GRV: Lavillenie - From Stall Swing to World Record

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.
willrieffer
PV Whiz
Posts: 164
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...

GRV: Lavillenie - From Stall Swing to World Record

Unread postby willrieffer » Fri May 16, 2014 10:08 am

GRV: Lavillenie - From Stall Swing to Vault

Gravity Relative Vaulting

While I have been on PVP of late using physics to assess how vaulters vault and by extension

what works and why, it occurred to me there might be a better way to illustrate to the vaulting

community the ideas that I have been working towards, which I have come to call gravity relative

vaulting. And yet in reality GRV is more of an assessment methodology than one that encourages a

particular style or form. It may help explain why there are different successful competing

forms. It is here where I must say something about the differences between modern physics and

more classical physics.


Classical ideas were almost always looking for singular max min situations. In the case of the

pole vault, that would be that there would be one perfect form for the vault. Now, with more

modern physics, chaos theory crops up, which says complex dynamic systems may have multiple or

many stable states. And since the vault is a very complex system it may have more than one path

that leads to an end maximum potential energy state. The most clear possibilities are that there

is a high path vault, likely characterized by the PB model vaulters notably Bubka, and there is

also a low path vault which generally might be considered to be that of the double leg swingers,

here notably Lavillenie. It is also possible that the vault can be completed efficiently

over the entire range between the high path and low path, but as of this time I cannot say.


Okay, to the more simple vaulter friendly explanation of my ideas...


Lavillenie's vault for all intents and purposes for a very long time post take off looks like a vaulter

doing a stall swing. He pole breaks with the left and hangs both legs and his hips for as long

as possible, driving the pole forward before tucking and whipping on top of it. In fact, I

believe if you showed his compression phase swing to many old coaches they would think he was

bailing, because this is what most vaulters do or want to do, when they bail. Keep their hips

down and back, drop the legs, and work the left to keep pressed back and drive the pole forward

and try and get past the box and make the pit. Lavillenie has just worked this idea and method

into a full vault! Any accomplished vaulter will know this. Many single leg vaulters know how to

stall swing and why. Trying a new big pole? Stall swing. Have a bad take off? Stall swing. And

the method is always to try and get gravity to help you keep the pole down, keep it compressed

for as long as possible so you have the shortest chord to keep pole rotation going forward while

also getting your feet down.


This method of turning a stall swing into a vault is the essence of low path gravity relative

vaulting. Stay as far back and down for as long as possible working with the arms and legs to

slow the swing while driving the pole forward. As the vaulter and pole near decompression, the

vaulter now has to immediately shorten their rotational length (Lavillenie's radical tuck) to

generate a high amount of rotational speed (and make a shorter lever of his body against

muscular effort) to get on top of the vault.


Most intermediate to advanced vaulters know how to stall swing. One of the interesting things is

of late I've been watching the old soviet vaulters practice stall swings drills. Very

interesting! For these drills and so on they have to be much more active with the left hand to

"brake" their shoulders, hips, and torso's back. And so it is that while doing such wasn't

particularly a part of their model and methodology, I do believe it does show up in their

vaulting. Tradenkov in particular, as one of the slowest men to clear 6m, had to work toward more of a

stall swing sort of low path vault as he had to "tuck" to get out on top of the pole. I don't

think this was conscious, but that is only a guess. I think it's just something he learned as necessary

to his particular situation. But likewise I believe that over the course of his career Bubka

made similar although less drastic changes. Notably he became more active with the left and so pressing back and down more.

So by this assessment swing speed doesn't necessarily have to be high. What does or would high swing speed do?

Well, first and foremost its to get on top of the pole, and so really you only need enough

where you can accomplish this feat and get on top of the pole. Yet, it must be mentioned that it

does create centripetal acceleration through the top hand and thus on the pole, a force which

must be considered to have some merit in both pole compression and momentum. As I say, there are

trade offs. That force may be one that balances things between the high path and the low path, or between

fast swingers and slower ones.



Hope that helps perhaps make some sense to some how the two current WR holders could have such disparate

styles and yet still let loose over the course many huge vaults and clearances.

Indiana Jeff
PV Newbie
Posts: 1
Joined: Sat Jun 29, 2013 8:58 pm
Expertise: Former High School Vaulter
Lifetime Best: 14ft
World Record Holder?: Renaud Lavillenie
Favorite Vaulter: Joe Dial

Re: GRV: Lavillenie - From Stall Swing to World Record

Unread postby Indiana Jeff » Fri May 16, 2014 2:57 pm

Is this not the same technique Joe Dial uses to achieve his massive push off?

thttps://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wAiOmgK_Fiw

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xeDI93A477g

User avatar
Tim McMichael
PV Master
Posts: 705
Joined: Mon Apr 03, 2006 3:36 pm
Expertise: Current college and private coach. Former elite vaulter.

