must be based on the broadest possible spectrum of elite vaulters. Keep in mind that vaulters have been jumping 19' or better for 30 yrs, so 19' or better vaulters probably number in the hundreds.
It should be immediately obvious that from a scientific point of view there are several problems with the Russian model.
1.Proof of an idea or a system of ideas, as in the Russian model,must be based on empirical evidence. The application of physics and or biomechanics can help support an given idea but cannnot prove it. Keep in mind that an idea can be based on sound physics and or biomechanics and still be wrong. This is a common problem in science when there are often several competing solutions to a given problem.
2.At best, the Russian model is only partly based on empirical evidence. For the most part it is a system of hypotheses that give specfic directions for executing the vault.
For example, the Russian model advocates the use of a "free" take off action. This means the vaulter should take off far enough away from the box so that he/she can leave the ground before the tip of the pole contacts the back of the box.
The writer has carefully examined dozens of vaults by elite male vaulters ( including many by S. Bubuka ) and found no examples of a vaulter successfully employing a "free" take off action. This is not to state that no elite male vaulter has ever successfully employed a "free' take off action. Rather, if they have , it is a very rare occurrence. The point here is that there is minimal ( if any ) empirical evidence supporting the
'free" take off concept and it's supposed superiority vs. other possible take off points.
Note, it is quite easy to determine whether or not a vaulter has employed a "free" take off action. If the vaulter's top hand is behind his /her head just after leaving the ground, the vaulter has not executed a "free" take off. This assumes the vaulter was erect, with the with the top hand directly overhead at the completion of the plant.


If this is the type empirical evidence that you are asking for it will be very difficult to prove anything about anything in the pole vault. Physics and biomechanics do support the idea but you are correct in that they cannot prove it evidentially, at least not in the way you have set up the study.

However, if we're going down this path I would like to point out that the "Russian model" is indeed a system of ideas. Many of the ideas are built from isolated physics and biomechanics concepts. These concepts can and have been empirically assessed. If I may also add, the training theory is based on microcosm-macrocosm concepts when applied to large group of people for any sociology majors out there. Which explains why it should "work for everybody." Anyway, the pole vault itself does not happen in isolation. But many of it's elements can be isolated for further study. This is where the physics gets involved. For instance the physics can prove to you that having a free takeoff will (in isolation) give you a different trajectory compared to taking off under. You can actually find this particular physics explanation in BtB2 if I'm not mistaken. Anyway, this trajectory is favorable compared to taking off under. Similar things can be done with the approach run, the plant, the jump, the swing etc.

As for your study, I probably probably would not be surprised if statistically the 19 foot vaulters had a wide range of take off spots from under to out. While the take off spot is very important, but accomplishing a good one will not guarantee a 19 foot vault.

With the statement that none of the elite vaulters had a free take off, I would refer to, "correlation does not imply causality" since there are countless causative variables for everything to be right for a vaulter to jump 19 feet. Also, what videos was the author watching? Did they ever see Markov? Tsarasov? Gataullin? Hooker (when he's good)? Lavillenie? Borges? Maybe not perfectly free and definitely not a pre-jump all the time (except Lavillenie) but still pretty good.

You can try and assess each one of these variables individually, but to try and assess everything together would just lead into a convoluted mess. That would be much like trying to gain data to design wind-resistant buildings by jumping into a hurricane. You're much better off with a little scale model and a wind turbine to get the information you're looking for. The little fan is not a hurricane in size and character but it will give you very useful data. Collect enough data through controlled, measurable experiments and you may have a building plan... or a technical model.


david bussabarger wrote:3.The Russian model (which is primarly based on the technique of S. Bubka ) represents a tiny percentage, at best, of elite vaulters. It is simply bad science to base a vaulting concept on such a small sampling of vaulters. This problem is particularly critical when most variations of technique that do not conform to the Russian model ( no matter how successful they are ) are simply dismissed as flaws in execution.


