Placement vs. Pressure

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Placement vs. Pressure

Unread postby ssdogg_pv » Tue Jul 14, 2015 10:31 am

I have done some serious reading on PVP to know what type of conversation will become of this post. I would like to add my two cents in and possibly put it to rest. Here it goes.

Is a good drive phase of the vault not directly correlated to that of the timing of the vaulters plant (including the placement of the bottom arm)? Is it not the bottom arm that gives the vaulter "space" in order to initiate the drive phase (vaulters posture erect, drive knee rising and chest moving up with and elongated trail leg ) and then later in the vault have the ability to swing up under the pole?

It seems that there is a huge debate in whether or not the bottom arm pushes the pole throughout the vault or if it's stagnant and non active. My argument is against neither of those perspectives. Rather that the vaulter can only move a certain size pole with the amount of energy he/she leaves the ground with. Combine a good approach run with a well timed plant (with good hand position), high take off point, and an active jumping action through take off .. the vaulters the drive/swing phases should come naturally regardless of what the bottom arm "seems" to be doing.

One thing in "my opinion" that must be noted however is that regardless of pushing or holding action, the vaulter must have some sort of space with the pole moving towards vertical to initiate effective drive/swing phases of the vault. That "space", the way that I see it, is almost used as a leverage point for the trail leg to have the ability to be long and powerful through the downswing.

take a look at the following video.. no matter whether its a "huge" bottom arm or not so active... there is some sort of space created at takeoff by every elite vaulter which in turn allows the top of their vault to be effective.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UfGIZX7enN8

Again.. Just my two cents.

Regards,

Steve

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Re: Placement vs. Pressure

Unread postby KirkB » Tue Jul 14, 2015 6:36 pm

Thanks for posting this PV mix vid, Steve. It's a good one, with many elite vaulters included, and with rapid-fire between each of their vaults. I also appreciate the bar heights close-captioned!

And thanks for your thoughtful comments. However, I will caution you that despite your good attempt, I doubt very much that this thread will settle this issue "once-and-for-all"!

The reason for my skepticism is that there's several things in play here, in an infinite number of combinations. First, there's the vaulter's intent. What is he trying to do? Then there's what the vaulter actually does, which might not be quite the same as what's evident in a vid (cameras can and do lie ... a bit). Next, there's the eye of the beholder. All of us (myself included) see PV vids through the eyes of what we know and what we've felt (by first-hand experience) and seen in the past. This is called "viewer's bias". So through our rose-colored glasses, we see what we want to see, or what we thought we saw (as opposed to what the vid actually showed). It's very hard (if not impossible) to cut through all these biases to get to the absolute truth.

ssdogg_pv wrote: ... regardless of pushing or holding action ...

Why must there be a pushing or holding action? There could also be a lack of pushing or holding. Or is that what you mean? :confused:

ssdogg_pv wrote: ... the vaulter must have some sort of space with the pole moving towards vertical to initiate effective drive/swing phases of the vault.

Isn't "... the vaulter must have some sort of space ..." just another way of saying "... the vaulter must bend the pole ..."? :confused:

ssdogg_pv wrote: That "space", the way that I see it, is almost used as a leverage point for the trail leg to have the ability to be long and powerful through the downswing.

This is a chicken-or-egg situation. You are only stating the scenario where the "space" is needed in order to have a good downswing. Have you considered that it might also be true that the good downswing is what bends the pole (creates the space)?

ssdogg_pv wrote: .. the vaulters the drive/swing phases should come naturally regardless of what the bottom arm "seems" to be doing.

Can you reword this sentence please? It might be missing a couple words, obscuring what you meant to say.

Kirk
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Re: Placement vs. Pressure

Unread postby ssdogg_pv » Wed Jul 15, 2015 1:57 pm

Kirk,

I appreciate you taking the time to reply. Allow me to respond to your comments.

