Looking for old footage/information on kjell isaksson(FOUND)

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Briansbaok
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Re: Looking for old footage/information on kjell isaksson

Unread postby Briansbaok » Fri Nov 27, 2009 8:39 pm

I just ran across this string while searching for film or video of Isaksson. I was a Tellez student in the late '70's, early '80's in Houston. Coach 'T' had just one vaulter he wanted us to watch and a super-8 film of him clearing 18'-something outdoors; not sure if it was California or Texas. It was, of course, Kjell Isaksson and we came to know this as the perfect vault technique. Tellez was teaching run-plant-takeoff-penetrate-swing and focusing on the last six strides and the point of takeoff. If we were even a little under he was sure to criticize the effort, regardless of the outcome (clearance or not). I watched that film of Isaksson so frequently that now, more than 30 years later, I can still see it clearly in my head. I read the "Beginner to Bubka" book and recognize much of the technique that Tellez was teaching years before Petrov came along. We didn't call it a "free" takeoff back then, but that is really what he wanted us to do. He often talked about the long jump takeoff and tried to get us to do that as well. I found it practically impossible to reverse the years of bad technique I had learned from others in high school, always being "under" and loading the pole at least a little before takeoff, but I can now see the advantage of a free takeoff and wish I had understood back then how important it was to get that part right. I injured my back in my third year at Houston and had to retire or risk more serious injury. I believe the years I spent taking off under just caught up with me on that fateful day, and everything broke down on one jump - a miss at 17' where I was well over the bar but came down on top of it. Tellez always made us push the standards all the way back; it took me more than a year to get used to that, but I know he was right.
Isaksson seems to be the origin of this technique, or the first one to be caught on film doing it. Watch that 18' + jump of his outdoors -- it is pure and the most beautiful example of pole vault technique ever captured in my opinion. :yes: If someone ever puts it on video for download or on a DVD, I would buy it just to show people what a perfect athletic achievement looks like!
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Re: Looking for old footage/information on kjell isaksson

Unread postby KirkB » Fri Nov 27, 2009 11:49 pm

Briansbaok wrote: I just ran across this string while searching for film or video of Isaksson. I was a Tellez student in the late '70's, early '80's in Houston. Coach 'T' had just one vaulter he wanted us to watch and a super-8 film of him clearing 18'-something outdoors; ... It was, of course, Kjell Isaksson and we came to know this as the perfect vault technique. Tellez was teaching ... I read the "Beginner to Bubka" book and recognize much of the technique that Tellez was teaching years before Petrov came along. We didn't call it a "free" takeoff back then, but that is really what he wanted us to do. ...

Isaksson seems to be the origin of this technique, or the first one to be caught on film doing it. ...

Brian, I too was coached this way ... not DIRECTLY by Tellez, but by his UCLA field events coach Ken Shannon ... who became head coach at U. Washington in 1968 and coached myself and Jeff Taylor this way.

I can add a bit more to this thread ... now that I have a copy of the 8th Edition of Mechanics of the Pole Vault (1973 Dr. R. V. Ganslen) in hand ... (a gift from fellow pole-vault geezer Jerry Hock. Until this week, I had never seen or read this edition ... even tho I was one of the vaulters interviewed in it!) ...

Here's the data/information in the book specific to Kjell Isaksson. I've also included a surprising quote from Wolfgang Nordwig (something I never knew back then)!

Kjell was born in Sweden, and his birthdate was 2-28-1948. He was 5-8, weighted 152 lbs, used a 170 flex pole, max grip of 15-6 and average grip of 15-2. His hand spread was 24" and he did not shift his lower hand. He changed poles with conditions, and used different poles in practice. His best 100m time was 11.0. His second best event was HJ, with a PR of 6-4.

There were 25 elite vaulters interviewed for this edition, and their averages for this data were a height of 5-11.6, weight of 164.8, max grip of 15-4.5, average grip of 15-1, and an original hand spread of 27". Of the 25 vaulters, 10 of them shifted their bottom hand (This last stat surprised me!. Also, it's interesting that Isaksson's max and average grip were less than 2" higher than the other 24 vaulters ... even tho his PR absolutely SMOKED some of ours by a foot or more!)

Here's how Isaksson answered these interview questions (capitalization, underlining, and typos exactly as as in the book ... [KB: Any of my personal comments are in square brackets, like this] ) ...

1. WHAT TYPE OF POLE PLAN ARE YOU USING AT THE PRESENT TIME (THAT IS, SIDE ARM, OVERHEAD)? WHAT SPECIAL TECHNIQUE TO DO YOU EMPLOY IN THE PLANT? DO YOU USE ANY SPECIAL TRAINING EXCERCISES?
ISAKSSON: Overhead, I try to start planting very early; more time to get a straight right [top] arm.