Re: GRV: Lavillenie - From Stall Swing to World Record

Unread postby Tim McMichael » Thu May 22, 2014 1:05 pm

Classical ideas were almost always looking for singular max min situations. In the case of the

pole vault, that would be that there would be one perfect form for the vault. Now, with more

modern physics, chaos theory crops up, which says complex dynamic systems may have multiple or

many stable states. And since the vault is a very complex system it may have more than one path

that leads to an end maximum potential energy state. The most clear possibilities are that there

is a high path vault, likely characterized by the PB model vaulters notably Bubka, and there is

also a low path vault which generally might be considered to be that of the double leg swingers,

here notably Lavillenie. It is also possible that the vault can be completed efficiently

over the entire range between the high path and low path, but as of this time I cannot say.


Stop it, Willreiffer, you are speaking to my contrarian soul.

You should look at Joe Dial's vault from years ago as another example of a low path vault. His clearance of 19'6" was done with a 15' 9" grip. Jeff Buckingham is another early example of this kind of jump. The warning I can give you from experience is that learning to vault like that is MUCH harder than learning with a Petrovian model as your foundation, and teaching it is harder still.

User avatar
KirkB
PV Maniac
Posts: 3550
Joined: Mon May 19, 2008 6:05 pm
Expertise: Former College Vaulter; Former Elite Vaulter; Former Coach; Fan
Lifetime Best: 5.34
Favorite Vaulter: Thiago da Silva
Location: Vancouver, BC, Canada

Re: GRV: Lavillenie - From Stall Swing to World Record

Unread postby KirkB » Thu May 22, 2014 5:23 pm

Tim McMichael wrote: Stop it, Willreiffer, you are speaking to my contrarian soul.

You should look at Joe Dial's vault from years ago as another example of a low path vault. His clearance of 19'6" was done with a 15' 9" grip. Jeff Buckingham is another early example of this kind of jump. The warning I can give you from experience is that learning to vault like that is MUCH harder than learning with a Petrovian model as your foundation, and teaching it is harder still.

:yes:
Spoken from someone that's been there, done that!

Tim McMichael is another early example of this kind of jump.

Tim, in hindsight (and if you weren't coached and influenced by the Dials and had the right Petrov Model coach) if you had it to do over again, would you have followed the Petrov Model instead of the Oklahoma / Dial Model?

Part of the reason I'm asking is that I recall that you considered your physical attributes (height/speed) as influential to your technique as well.

Regards,

Kirk
Run. Plant. Jump. Stretch. Whip. Extend. Fly. Clear. There is no tuck! THERE IS NO DELAY!

willrieffer
PV Whiz
Posts: 164
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: GRV: Lavillenie - From Stall Swing to World Record

Unread postby willrieffer » Mon May 26, 2014 4:15 pm

Tim McMichael wrote:
Classical ideas were almost always looking for singular max min situations. In the case of the

pole vault, that would be that there would be one perfect form for the vault. Now, with more

modern physics, chaos theory crops up, which says complex dynamic systems may have multiple or

many stable states. And since the vault is a very complex system it may have more than one path

that leads to an end maximum potential energy state. The most clear possibilities are that there

is a high path vault, likely characterized by the PB model vaulters notably Bubka, and there is

also a low path vault which generally might be considered to be that of the double leg swingers,

here notably Lavillenie. It is also possible that the vault can be completed efficiently

over the entire range between the high path and low path, but as of this time I cannot say.


Stop it, Willreiffer, you are speaking to my contrarian soul.

You should look at Joe Dial's vault from years ago as another example of a low path vault. His clearance of 19'6" was done with a 15' 9" grip. Jeff Buckingham is another early example of this kind of jump. The warning I can give you from experience is that learning to vault like that is MUCH harder than learning with a Petrovian model as your foundation, and teaching it is harder still.


The Dial video is a great example as it shows his long progression to elite status. The left arm is particularly notable as it use progresses from bent throughout to being more active. And yet Joe had that very old American style low, back, and flat carry used by guys like Seagren others in the late 60's early 70's.

Indeed several times I have said that the method is much harder to do and teach and as such I teach a modified Petrov model to my own kids. Our visual model is Lazero Borges.

