Missing the Mats

Discussion about ways to make the sport safer and discussion of past injuries so we can learn how to avoid them in the future.
dlevear
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Missing the Mats

Unread postby dlevear » Sun Apr 15, 2012 2:41 pm

Hi everybody. At a meet yesterday during warmups I swung up and off a 14'7 pole and missed the mats and landed on my back on the asphalt. I went off the right side of the pit (from the runway perspective). All things considered, I ended up being lucky. I went to the hospital and found out that everything will be okay. I didn't hit my head and nothing is broken, so I will recover in a few weeks while enduring some lower back pain.

I am trying to figure out why it happened. The first reason I would think of is my plant not being centered above my head, but I remember distinctly having my plant above my head for this jump, and it felt centered when I took off. I have a tendency to separate my legs during the turn phase, and my coach thinks this sends me off to the side of the pits, but I don't think it was particularly bad on this jump, and I see numerous vaulters separating their legs while turning without being sent off to the side, and certainly not enough to miss the pits entirely.

Does anybody have any other ideas for what could have happened? I wish I had some video of the accident but I don't. Near as I can tell it was something similar this video: http://youtu.be/R8xDZxxcyPI
or this one: http://youtu.be/krnSS3U_aCY

Most similar to the first since I actually missed the pits entirely. I would be very interested to hear anyone's thoughts to prevent this from happening again when I can return to the sport.

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Re: Missing the Mats

Unread postby VaultPurple » Sun Apr 15, 2012 7:21 pm

The majority of the people that miss the mat is because they did not plant the pole straight over their head. If you wait too late or just do not put your hands high and center then sometimes the pole starts a little crooked and you will go the direction it is pointed.

The other thing that could happen is a pole that is too soft or you pull with the top arm when you are trying to swing up.

What is your height and weight and what was the weight rating on the pole, and how high were u gripping?

dlevear
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Re: Missing the Mats

Unread postby dlevear » Sun Apr 15, 2012 8:58 pm

With regards to the centered plant, I was pretty confident that I planted straight above my head. I remember thinking at the time that it was important, since the warm-up before I landed near the edge of the pits. So i centered up my plant and I remember focusing on that at takeoff and feeling it pretty centered. Maybe my conception of "center" was off and I actually had planted to the side? It's possible but I do remember consciously thinking of centering that plant.

It was a pole that I have used before and I don't think I have had a problem with pulling with the left arm. My height is 5'10, my weight is 145 lb, and the pole was a 14'7 160 UCS Spirit. I was gripping at about 14' or so. It was my second jump of the day on this pole, having just moved up from a 14' 160, since I was blowing through it.

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Re: Missing the Mats

Unread postby VaultPurple » Sun Apr 15, 2012 9:44 pm

dlevear wrote: It was a pole that I have used before and I don't think I have had a problem with pulling with the left arm. My height is 5'10, my weight is 145 lb, and the pole was a 14'7 160 UCS Spirit. I was gripping at about 14' or so. It was my second jump of the day on this pole, having just moved up from a 14' 160, since I was blowing through it.


If you were blowing through the 14' 160 (I take it you are in high school) the the max hand grip is about 13'6 usually. If you blew through that and then gripped 14' on the 14'7 160. Moving up 6 inches in grip after blowing through a pole is way too much. Also the next pole after the 14' 160 is a 14'7 155 gripping at most 3 inches up. Also moving up 6 inches in grip, two poles up instead of one, most likely made you a little under which makes it harder to get the plant straight.

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master
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Re: Missing the Mats

Unread postby master » Sun Apr 15, 2012 11:16 pm

I have personally experienced and observed with other vaulters the following which can direct the vaulter to the right. If you plant with a "round house" motion of your top hand, your body will instinctively respond with your take off step crossing toward the right resulting in your take off occurring from the right side of the runway. Even if your plant is directly above your head, you will be inclined to go to the right. I think the more the pole flexes from this condition, the more it will direct your airborne flight path to the right side of the pit.