2. AFTER THE PLANT, DO YOU CONSCIOUSLY PRESS FORWARD ON THE POLE WITH THE LOWER HAND AT TAKE-OFF AND ARE YOU AWARE OF THE PRESSURE?
ISAKSSON: I press, but I am not aware of it. [KB: To me, this is contradictory. If you're not aware of pressing, then how do you know you press? :confused:] I try to initiate a fast swing.

3. IN THE TAKE-OFF ACTION FROM THE GROUND, HOW DO YOU CONTOL YOUR DRIVING ACTION?
ISAKSSON: I try to keep my right knee bent up.

4. WHAT ARE YOUR CUES (VISUAL OR OTHERWISE) FOR GETTING INTO THE WELL-ROCKED POSITION ON THE POLE BEFORE PULLING?
ISAKSSON: I don't know. I just swing and try to get my feet as high as possible.

5. IN DELAYING THE PULL AND TURN, HOW DO YOU CONTROL AND MAINTAIN YOUR POSITION ON YOUR BACK?
ISAKSSON: I drop my legs when I feel my speed is not enough to get higher.

6. (AUTHOR). I WISH TO INTRODUCE A NEW CONCEPT IN THE VAULT WHICH I WILL CALL PENETRATION. BY PENETRATION, I MEAN THE ABILITY TO GET UP HIGH AND STILL HAVE SUFFICIENT MOMENTUM TO CLEAR THE BAR. THIS CONCEPT IS USED BECAUSE MANY VAULTERS GET WELL UP INTO THE AIR AND "STALL OUT" OR ARE UNSUCCESSFUL IN REACHING THE CROSS BAR.

WHAT ARE THREE OR FOUR MAJOR FACTORS IN YOUR OPINION WHICH MAKE IT DIFFICULT OR IMPOSSIBLE FOR THE VAULTER TO ACHIEVE SUCCESSFUL PENETRATION?
ISAKSSON: Not swinging enough.

[Nordwig's reply to this question is more interesting and detailed than Isaksson's ...]

NORDWIG: Vaulting with a "suitable" pole. A too soft pole is good for a beginner; he can learn to feel the bending and the stretching. The pole gives him enough time. A too hard quick pole (rigid) destroys "the feel of the vaulting." (2) The vaulter must acquire the feel of jumping with the pole and not against it or in spite of it. (3) Courage to jump into the air even without the contact with the pole, and also when the cross bar is still far from the grip point. [KB: Wow! Free takeoff documented in 1973 by Wolfgang Nordwig! Altius, take note!]

7. DO YOU WORK FOR A PARTICULAR CLEARANCE STYLE OVER THE CROSS BAR?
ISAKSSON: No.

8. IN YOUR PERSONAL JUDGEMENT, WHAT ARE THREE MAJOR FAULTS IN TECHNIQUE OR TRAINING THAT HOLD BACK THE PROGRESS OF MANY VAULTERS?
ISAKSSON: A bad plant, not a straight right [top] arm. Trying to bend the pole with force rather than a fast swing. Jumping with short running approach instead of maximum speed. Many vaulters just run without taking off (they are "checking" their steps). They don't jump when they have speed for it. [KB: This should put to rest the question of whether or not Isaksson intentionally jumped UP in his takeoff.]

9. IN A SHORT PARAGRAPH, DESCRIBE YOUR BASIC PHYSICAL TRAINING PROGRAM.
ISAKSSON: Weight lifting 3-4 times a week, 30-45 minutes. Running 4-5 time a week 90-100% of maximum speed 50-100 - 150 yards for 60-90 minutes. Jumping once a week; however, in 1964-68 I was jumping 5 days a week. I always try to jump as high as possible in practice. You get used to the heights!

10. WHAT ARE YOUR THOUGHTS ON THE FUTURE OF MODERN POLE VAULTING?
ISAKSSON: The development of the pole vault will not change so much. The same poles wil be used. But the athlete will practice harder. So the results will go, pretty fast, up to 19'. (Editor's note: Kjell Isaksson vaulted 18'9" in practice at El Paso, Texas in 1972).

I hope you found this historical information on Isaksson enlightening. :idea:

I certainly did when I read it for the first time yesterday! Plus the Nordwig quote! :idea:

Kirk
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Re: Looking for old footage/information on kjell isaksson

Unread postby Pogo Stick » Sat Nov 28, 2009 5:13 am

Briansbaok wrote:Isaksson seems to be the origin of this technique, or the first one to be caught on film doing it. Watch that 18' + jump of his outdoors -- it is pure and the most beautiful example of pole vault technique ever captured in my opinion. :yes: If someone ever puts it on video for download or on a DVD, I would buy it just to show people what a perfect athletic achievement looks like!