"Isn't "... the vaulter must have some sort of space ..." just another way of saying "... the vaulter must bend the pole ..."?
- When I refer to "space" I am talking about the area between the pole and the vaulter after takeoff. Sure bending the pole is important in fiberglass pole vaulting but one can bend the pole without having any space for the chest to push through. A good representation of this could be the following link where the vaulter is bending the pole and producing a downswing but there is no space for him to swing under the pole. No space cuts the swing off at a certain point while also diffusing the energy that was initially imputed into the pole when the vaulter left the ground.

viewtopic.php?f=37&t=17360


"This is a chicken-or-egg situation. You are only stating the scenario where the "space" is needed in order to have a good downswing. Have you considered that it might also be true that the good downswing is what bends the pole (creates the space)?"
-is a powerful swing not the sequential effect of having an efficient amount of space through the drive phase? The downswing will most certainly aid in implementing more "load" into the pole, sure, but how could the downswing be the initial force that "bends the pole"? One does not have to have an abundance of space to have a good downswing. However for the downswing to be long, powerful, and elastic.. there must (in my mind) be some "space" for the vaulter to be able to use that power without the pole cutting him off.

"Can you reword this sentence please? It might be missing a couple words, obscuring what you meant to say." - In reference to the drive/ phase coming naturally
- this statement meant solely that the in air phases of the vault are a result of what is done on the ground. If a vaulter puts himself into a good position at takeoff by producing a solid approach run where he can convert his horizontal speed into vertical lift with correct placement of his arms at the plant, his chest should naturally rise upwards and towards the pit producing an elastic trail leg "naturally". Essentially just saying that each phase of the vault is a product of what happened before it.

Let me know if I am too far off. I realize that the vault is coached and is seen by a skewed lens depending on who is watching. I am just speaking on how i see the segment through my eyes.

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Re: Placement vs. Pressure

Unread postby KirkB » Wed Jul 15, 2015 3:29 pm

ssdogg_pv wrote: viewtopic.php?f=37&t=17360

SSDog, most of what I have to say about this issue has already been said in this thread that you quoted. The best post in that thread is the second last one, by Andy ...
Andy_C wrote:Oh and for the record, there really isn't anything particularly wrong with face-planting into the pole. You could be doing good things (massive chest penetration) or bad things (taking off under) that can cause this to happen. The face plant in this case is not the actual problem, the problem lies elsewhere. I would encourage a person to attack and drive up through their open chest as much as possible at take off. If everything is right, it will cause your face to have a "close encounter" with the pole like in Golfdane's Bubka video.

That entire thread (from 6 years ago) is worth a re-read. Thanks for quoting it. Not much has changed since then, but the WR was overtaken by a non-Petrover (RL), lending some credence to some alternate bottom-arm techniques.

Since then, I still haven't changed my mind on what I consider optimal technique, but I am more tolerant of the RL technique (how can you argue against the technique used to set a WR?).

KirkB wrote: Isn't "... the vaulter must have some sort of space ..." just another way of saying "... the vaulter must bend the pole ..."?

ssdogg_pv wrote: - When I refer to "space" I am talking about the area between the pole and the vaulter after takeoff. Sure bending the pole is important in fiberglass pole vaulting but one can bend the pole without having any space for the chest to push through.

Yes, but I am assuming that the vaulter has good (upright/forwards-leaning) posture on takeoff. I made this clear in your quoted thread, but not in this thread. Assume that you must have good takeoff posture (and re-read Andy's point) and you will understand my point better.

KirkB wrote: This is a chicken-or-egg situation. You are only stating the scenario where the "space" is needed in order to have a good downswing. Have you considered that it might also be true that the good downswing is what bends the pole (creates the space)?


ssdogg_pv wrote:-is a powerful swing not the sequential effect of having an efficient amount of space through the drive phase?

No, it's not. By "sequential", I think you mean that the powerful swing must come as a result of the space being opened up. As I said, a good downswing (assuming good takeoff posture) will generate the power (along with the power from the run and takeoff) to bend the pole, thus creating the space between the vaulter and the pole.

ssdogg_pv wrote: ... how could the downswing be the initial force that "bends the pole"? One does not have to have an abundance of space to have a good downswing.

Again, it's a chicken-and-egg paradox. And remember the pre-condition needed - good takeoff posture. The primary "initial force" is the power from the run and takeoff. After that, it's the downswing. Or said a bit differently, it's the force of the top arm, all the way down the body to the trail leg foot. Swinging as long and as vigorously as possible is what gives the pole even more bend, and opens up even more space. The bottom arm doesn't need to play any part in this action at all - even if it might look like it to viewers of PV vids. In some cases (RL) the vaulter is doing something with the bottom arm, but in others (SB), the vaulter is just hanging onto the pole with his bottom arm during the downswing.

ssdogg_pv wrote: ... However for the downswing to be long, powerful, and elastic.. there must (in my mind) be some "space" for the vaulter to be able to use that power without the pole cutting him off.