Will

User avatar
Tim McMichael
PV Master
Posts: 705
Joined: Mon Apr 03, 2006 3:36 pm
Expertise: Current college and private coach. Former elite vaulter.

Re: GRV: Lavillenie - From Stall Swing to World Record

Unread postby Tim McMichael » Mon May 26, 2014 9:45 pm

Tim, in hindsight (and if you weren't coached and influenced by the Dials and had the right Petrov Model coach) if you had it to do over again, would you have followed the Petrov Model instead of the Oklahoma / Dial Model?

Part of the reason I'm asking is that I recall that you considered your physical attributes (height/speed) as influential to your technique as well.

Regards,

Kirk


I have thought about this question quite a bit. It's hard to say. If I knew then what I know now, I think I would have experimented with trying to achieve a free takeoff, but I would have left my attack angle very low and kept the tuck. I tried to take a higher angle one practice and, of course, Mr. Dial noticed that I wasn't doing what he wanted. He took me aside and said, "Tim, you are 5'8". You are never going to win a jump off the ground contest with anybody." And that was the end of that.

willrieffer
PV Whiz
Posts: 164
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: GRV: Lavillenie - From Stall Swing to World Record

Unread postby willrieffer » Mon May 26, 2014 10:21 pm

Tim McMichael wrote:
Tim, in hindsight (and if you weren't coached and influenced by the Dials and had the right Petrov Model coach) if you had it to do over again, would you have followed the Petrov Model instead of the Oklahoma / Dial Model?

Part of the reason I'm asking is that I recall that you considered your physical attributes (height/speed) as influential to your technique as well.

Regards,

Kirk


I have thought about this question quite a bit. It's hard to say. If I knew then what I know now, I think I would have experimented with trying to achieve a free takeoff, but I would have left my attack angle very low and kept the tuck. I tried to take a higher angle one practice and, of course, Mr. Dial noticed that I wasn't doing what he wanted. He took me aside and said, "Tim, you are 5'8". You are never going to win a jump off the ground contest with anybody." And that was the end of that.


Probably early in 84 I tried both the "free" take off and double leg swing, and gave up on both as I thought I had a chance to take Mike Shafe's 16' 1 3/4" MO state record as I had cleared 15' 6" by a good foot/foot and a half at Attig's 83 summer camp at Raytown South. For interest sake, I was a left lock vaulter, just out of attitude. I jacked that pole UP!

The "free" take off for me did exactly the opposite of what it was supposed to do, it threw my hips forward and I couldn't vault from it. And from the double I could not get on top of the pole in time. And while Bussabarger and I were similar vaulters there is an anecdote where I set a notable STL record where he told my dad as I came down the runway that I wouldn't make it. I was slow, almost very slow, but I made space between me and the pole early on, and hung it.

What I do, what I think I do, is look at every bit of video evidence I can and base my analysis on that. I also use logic and physics. Like I say, most of my ideas came from watching young kids not make the vault. They pull, they short the swing leg, they throw their hips forward, and so if that ruins the vault, the opposite likely makes it better. Keep yourself long, keep back, and down for the best vault.

Will

User avatar
vault3rb0y
PV Maniac
Posts: 2458
Joined: Wed Apr 26, 2006 6:59 pm
Expertise: College Coach, Former College Vaulter
Lifetime Best: 5.14m
Location: Still Searching
Contact:

Re: GRV: Lavillenie - From Stall Swing to World Record

Unread postby vault3rb0y » Mon May 26, 2014 11:17 pm

willrieffer wrote:Probably early in 84 I tried both the "free" take off and double leg swing, and gave up on both as I thought I had a chance to take Mike Shafe's 16' 1 3/4" MO state record as I had cleared 15' 6" by a good foot/foot and a half at Attig's 83 summer camp at Raytown South. For interest sake, I was a left lock vaulter, just out of attitude. I jacked that pole UP!

The "free" take off for me did exactly the opposite of what it was supposed to do, it threw my hips forward and I couldn't vault from it. And from the double I could not get on top of the pole in time.

What I do, what I think I do, is look at every bit of video evidence I can and base my analysis on that. I also use logic and physics. Like I say, most of my ideas came from watching young kids not make the vault. They pull, they short the swing leg, they throw their hips forward, and so if that ruins the vault, the opposite likely makes it better. Keep yourself long, keep back, and down for the best vault.