I would rephrase that first part to, "The technique of Bubka was based on the pursuit of the Russian technical model."
Out of the total pool of elite vaulters, only a percentage are Russian or Soviet. However the influence of "the Russian technical model" is quite widespread. Many successful countries such as Australia, Germany and Poland have many coaches that adhere to a lot of the technical and teaching principles. Even in the US there are a lot of people taking up a lot of it's ideas. The manifestation and materialization of this is actually quite subjective. You can argue that somebody is not following the model because they have failed to do something to the letter, even though they were trying to follow it! The problem with comparing everybody to Bubka is that he was/is the best (as a total package) of executing the model. Everybody else compared to him can either be not as good at following the model or not following the model depending on who you ask. This ties back with the free take off issue. Just because the author did not see it doesn't mean people aren't trying... and it doesn't mean people aren't coming close to accomplishing it either!

When you try to critique technique you have to be able to draw the line on how good something is to how good it could have been. A real life example:
A jump may have been successful, but if it was under then that is a flaw of execution. If the takeoff was out then potentially the vaulter may blow through (provided the quality of the run and jump), but then they could get onto an even bigger pole and jump and even greater height.

The problem with not having a technical model is that you have no measuring stick to how good something is technically. A coach who doesn't follow a technical model that makes suggestions about technique is a lot like an atheist who is giving a religious sermon. Also since height result is a measure of technical competency and athleticism, it cannot be used as a direct gold-standard measurement of technique. No technical model means there's no real idea how to measure or make a technical improvement. If somebody doesn't know that taking off under is wrong then what clue would they have in trying to fix an athletes take off placement. And I bet you if you surveyed every 6 meter vaulter there would be a statistical significance in how important they consider they take off placement.

Anyway, the coach basically taking shots in the dark with "why don't you try this?" approach... Or "if I try every hole and it finally fits then it's cool" - that one doesn't sound very scientific either. But in the end, I think a coach would care less for a sample size than they would for a direction or specific instruction for technical improvement based on biomechanical principles.


david bussabarger wrote:4. World record holder Sergey Bubka was a uniquely talented athlete. His raw speed and explosive power are unmatched. It is logical to assume that Buubka's athletic talents played a major role in his success. Therefore if another vaulter was able to precisely duplicate Bubuka's technique, he would have to have superior athletic talent vs. Bubka, in order to surpass his marks.
Conversely, if any 6m. vaulter had Bubka's athletic talents, it is certainly possible that they could or could have vaulted as high or even higher than Bubka using thier own technical style.


I would dispute that last statement. If you are approaching this from a purely theoretical perspective, you would look at it like a machine/black-box system. If two machines were to have the same power output (ie. athleticism), how could one outperform the other if it is mechanically less efficient?

david bussabarger wrote:5. The fiberglass vault dates back to the early 60's. Since it's inception individual stylistic variations have always been the norm. This fact continues to this day and is even evident in the super elite 6m. club where every vaulter has a distinctive individual style (this true even for russian 6m. vaulters ). The fact that these variations continue to persist at this late date in the history of the event ( note, some variations, such as the "underneath" take off, date back to beginning of the fiberglass era ) is a kind of proof that there is no one ideal technical stlye or model.
Based on the broadest possible visual analysis of elite male vaulters, it is possible to isolate many elements of technique that, with few exceptions, are universally practiced.

On the other hand, this method should also make it clear that there also are many aspects of technique that remain subject to individual interpretation.


Altius makes an excellent point to differentiate style and technique. They are not the same thing.


Now, if I may be so bold... May I suggest another study? ;)

To clarify:
The gold standard of any study is a double-blinded randomised control trial.
The hypothesis is that the "Russian technical model" is superior in technical efficacy over other training systems, be it an organised system or one completely based on "individuality"

Methodology:
Take two athletes of equal athletic abilities and background. Give one to a coach who follows the technical model and another to a coach who does not. See which athlete jumps higher after a given period of time. Repeat until results are statistically significant.