OK, I understand your quandry. You think that a good downswing is futile when there's no space for good leverage. But consider this: From the run and takeoff (and assuming good posture, including reaching as high as possible with the top hand), if the vaulter just freezes (does nothing but keep his body stiff), he will bend the pole, and his downswing will be initiated. I does take a short amount of time (a few milliseconds) for the pole to begin bending in this way, but that's no reason to delay the downswing. So start the downswing immediately upon impact and stretch, and by the time the downswing is one-quarter or one-half way through, the pole is already bending quite well.

Does this clarify my points?

BTW, the downswing should be long and powerful, but the vaulter's body isn't "elastic" during the downswing. The vaulter's body is elastic before the downswing. During the downswing, the body is releasing its elastic stretch.

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Re: Placement vs. Pressure

Unread postby grandevaulter » Thu Jul 16, 2015 9:03 am

1. The top hand is pushed as high as it can go and the top arm is fully extended.

2. As a matter of geometry the grip height, grip width and pole ground angle as determined by the take off mark and now play the greatest role in determining the pressure of the bottom arm. I have come to believe that there is little conscious ability to adjust pressure at the speed of approach of these elite vaulters

3. Most all of the vaulters in the video have the bottom elbow pointing away from the body and not at the ground.

Placement of the items that I have listed above determine the pressure. There is your chicken, egg, gizzards, drum sticks and tail feathers.

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Re: Placement vs. Pressure

Unread postby KirkB » Thu Jul 16, 2015 3:32 pm

grandevaulter wrote:1. The top hand is pushed as high as it can go and the top arm is fully extended.

Bottom arm? :confused:

grandevaulter wrote: 2. As a matter of geometry the grip height, grip width and pole ground angle are determined by the take off mark ...
:yes:

grandevaulter wrote: ... I have come to believe that there is little conscious ability to adjust pressure at the speed of approach of these elite vaulters.

Vaulters will do what they focus on. If they focus on pressing with the bottom arm, then that's what they will do. If they focus on driving the chest forwards and up, and driving the trail leg down and back (for a fuller stretch), then that's what they will do. :idea:

Many of the vaulters in this vid (even the 5.80+ ones) are focussing too much on their bottom arm. The end result may be that their whole-body-swing is suboptimal.

I get your point Grandevaulter, but to me, I think the thousands of repetitions that an elite vaulter has already done (rather than speed of approach) is a bigger factor in what defines what they can and will do at this critical moment.

grandevaulter wrote: 3. Most all of the vaulters in the video have the bottom elbow pointing away from the body and not at the ground.
As they should. :yes:

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Re: Placement vs. Pressure

Unread postby grandevaulter » Thu Jul 16, 2015 10:05 pm

KirkB wrote: grandevaulter wrote:1. The top hand is pushed as high as it can go and the top arm is fully extended.


Bottom arm? :confused:

If the top arm is not extended, it certainly affects the angle of the bottom arm and the ability to apply pressure.

KirkB wrote: grandevaulter wrote: 2. As a matter of geometry the grip height, grip width and pole ground angle are determined by the take off mark ...

:yes:

Let's tidy this up a little. Grip height, width, pole ground angle and take off mark (which is a variable) determine the angle of the bottom arm and the ability to apply consistent pressure.

KirkB wrote:Many of the vaulters in this vid (even the 5.80+ ones) are focussing too much on their bottom arm. The end result may be that their whole-body-swing is suboptimal.

:yes:

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Re: Placement vs. Pressure

Unread postby Ben_N » Fri Jul 17, 2015 2:02 pm

I think the difference in placement vs. pressure has to do with the development of the vaulter. A younger vaulter (14-24) will be changing a variety of factors that affect pole placement: the run, stride count, pole length, grip width, grip height, take off mark, etc. All these things can cause inconsistency in pole placement on take off (i.e. late plant, early plant, side plant, not driving the chest, etc). I'm a young vaulter (25) and a young coach, but I think that we place and emphasis and bottom pressure early on because of these inconsistencies with pole placement while we develop the young vaulters. The bottom arm pressure early on allows the vaulter to create space still without needed perfect pole placement.