Will


Do you mean to tell me that you simply tried to implement the free take-off one day as a 15'6" vaulter, and since it didn't work you blamed it on the technique, not on the vaulter's implementation of it? It takes hundreds if not thousands of repetitions in the sand/grass/pit to get used to being off the ground and finishing the take off before the pole makes contact. If you just try it one day by backing your step up 8 inches, your brain is going to panic as soon as you leave the ground, and you will start pulling unconsciously, which will "throw your hips forward" and you won't be able to vault. Same with ANY element of technique, it takes several practices to get it right in it's most basic form as a beginner, and even MORE time if you have to break bad habits or reform pre-existing technique. I would have been willing to bet you could have done a free-take off successfully from 2 steps in the sand on day 1. But that is a long way off from implementing it in a full vault and truly reaping it's benefits.

I sincerely hope that you are not discounting elements of technique that are biomechanically sound, simply because it "did not work" right away with yourself or the vaulters you are coaching in the first session or two of practice. Patience is a virtue, and faith is necessary to see elements like a free take off show up in even a 3-step vault, let alone a long approach run.
The greater the challenge, the more glorious the triumph

User avatar
KirkB
PV Maniac
Posts: 3550
Joined: Mon May 19, 2008 6:05 pm
Expertise: Former College Vaulter; Former Elite Vaulter; Former Coach; Fan
Lifetime Best: 5.34
Favorite Vaulter: Thiago da Silva
Location: Vancouver, BC, Canada

Re: GRV: Lavillenie - From Stall Swing to World Record

Unread postby KirkB » Tue May 27, 2014 1:05 am

vault3rb0y wrote: Do you mean to tell me that you simply tried to implement the free take-off one day as a 15'6" vaulter, and since it didn't work you blamed it on the technique, not on the vaulter's implementation of it? It takes hundreds if not thousands of repetitions in the sand/grass/pit to get used to being off the ground and finishing the take off before the pole makes contact. If you just try it one day by backing your step up 8 inches, your brain is going to panic as soon as you leave the ground, and you will start pulling unconsciously, which will "throw your hips forward" and you won't be able to vault. Same with ANY element of technique, it takes several practices to get it right in it's most basic form as a beginner, and even MORE time if you have to break bad habits or reform pre-existing technique. I would have been willing to bet you could have done a free-take off successfully from 2 steps in the sand on day 1. But that is a long way off from implementing it in a full vault and truly reaping it's benefits.

I sincerely hope that you are not discounting elements of technique that are biomechanically sound, simply because it "did not work" right away with yourself or the vaulters you are coaching in the first session or two of practice. Patience is a virtue, and faith is necessary to see elements like a free take off show up in even a 3-step vault, let alone a long approach run.
:yes:
Those observations and that advice is PURE GOLD, 3PO! :star:

Kirk
Run. Plant. Jump. Stretch. Whip. Extend. Fly. Clear. There is no tuck! THERE IS NO DELAY!

willrieffer
PV Whiz
Posts: 164
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: GRV: Lavillenie - From Stall Swing to World Record

Unread postby willrieffer » Tue May 27, 2014 5:36 am

vault3rb0y wrote:
willrieffer wrote:Probably early in 84 I tried both the "free" take off and double leg swing, and gave up on both as I thought I had a chance to take Mike Shafe's 16' 1 3/4" MO state record as I had cleared 15' 6" by a good foot/foot and a half at Attig's 83 summer camp at Raytown South. For interest sake, I was a left lock vaulter, just out of attitude. I jacked that pole UP!

The "free" take off for me did exactly the opposite of what it was supposed to do, it threw my hips forward and I couldn't vault from it. And from the double I could not get on top of the pole in time.

What I do, what I think I do, is look at every bit of video evidence I can and base my analysis on that. I also use logic and physics. Like I say, most of my ideas came from watching young kids not make the vault. They pull, they short the swing leg, they throw their hips forward, and so if that ruins the vault, the opposite likely makes it better. Keep yourself long, keep back, and down for the best vault.

Will


Do you mean to tell me that you simply tried to implement the free take-off one day as a 15'6" vaulter, and since it didn't work you blamed it on the technique, not on the vaulter's implementation of it? It takes hundreds if not thousands of repetitions in the sand/grass/pit to get used to being off the ground and finishing the take off before the pole makes contact. If you just try it one day by backing your step up 8 inches, your brain is going to panic as soon as you leave the ground, and you will start pulling unconsciously, which will "throw your hips forward" and you won't be able to vault. Same with ANY element of technique, it takes several practices to get it right in it's most basic form as a beginner, and even MORE time if you have to break bad habits or reform pre-existing technique. I would have been willing to bet you could have done a free-take off successfully from 2 steps in the sand on day 1. But that is a long way off from implementing it in a full vault and truly reaping it's benefits.