It's a bit messy but this is probably the only way you can prove anything at a "global scale." This way you are taking the athletic factor completely out of the situation (theoretically) and directly comparing two training systems. It will also be much more fun than looking at numbers all and videos day :D

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Re: Does the Russian model represent ideal technique?

Unread postby kcvault » Fri Aug 24, 2012 12:44 pm

Take two athletes of equal athletic abilities and background. Give one to a coach who follows the technical model and another to a coach who does not. See which athlete jumps higher after a given period of time. Repeat until results are statistically significant.


The athlete that is mentally stronger will jump higher in this proposed study regardless of the model. Without having identical twins this study would be impossible. Also there is many variations of every technique and how every coach coaches it.

Looking at the 6m club chart Bubka is the only one to run 9.94m a second into the take off (So even though I agree he had superior technique until another 6ft tall vaulter runs that fast into the take off using a non petrov technique assuming they're good at the technique they use it will be impossible to know.) Toby Stevenson ran 9.52m a second into the take off to jump 6 m. (http://www.polevaultpower.com/6mclub.php) It is obvious looking at the chart of super elite vaulters that the tallest fastest pole vaulters jumped the highest.

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Re: Does the Russian model represent ideal technique?

Unread postby vaultman18 » Fri Aug 24, 2012 3:27 pm

Hash, hash, hash and rehash! :) That is what pvp is for I suppose.

david bussabarger wrote:the Russian model advocates the use of a "free" take off action. This means the vaulter should take off far enough away from the box so that he/she can leave the ground before the tip of the pole contacts the back of the box.


Very good explanation, but how much off the ground 1 millimeter, 1 inch or 1 foot?

david bussabarger wrote:it is quite easy to determine whether or not a vaulter has employed a "free" take off action. If the vaulter's top hand is behind his /her head just after leaving the ground, the vaulter has not executed a "free" take off


Why this redefining of the free take off? As soon as the tip of the pole contacts the back of the box the top hand is pushed behind the head, no matter where you take off from. It is impossible to stop this action from happening.

david bussabarger wrote:The fact that these variations continue to persist at this late date in the history of the event ( note, some variations, such as the "underneath" take off, date back to beginning of the fiberglass era ) is a kind of proof that there is no one ideal technical stlye or model.


So the fact that vaulters take off under proves the free take off is not superior, is this correct???? The fact that many vaulters even today fail to perform a perfect free take off 100% of the time, or even better, the fact Bubka himself ever took off under means the free take off is not ideal technique, is this right?

If in fact the free take off is not ideal, what is? The other options are "out" or "under". Please if you will, lay out the advantage of either over a free take off.

The effects of an under take off are very clear and very counter productive. The first major issue is what the bottom arm does when the take off is under. The bottom arm is forced to push the pole away to preserve the jump. Now if this is trained by design, the end result is a vaulter who pushes the pole and delays the swing/inversion. This should be avoided at all cost as there is precious little time for pushing and delaying swing/inversion. This action will lead to further undesirable actions such as tucking. The vaulter has no choice but to make up lost time by tucking that was used while taking off under and pushing the pole to delay the swing/inversion. The only options are to 1) not invert or 2) pull the knees to the chest to speed up the inversion. So with all these technical errors in the vault the end result is severely limited. A vaulter that trains and intentionally employs an under take off limits themselves in absolute possible grip height, pole stiffness and push off the pole.

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Re: Does the Russian model represent ideal technique?

Unread postby Andy_C » Fri Aug 24, 2012 7:58 pm

kcvault wrote:
Take two athletes of equal athletic abilities and background. Give one to a coach who follows the technical model and another to a coach who does not. See which athlete jumps higher after a given period of time. Repeat until results are statistically significant.


The athlete that is mentally stronger will jump higher in this proposed study regardless of the model. Without having identical twins this study would be impossible.