Elite vaulters have done 1000's of reps and are very consistent (most likely) so bottom arm pressure isn't as needed since they are setting themselves up to utilize the pole and their momentum properly.

Just my thoughts. Again I'm not an expert by any means but this is just what I have gone through as a developing vaulter and what I see now as an emerging semi-elite level vaulter.

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Re: Placement vs. Pressure

Unread postby david bussabarger » Sun Jul 19, 2015 6:07 pm

The action and position of the lower arm during take off obviously varies greatly among elite male vaulters. But all elite male vaulters display erect posture and strong forward drive at the beginning of the take off. This causes the pole to bend "away" from the vaulter or create "space" between the vaulter and the pole regardless of what the lower arm is doing ( "stiff arming" amplifies the amount of space created ). For a counter example look at early fg. great Fred Hansen. Hansen curved upward extremely rapidly during the take off and lacked the erect, forward driving position so typical of current elite male vaulters. Also like virtually all early fg. vaulters he had a passive lower arm. As a result his head was right under and next to the pole at the completion of his take off. However this did not prevent him from developing a very effective swing.

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Re: Placement vs. Pressure

Unread postby KirkB » Mon Jul 20, 2015 12:52 am

:yes:
david bussabarger wrote: ... like virtually all early fg. vaulters he had a passive lower arm. As a result his head was right under and next to the pole at the completion of his take off.

John Pennel was perhaps the exception to this. He purposely kept his bottom arm stiff. Unfortunately, he was the WR holder at the time, so to their detriment, lots of young aspiring vaulters (myself included) followed his lead.

It took a long time for some of us to get rid of that bad habit. And for some, they STILL think that that's good technique!

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Re: Placement vs. Pressure

Unread postby david bussabarger » Mon Jul 20, 2015 6:16 pm

Kirk,
I have to disagree with you a bit about Pennel. I don't think he had much, if any, lower arm pressure on the the pole during the take off. If you look at his vaults his lower arm always bent a great deal at the elbow during his take off (typically well beyond 90 degrees ). Any pressure on the pole he may have had during the take off probably came form having a very wide hand spread, particularly for the time. Of course his lower arm did extend back out during the swing.
Pennel was the first truly "modern" fg. vaulter and was the first to develop an erect forward driving action at take off. However he typically had problems with the twisting of his shoulders during the take off which was probably caused by his low "modified rigid pole" style plant. Note that Seagren was probably the 1st to develop a truly modern high fg. plant. The twisting of Pennel's shoulders caused him to be quite close to the pole during the take off despite his erect posture and forward driving action. Another later example of this problem was P. Qunion.

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Re: Placement vs. Pressure

Unread postby KirkB » Mon Jul 20, 2015 7:58 pm

david bussabarger wrote: I have to disagree with you a bit about Pennel. I don't think he had much, if any, lower arm pressure on the the pole during the take off. If you look at his vaults his lower arm always bent a great deal at the elbow during his take off (typically well beyond 90 degrees ). Any pressure on the pole he may have had during the take off probably came from having a very wide hand spread, particularly for the time. Of course his lower arm did extend back out during the swing.

Sorry David, you can disagree all you like, but my facts about Pennel pushing with his bottom arm are correct. As I've explained in other posts, he told Dr. Richard Ganslen this, and Ganslen published what he said in his book "Mechanics of the PV". If you have an old copy (the 1972 edition, I think), you can see for yourself. I had that edition, but lost it years ago.

I am not reporting what his vault LOOKED LIKE. Rather, I'm reporting what he said his INTENT was.

I also heard this from Craig Botakatobi here: http://www.polevaultpower.com/forum/viewtopic.php?f=38&t=30745&p=183475&hilit=craig#p183475

botakatobi wrote:Kirk,

John personally told me in the late 1980's that he pushed with the bottom arm.

Craig


No offense intended, David, but when we have misinformation like this on this forum dating back to opinions formed from as far back as the 1960s, you can see why this one thread on the topic will not "put it to rest" (as SSDogg_PV had hoped).

This is also why I always say that knowing a vaulter's INTENT is much more insightful than attempting to reverse-engineer PV vids.

Kirk
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