Have someone watch the position of the last 3 foot touchdowns. Is the take of foot farther right than the penultimate step? If you learn that it sometimes is, have someone watch to see how you moved your top hand from over the pole to under the pole. Did it go almost straight up, staying close to your body or did it swing out wide and then return to be overhead.
- master . . . http://www.plvlt.com

dlevear
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Re: Missing the Mats

Unread postby dlevear » Mon Apr 16, 2012 1:21 am

Realistically, I was probably gripping 13'6 on the 14'160 and then 13'9 or 10 on the 14'7. I didn't measure it. For the record, I am a college vaulter. I had used a 14'7 155 in practice and blown through that, so I thought the 14'160 was the next step for that meet, and retrospectively I don't think I was wrong in that decision. Also, if I was over-gripping, then we would expect me to not make it into the pits, or perhaps fall on the standards, but that's not what happened. I landed past the standards in the relative center but off to the right. I don't think the pole or grip was really the problem. Moreover, the injury jump happened after a relatively okay jump on the same pole.

It is possible that my take off foot was off to the right of the runway, though that is not a typical problem for me, but nevertheless a plausible explanation. In the video of Steve Hooker I posted above, that seems to have been his problem on that particular jump.

I do not historically have a round housing problem, though I guess it's possible that on this particular jump I round housed when I don't normally... but the plant didn't feel weird. Thank you for your input!

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Re: Missing the Mats

Unread postby rainbowgirl28 » Mon Apr 16, 2012 2:14 am

I don't know why you missed the mats, but when you get back to vaulting again, spend a lot of time not swinging and just working on getting everything landing in the center of the pit again :dazed:

dlevear
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Re: Missing the Mats

Unread postby dlevear » Mon Apr 16, 2012 8:01 am

Becca, that is my plan. Racking my memory, the one thing I can think of that may have been a mistake was moving to the 14'7 160 pole and starting swinging immediately. I did a takeoff jump without a swing on the 14' 160, and then started swinging after moving to the 14'7 160. Normally, I just take off when moving to a new pole, but, having jumped on this pole fine two days prior, I thought swinging would be okay, and I didn't want to take too many warm up jumps. In retrospect, I should have done a normal takeoff without a swing on the 14'7 first to make sure everything was okay. That's the only real mistake I can think of that I made, so I will definitely keep that in mind when I get back to vaulting - hopefully before too long (though I won't rush it).

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Re: Missing the Mats

Unread postby 1yeldud1 » Mon Apr 16, 2012 3:44 pm

"Landed on asphalt ??? Shouldnt that hard unforgiving surface have been covered ?? Sounds like a lawsuit waiting to happen - What does your "AD" have to say about the facilities NOT meeting standards ?? -- And Im glad your not hurt too bad.

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Re: Missing the Mats

Unread postby 1yeldud1 » Mon Apr 16, 2012 3:44 pm

"Landed on asphalt ??? Shouldnt that hard unforgiving surface have been covered ?? Sounds like a lawsuit waiting to happen - What does your "AD" have to say about the facilities NOT meeting standards ?? -- And Im glad your not hurt too bad.

dlevear
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Re: Missing the Mats

Unread postby dlevear » Mon Apr 16, 2012 4:18 pm

It was at an away meet. Is there a regulation in the rules that surfaces like asphalt must be covered within a certain radius of the mats? I can't measure the mats since the pits are 2 hours away from me, so I don't know if they were regulation. I would guess they probably were - it's a D1 school. They looked a little small compared to indoor pits, but that could have been my imagination.

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Re: Missing the Mats

Unread postby botakatobi » Mon Apr 16, 2012 5:39 pm

For safety purposes, walk around the pit before the competition and look for safety issues. All around the pit should be grass or padding. No hard objects anywhere near the pit. Padding around the box.

If you see a problem(s), tell your coach and have your coach go to the pole vault judge to correct the issue. If that does not work have your coach you to field event referee or meet referee.

The vault should not occur if there are safety issues. You are so lucky that no serious injury occured.


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