Like a lot of other things, mentality does not just end with "mentality." It has numerous biopsychosocial components. The two most prominent will be the individual temperament which will be a reflection of a person's genetics. And the second will be the psychosocial component, how a person was raised and is trained. Training a person can change their mentality, all depending on how good or bad the training is. I agree that mentality is very important. The athlete with a stronger mentality is likely to win. But the training is going to contribute to that mentality.

People talk about a technical model and think it all ends at technique. But the technical model also guides the training and learning of the task. Because of this link, the technical model becomes an organic part of the training. It becomes part of the vaulter's mind. The training aspect of the technical model is essentially a form of brainwashing where you are focusing the athlete's mind and body to the exact point that you want. And because the result will always reflect the training, the model will always reflect the result. It may not happen perfectly, but you cannot separate them.

My argument would be that good training, as a result of a good model, will actually help foster a better mentality from what is already hopefully a mentally sound individual. Only in absolute extremes does something happen "regardless" of everything else. They do happen but if you conduct a study to statistical significance these will be outliers that will not count.

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Re: Does the Russian model represent ideal technique?

Unread postby altius » Fri Aug 24, 2012 9:34 pm

Andy_C wrote:

Like a lot of other things, mentality does not just end with "mentality." It has numerous biopsychosocial components. The two most prominent will be the individual temperament which will be a reflection of a person's genetics. And the second will be the psychosocial component, how a person was raised and is trained. Training a person can change their mentality, all depending on how good or bad the training is. I agree that mentality is very important. The athlete with a stronger mentality is likely to win. But the training is going to contribute to that mentality.

People talk about a technical model and think it all ends at technique. But the technical model also guides the training and learning of the task. Because of this link, the technical model becomes an organic part of the training. It becomes part of the vaulter's mind. The training aspect of the technical model is essentially a form of brainwashing where you are focusing the athlete's mind and body to the exact point that you want. And because the result will always reflect the training, the model will always reflect the result. It may not happen perfectly, but you cannot separate them.

My argument would be that good training, as a result of a good model, will actually help foster a better mentality from what is already hopefully a mentally sound individual. Only in absolute extremes does something happen "regardless" of everything else. They do happen but if you conduct a study to statistical significance these will be outliers that will not count.

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Re: Does the Russian model represent ideal technique?

Unread postby kcvault » Sat Aug 25, 2012 12:19 am

Like a lot of other things, mentality does not just end with "mentality." It has numerous biopsychosocial components. The two most prominent will be the individual temperament which will be a reflection of a person's genetics. And the second will be the psychosocial component, how a person was raised and is trained. Training a person can change their mentality, all depending on how good or bad the training is. I agree that mentality is very important. The athlete with a stronger mentality is likely to win. But the training is going to contribute to that mentality.

People talk about a technical model and think it all ends at technique. But the technical model also guides the training and learning of the task. Because of this link, the technical model becomes an organic part of the training. It becomes part of the vaulter's mind. The training aspect of the technical model is essentially a form of brainwashing where you are focusing the athlete's mind and body to the exact point that you want. And because the result will always reflect the training, the model will always reflect the result. It may not happen perfectly, but you cannot separate them.

My argument would be that good training, as a result of a good model, will actually help foster a better mentality from what is already hopefully a mentally sound individual. Only in absolute extremes does something happen "regardless" of everything else. They do happen but if you conduct a study to statistical significance these will be outliers that will not count.

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Not disagreeing but simple saying there are to many variable to determine what model is superior. The one thing that will always remain constant is to jump 6m you have to be fast. Also I would say Renaud Lavillenie is one of the mentally strongest vaulters I have ever seen even though he follows a supposed inferior model. I think a lot of time on this message board time is spent arughing about technique which confuses a lot of high school vaulters that look to this message board for guidance (a 5ft vaulter does not need to be concerned with concepts like a free take off.) Regardless of the technique you want to be fast, catch the pole as high as possible at take off and get inverted with out leaning back. No model well ever be proven superior because there well always be things that we learn in time that well change our outlook.