Here is a kinogram from some french book, courtesy of Ziggy:
Isaksson.jpg
Isaksson.jpg (63.45 KiB) Viewed 7023 times
-- Pogo

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FINALLY!!!!!!

Unread postby joebro391 » Tue Dec 01, 2009 10:03 pm

http://boutique.ina.fr/video/sport/athl ... on.fr.html

I'll let the vid do the talking. -6P
PR: 15'6 !!PETROV/6.40 MODEL!! http://www.youtube.com/user/joebro391

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Re: Looking for old footage/information on kjell isaksson

Unread postby baggettpv » Wed Dec 02, 2009 2:32 am

Absolutely COOL! I love Pole Vault History.

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Re: Looking for old footage/information on kjell isaksson

Unread postby baggettpv » Wed Dec 02, 2009 2:38 am

Check other searches on this site. A few good things.

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Re: Looking for old footage/information on kjell isaksson

Unread postby Briansbaok » Wed Dec 02, 2009 4:56 am

Thank you, KirkB, for the very interesting background on they guy who still lives in my head! Regarding his comment on pressing with lower hand, my teammates and I discussed this frequently amongst ourselves and sometimes with coach 'T'. If I recall correctly he did not support "pressing" with the left arm (for right-handed vaulters). When I would consciously press, it had the tendency of killing my swing. Coach 'T' focused on penetration, making us move the standards all the way back in practice, always. No matter which pole I was using, I had to penetrate enough to clear the bar with the standards back. This was very different from what I taught myself to do in high school, where I had cleared 16' 1.25" in competition my senior year (1977), and a hard lesson to learn. It is the first thing I tell people when they ask me about the vault now -- more than clearing the bar, landing safely in the pit is objective #1!
I see discussion on moving the lower grip up. The only vaulter I recall seeing do this was Randy Hall, Texas A&M, '78-'81. Randy was very fast on the runway with a wide spread on his grip. During the plant he moved his lower hand up to within about one foot of his upper. Randy also had a tendency to plant off to one side, resulting in a tendency to go over the bar sideways and sometimes miss the pit to the right. I recall one meet where he actually had a big guy (thrower) standing there to push him back on the pit as he came down. I tended to focus on planting with top arm fully extended and directly overhead.
Isaksson also mentions swinging fast. When I started at Houston my swing was too fast -- I got upside down before I should have, resulting in poor penetration. Coach 'T' showed us a film of his former student, Mike Tully, as a freshman, focusing on penetration. He would consciously look down toward the pit or box immediately after takeoff, delaying his swing and causing better penetration. This technique eventually worked pretty well for me, too.
Speaking of books, the one you mention would have been available when I was in high school, but I never saw it. I had a copy of "The Elusive Bar", provided by the guy I bought Skypoles from, Bruce Caldwell. This book was my only coach for long periods of time and I studied it religiously. Unfortunately it contains some technique flaws and many of the sequence photos reveal things that one would not want to emulate, but I didn't know better.
I am amazed at all the information and coaching that is available to young vaulters today! Sure wish this had been around back in the '70's -- I'm sure I could have been much better and might have saved some wear and tear on my body as well.
Pole vaulting - the original extreme sport!

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Re: Looking for old footage/information on kjell isaksson

Unread postby dj » Wed Dec 02, 2009 1:30 pm

hye

great clips.. and some more good ones come up..

for me it would be interesting to know what Kjell said (just before the two young boys held the pole) when he was showing the other vaulter where he hit at the 6 step ("MID") mark... did he give a "distance" like 16.40 meters or just was telling him how far behind it he was???

dj

ps can any of you swedish or french speakers help me out....

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Re: Looking for old footage/information on kjell isaksson

Unread postby souleman » Wed Dec 02, 2009 11:43 pm

Yep kids! We really did wear our hair like that. We thought it was cool. Hey? And how 'bout that music? Crazy Baby!Besides watching the technique end of the video, the whole time through I was asking myself, "is he jumping on Sky Poles, Thermo Flexs, or did they have Nordics back then". A great watch none the less. Later.............Mike

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Re: Looking for old footage/information on kjell isaksson

Unread postby dj » Thu Dec 03, 2009 12:23 am

hye

at least some of them are Browning Skypoles.. see the silver label at the top

5.50 jumps...

dj

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Re: Looking for old footage/information on kjell isaksson

Unread postby kcvault » Thu Dec 03, 2009 8:06 pm

Great video! Is he running 13 strides? Thats insane I can barly hold my speed from 8.

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Re: Looking for old footage/information on kjell isaksson

Unread postby KirkB » Thu Dec 03, 2009 9:41 pm

In response to my posts about Kjell Isaksson over the last couple years, I received this email from one of his countrymen ... which he recently gave me permission to post ...

