The TAP at the top of the swing

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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Re: The TAP at the top of the swing

Unread postby PVstudent » Thu Apr 17, 2014 9:35 am

I would like to celebrate PVdaddy's last post and promised departure by sharing this video clip!

For coaches who are "in the know" listen out for a voice you will recognise and also see if you recognise two world class pole vaulters!
Every new opinion at its starting, is precisely a minority of one!

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Posts: 167
Joined: Fri Mar 21, 2014 12:00 pm
Expertise: Former College Vaulter, Current High School Coach
Lifetime Best: 15'
World Record Holder?: Renaud Lavillenie
Favorite Vaulter: All of them...

Re: The TAP at the top of the swing

Unread postby willrieffer » Thu Apr 17, 2014 11:46 am

Somewhat Divergent Anecdote...

Reading the Sternberg article brought back a lot of memories. When I was about 5 my parents bought my sister and I a rather large sized rectangular shaped trampoline. We used it constantly...and were also in somewhat constant danger. Luckily over the course there were no major injuries. I have to give its use a large measure of credit for my success in sports as its use developed a lot of body awareness, strength, and flexibility I put to use in american football, wrestling, and the vault (and where I was initially a local age group record setting high jumper). I also did quite a bit of springboard diving and once, in an incredible silly accident, I slipped fell from the three meter board at the end of the safety rails. Well, the rails were not quite long enough and while the majority of my body hit the water, my head hit the side of the pool. It created a deep and nasty gash and knocked me momentarily unconscious. But I soon came to thankfully and swam to the edge and climbed bleeding from the pool. When my mother saw my head she completely freaked out. I could have easily drowned...

In 1982 I made it to Rick Attig's PV camp at Raytown South HS in Kansas City, MO. Rick recruited me from the MO state meet where he pointed out I had just cleared 12' 6" jumping from the wrong foot. Within about one day with Rick's help I was vaulting on the correct foot in drills. By the third day we had measured full runs. For about a dozen attempts Rick kept putting me on bigger and bigger poles. Everything was going well. Then things went very very wrong. I came down the runway and planted committed to a big swing but somewhere in the middle of the vault I realized that that was a very bad idea and tried to bail. Rick later said he was yelling for me to bail as well. I was pretty far forward with my hips, but tried to drop them holding the pole and hoping to "climb" back down it. I had done this hundreds of times already in my vault practices, but this time was different. Much to my horrible surprise when I looked down to get my bearings I noticed that both the pole and I were in the air and the pole tip was rotating out of the box. I tried to jab it back down in the box but it was already out in the runway. The last thing I remember was watching the pole tip as it slid back up the runway and realizing that the pole wasn't going to stop or slow my fall. I fell flat on my back in the box...

The next things were a series of blurry memories of ambulances, EMT's, and being strapped to a backboard, and then finally a trip to the hospital. I remember thinking for sure I had broken my collar bone and scapula, but I only actually received a concussion. I could easily have been paralyzed or even killed in the accident. Also, an unflexing crossbar knocked out my front teeth, and I once cleared 14' 6" and missed the landing pad completely but hit the grass with my feet and rolled without receiving any injury whatsoever! I also have a nice little pole sized round scar on the inner thigh of my left leg from clearing a bar and then landing on the pole. I have to say that pole was not initially heading for my thigh but for an area much more sensitive and precious. Somehow I got my hands on the pole and was able to move it several inches before it impaled me and left me hanging some 15' in the air. Even now I can remember that event as unbelievable, as almost impossible as to how I could reach down and move that pole in such little time! Never doubt that fear and inspiration can be nearly one and the same. After that, for some reason, my teammates who witnessed the event all started putting butt plugs in the tops of their poles for some reason!

So it is, I take safety very seriously in this event. In the half a decade I've been coaching vaulters the worst injury I've had from my vaulters was a torn muscle by a guy who was screwing around and slipped on a wet runway. Knock on wood...

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