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Re: Does the Russian model represent ideal technique?

Unread postby vaultman18 » Sat Aug 25, 2012 2:02 am

kcvault wrote:I think a lot of time on this message board time is spent arughing about technique which confuses a lot of high school vaulters that look to this message board for guidance (a 5ft vaulter does not need to be concerned with concepts like a free take off.)


Really??? You think that when teaching younger vaulters proper fundamentals a free take off is not important. This is the advanced forum therefore technical model is discussed in detail.

The free take off is part of the foundation of proper pole vault technique. It can not be ignored or dismissed as technical mumbo-jumbo that gets in the way.

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Re: Does the Russian model represent ideal technique?

Unread postby altius » Sat Aug 25, 2012 6:18 am

[quote="kcvault"][quote] “ It is obvious looking at the chart of super elite vaulters that the tallest fastest pole vaulters jumped the highest.’

Unfortunately it is not quite as obvious as you claim –unless of course you mean that anyone over 5'11” qualifies as ‘tall’ in the vault.
Bubka is 1.83 - a smidgeon over 6', Markov is 1.81 - barely 6' - these are 2 of the 3 highest vaulters in history; but note Victor Chystiakov -world junior champion in 1994 with 5.70m, fifth in the 2000 Olympics and who finished his career with a pr of 5.90 (5.95 in a street meet). Victor was 6'7" and just possibly the fastest elite vaulter in the world over 40/50/100 metres -according to Alex Parnov he was certainly faster than Dima over those distances. Why didn't he jump higher?? Poor technique! For various reasons - possibly the fact that he was achieving excellent results from a young age - he was allowed to get away with technical errors. Unfortunately his time with Petrov - who believed Victor was capable of jumping 6.40m if he could master the 'model' - from May 1999 until early 2000 - was not long enough to sort things out, so he never fulfilled his physical potential.

I am not sure of Dean Starkey's height - but cannot believe he was shorter than either Sergey or Dima and there is some evidence that he was at least as fast as both of them - off the runway - (because that is an issue I will address below). Bubka believed that Dean was a strong and as fast as he was. It is also worth noting that Dean's performance in the 97 world champs - where he competed incredibly well against both Tarasov and Bubka - confirmed that he had the mental toughness to succeed at the highest level. What let him down? IMHO opinion it was his technical model –it was not bad –just not as efficient as it could have been.

It might even be worth looking at Paul Burgess – another member of the 6m club. He was not tall by vaulting standards and may well have been the slowest elite vault in history – as measured on the track and not the vault runway!

You also said “Looking at the 6m club chart Bubka is the only one to run 9.94m a second into the take off (So even though I agree he had superior technique until another 6ft tall vaulter runs that fast into the take off using a non petrov technique assuming they're good at the technique they use it will be impossible to know.) Toby Stevenson ran 9.52m a second into the take off to jump 6 m.”

Two points – You may be correct about the 9.94 but I would like to know where you got that figure from. Secondly I would make the point – often forgotten - that the Petrov model does not begin with the take off –it begins with the first step, and then emphasizes the importance of the pole carry, running technique and especially the planting action of the pole. So I suspect that the myths about Bubka’s ‘blazing’ speed derive from the fact that because of his efficiency in all of these elements he was able to continue to accelerate through to take off – while many of his contemporaries slowed down over the last ten metres.

Perhaps we should start looking at "Run up efficiency" – an athlete’s speed running without a pole/running with a pole but not planting/running and planting in an actual vault. I suspect you would find considerable decrements with many athletes because I have a feeling that this is an area that is often neglected in training.