... I know him well and can confirm that almost everything in your analysis has been correct with the exception of his 100 m best which was 11,2 in 1974. However, he was very quick in his movements and therefore looked faster than he actually was.

Despite that I think he was as fast as anybody in the last 10 meters and he was in a better position at take off than anybody else. I know that there has been made a lot of speed measurements done and I think that I still can get hold of them. If I do, I will share them with you.

He was running high, with high pole carry, somewhat square to the runway. Maybe more important was that he tried to make an early and very high plant with the pole parallel to the runway at the moment when his right hand was at the level of the ear. The drop of the pole tip into the box could then be made weightless (right hand up and the left kept in a high position not allowed to drop) which made it possible to maintain speed better.

Other critical elements were that the left arm should be more or less absolutely straight and the right hand in front of the ear when taking the last step, the pole still somewhat square to the runway (what I mean is when planting the pole). He was also very concerned about the body posture (which seems to be an underrated element) and it is now afterwards easy to see how his straight left arm in the plant in combination with the body posture more or less forced him into an optimum point at take off and created the prerequisites for an efficient swing.

His grip varied between 450 and 460. The only time I have heard him talk about a higher grip was when he made 572 in practice with a borrowed pole (in El Paso, high altitude and a strong tailwind of certainly 5-6 m/sek according to his own info). That means he jumped at best 120 cm above his grip at a time when the standards could only be put 60 cm away from the box and that days vaulters did not even use that but I would say had them 30 – 50 cm away so you had to go very straight up to be able to achieve that. As I remember it, he has made even more than 120 cm but I will check that when I meet him next time.

On the Swedish TV they had a program a few years ago where they showed when he jumped WR 5.55 under very bad circumstances. To me it was the most optimized vault I have ever seen and I could not get rid of the impression for several days. Absolutely astonishing even if I have seen all world class vaulters thereafter.

The Swedish national coach at that time was Knut Pihl a good international class steel pole vaulter in his younger days and a mechanical engineer to profession. When I look at his paper on pole vault technique from that time and recall our discussions a decade thereafter I think it is fair to say that he is the original Petrov. It was certainly a combination of his interpretation of Kjell’s vaulting and his own experience and engineering skill that caused him to be very precise when he documented his theories about what today is modern vaulting. He definitively had control over angles and forces, weight of pole during carry and at plant and so on so he could back up his theories well.

Talking to Kjell a couple of years ago he noted that “nowadays the vaulters keep their lower hand where I kept with my highest. That says a lot about the development of the poles over time”. He also was quite realistic about his own performance noticing that giving todays circumstances he did not think that he could have jumped 6 m but about 590 should have been possible. The obvious reason of course his relative lack of speed.

I am certain that Knut and I know that Kjell would be strongly in opposition to the madness concept of pre-jump but they would certainly support the idea of free take off, especially with the underline that Petrov make; it should be felt like you are taking off before the pole hits the end of the box which also should be interpreted that you should not take off before.

The drawing of Kjell’s vault that was published at pole vault power was well done. It can be seen directly that it is him.

I found the reference to Kjell's coach - Knut Pihl - particularly intriguing ...
When I look at his paper on pole vault technique from that time and recall our discussions a decade thereafter I think it is fair to say that he is the original Petrov.

In a recent email, he added ...
The other nations, first the Finns, then the French and later the Russians I guess studied Isaksson and the Russians with their resources were simply able to deduct what they saw and put the analysis to work in a systematic way so I do not think that they stole anything from Knut. They interpreted what they saw.

When Kjell was vaulting in North America, he did not have a coach with him, and I had not heard of Knut Pihl. Hans Lagerqvist (2nd best Swede at the time) was his constant companion on all of the meets that I saw him at.

But the story of how Kjell trained with his mother at her gym, and learned to vault PROFICIENTLY at a very young age begged the question of "Who coached him?" Now I know, altho it may be that Pihl learned more from Isaksson than Isaksson learned from Pihl ... and it may be that Pihl only became Isaksson's coach AFTER he learned (taught himself?) his superb technique.

Even if Pihl learned from Isaksson, that doesn't detract from his pioneering prowess as a coach. After all, I'm sure that Petrov learned a thing or two from Bubka too! You cannot learn optimal pole vaulting technique in a vacuum ... you need a super-athlete to expirement with your theories.

And now we know something about where Petrov got SOME of his technical ideas from! It may be time for Altius to update his BTB2 book, to reflect a true source of Petrov's genius! ;)

I've asked my Swedish PV friend for a copy of the paper that Kunt Pihl wrote, and I'm hoping that he'll dig it up and send it to me ... even tho it's written in Swedish. The language of PV is universal! :idea:

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


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