I sincerely hope that you are not discounting elements of technique that are biomechanically sound, simply because it "did not work" right away with yourself or the vaulters you are coaching in the first session or two of practice. Patience is a virtue, and faith is necessary to see elements like a free take off show up in even a 3-step vault, let alone a long approach run.


Uh, no. It's interesting how these things take shape....

I "blamed" myself, my lack of a coach, and time. And as much as you focus on the 'free take off' aspect, that still leaves the double leg, which I also experimented with and left behind.

Will

PVstudent
PV Pro
Posts: 260
Joined: Wed Nov 16, 2005 10:53 am
Location: South Australia

Re: GRV: Lavillenie - From Stall Swing to World Record

Unread postby PVstudent » Tue May 27, 2014 8:39 am

Now this is a double leg swing in the pole support phase of the vault. Is this what is being considered?

http://youtu.be/W5uF_Cx__Nk

Good luck to all those who try this. This vaulter was quite successful with this technique. Lots of fun, but has a tendency to break poles and confidence but for this vaulter gave her success. Not a model that could be easily learned by even highly skilled gymnasts transferring to pole vault. It comes with a buyer beware warning.
Every new opinion at its starting, is precisely a minority of one!

User avatar
vault3rb0y
PV Maniac
Posts: 2458
Joined: Wed Apr 26, 2006 6:59 pm
Expertise: College Coach, Former College Vaulter
Lifetime Best: 5.14m
Location: Still Searching
Contact:

Re: GRV: Lavillenie - From Stall Swing to World Record

Unread postby vault3rb0y » Thu May 29, 2014 12:52 am

willrieffer wrote:
I "blamed" myself, my lack of a coach, and time. And as much as you focus on the 'free take off' aspect, that still leaves the double leg, which I also experimented with and left behind.

Will



The exact same advice goes for the double leg swing as it does for the free take off. Countless reps in more controllable conditions are needed for it to be implemented in the vault. I just didn't specifically cite the double legged swing in my earlier post because I don't believe in training a double legged swing the same way I believe in training a free take off. BTB offers great commentary on the double leg swing, but I'll offer up why I don't train it for you, since I doubt you own a copy of BTB. If you don't, I would suggest getting a copy because even if you don't agree with all of it, it'll help you identify exactly WHAT you don't agree with, and it's the most comprehensive PV book ever written. But anyway...

1.) Technical reason: Time wasted. Most importantly, it takes time to drop the drive knee before beginning a double legged swing. The time between the pole making contact with the box and the start of the swing MUST be minimized, because any time spent on the pole that you are not actively converting energy from your muscles into the pole by a long and continuous inversion is WASTED time (a passive phase, as described by the 640m.com model of vaulting. Check that out, too! It's another amazing resource by Roman Botcharnikov). If a dropped knee and double leg swing adds more energy into the pole, it must MORE THAN make up for the energy lost by the addition of a longer passive time phase before inversion begins. I believe that it does not.

2.) Physiological reason: Less force production. A split position between the drive knee and trail leg increases the muscular stretch in the abdominal muscles and the hip flexors. This creates a stretch reflex that activates neurological muscle spindles, which automatically increase the force production of the muscle to protect it from injury from too much stretch. Also, a stretched muscle has an ideal length that it will produce it's maximal amount of force (This is the same reason your bicep is stronger when your elbow is at a higher angle when compared to a lower angle. This is yet a more complicated issue but I'll go into it if you like. *HINT* force = # of crossbridges formed). This allows the contraction of the muscle and inversion to happen sooner, and more forcefully, than if you drop the lead knee, which would take the stretch out of these hip flexor muscles. If a dropped knee and double leg swing adds more force to the pole, it most MORE THAN make up for the loss of force production that is created by a stronger stretch in the hip flexors. I believe it does not.


Now I realize that you said you experimented with the dropped knee and left it behind, and so you don't think the double leg swing is good after your experience. That's all good and well, but be careful not to assume that just because it gave you difficulty, that it must not be the ideal way to vault! I don't believe it is the ideal way, either. But my explanation is based on the reasons above, not on personal experience or distorted and over-complicated physics.

If you're going to dig into the deep and complicated elements of physics, biomechanics, and physiology to explain a model of the vault, you have a responsibility to do so clearly, simply, and in a way that is easily understood by the average PV'er or enthusiast reading it from their couch.
The greater the challenge, the more glorious the triumph


Return to “Pole Vault - Advanced Technique”

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 2 guests