Re introducing the free take off to young athletes. It is clear – just check with the US coaches and young athletes I have worked with over the past ten years - that it is possible to introduce even beginners to this element of technique - even asking them to do 'pre jump' drills from the very beginning - not because you expect them to be able to pre jump in a full vault because that is indeed very difficult - but because the drill teaches all of the elements of a good take off - as shown in the BTB2 dvd and on pages in BTB2. In both book and dvd you can see Mitch Fox demonstrating the drill and then note the take off of seven young Adelaide vaulters – the back cover shots of Wendy Young are especially revealing.

In fact in sports teaching it is generally accepted that the ‘working’ technical models used to introduce beginners to an event should lead naturally to the advanced technical models used by elite athletes –they must never be dead end models as often appears to be the case.
Its what you learn after you know it all that counts. John Wooden

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kcvault
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Re: Does the Russian model represent ideal technique?

Unread postby kcvault » Sat Aug 25, 2012 9:52 am

http://www.polevaultpower.com/6mclub.php

It shows the velocity into the take off for most of the 6m jumpers on this chart. The slowest velocity into the take off was Tim Mack at 9.5m a second into the take off which is incredibly fast, or9.47m a second by Igor Tradenkov who is 190cm tall. Not all fast vaulters jump high, but all 6m jumpers are really fast.

You also said “Looking at the 6m club chart Bubka is the only one to run 9.94m a second into the take off (So even though I agree he had superior technique until another 6ft tall vaulter runs that fast into the take off using a non petrov technique assuming they're good at the technique they use it will be impossible to know.) Toby Stevenson ran 9.52m a second into the take off to jump 6 m.”

Two points – You may be correct about the 9.94 but I would like to know where you got that figure from. Secondly I would make the point – often forgotten - that the Petrov model does not begin with the take off –it begins with the first step, and then emphasizes the importance of the pole carry, running technique and especially the planting action of the pole. So I suspect that the myths about Bubka’s ‘blazing’ speed derive from the fact that because of his efficiency in all of these elements he was able to continue to accelerate through to take off – while many of his contemporaries slowed down over the last ten metres.


I have never herd of a coach who did not think that a high pole carry and free pole drop where not an important part of the pole vault. Getting rid of inefficiency down the runway is universal to all technique.

am not sure of Dean Starkey's height - but cannot believe he was shorter than either Sergey or Dima and there is some evidence that he was at least as fast as both of them - off the runway - (because that is an issue I will address below). Bubka believed that Dean was a strong and as fast as he was. It is also worth noting that Dean's performance in the 97 world champs - where he competed incredibly well against both Tarasov and Bubka - confirmed that he had the mental toughness to succeed at the highest level. What let him down? IMHO opinion it was his technical model –it was not bad –just not as efficient as it could have been.


Dean Starkey ran 10.5 (and is just under 6'2") seconds in the hundred I have herd Bubka ran 10.2 seconds in the hundred don't know if this is true but it's the most conservative number I have herd of bubka's speed. Starkey had already jumped 16'3 in high school with a coach who did not understand pole vault so when he started focusing on technique he was at a disadvantage. Being strong and mentally tough earned him a bronze medal at the world championships when the other two guys were bubka and tarasov. He also had a long swing and great penultimate step that helped him with some of the inefficiency's in his jump. He would never say he was a great technician but I know he is a firm believer in the petrov style of jumping.

Really??? You think that when teaching younger vaulters proper fundamentals a free take off is not important. This is the advanced forum therefore technical model is discussed in detail.

The free take off is part of the foundation of proper pole vault technique. It can not be ignored or dismissed as technical mumbo-jumbo that gets in the way.


I would take this vaulter off the runway work on high bar, the three step plant, sprint mechanics, slide box were I would emphasize high hands and taking off from the right place, sand vault were the take off is automatically free and then get them comfortable taking off into the pit. A 5ft vaulter barely has the courage to take off the ground how could they understand and apply the concept of a free take off. To teach a beginner you have to focus on one thing at a time until what they are focusing on is perfected and then move onto the next thing.

--Kasey
Last edited by kcvault on Sat Aug 25, 2012 12:45 pm, edited 4 times in total.


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