I am so for safety to the max… safe vaulting means that you are closer to "technically" correct…
I will make my point here before it gets lost in my "chatter"….
Technically correct vaulting and an understanding of the "principles/physics" of the vault is THE only way to cut down injuries in the vault.
off course common sense, but we have seen that most caoches are not teaching that .......
1. Know that the Approach Run MUST be on.. on means you should not be stretching, my chart www.oneapproachrun.com
is THE BEST guide for the Approach Run training and monitoring..… use it.. from day one in training.. keep the proportions, grip to "MID" (six steps from the box) to vault height in line… as you coach. If you are not running six steps look at the stride lengths for the grip you are holding and NEVER OVER STRIDE!!!
2. Only hold (grip) as high as you can "move" (penetrate) THE POLE and not your body to vertical with the crossbar at 24-30 inches…. So..so many jumpers swing by the pole and "flag" into the pit and NEVER get the pole to vertical. You tell your coach and PVP I have to have a bigger pole!!! Or "I need to raise my grip because I didn't bend the pole enough.." STOP.. STOP… STOP
3. STOP.. it is not a pole bending contest, or "hold the top" of the pole contest, or a "rocket launch" contest. No poles should be marketed as "rockets" or Catapults or as "give you more launch air" from the top.. honestly that's a miss representation of the event (sorry friends I have in the pole business… but I do think you are beginning change this for the good…
4. Is HOW the track program is run and HOW the vaulters are selected at that high school. IE.
I have tried to help introduce or "upgrade" the level of vaulting at ?9 schools locally. All but a couple have done this… I have two to five kids from the start… (and if you have read my beginners "progression" posted in other threads you will know I need the athlete, minimum, full, beginning to end, five sessions.. minimum) then 30 minutes later 2/3 show up ("athletes" from other events) and say 'coach' sent me… and then almost at the" end" of the session 2 more show up. I DO NOT ACCEPT THEM>>> yes you want the best athletes and every coach, BUTT, me will take them… some might make it, most don't… even if they make it they are the ones doing things wrong and trying to jump off of Athletic Ability.. and have the accidents.
5. We need to get rid of this "mentality" that the event is a "kamikaze" event. Event for the reckless, the "thrill" seeker… this makes it the event for the STUPID. It is an event for the mentally and physically strong. No different than hurdles, gymnastics, evening riding a bicycle! It takes athletic ability, skill, knowledge, practice (correct practice) and common sense.
40 plus years coaching the vault, 10 Jr.&Sr. High schools as the vault or head coach, six College/Universities as the vault coach, plus a couple of JC's. My first coaching job we had three "bags" of foam, two side by side and one on top-middle. My 9th grade football QB jumped 12-3 with one pole, a 14/140.. the only Junior high vaulter better that year was Earl Bell, 13-2?
I have seen, pretty much, firsthand every accident possible (except a death which I don't want to see) two where the athlete dropped head down from 15 feet into the metal box… Jan was competing in the meet in Wichita for one of those. Why would a vaulter turn upside down, stall, turn loose of the pole? (this was one of the best jumpers in the NCAA 1971) I have been involve in "going over the back" myself in a pit at Northridge.. I was demo-ing, the pit was 3 feet short.. I landed and "flipped' off the back on my head. Second one jumping in a "crosswind" bad plant.. came back out to the grass.. broke ankle on the edge of the runway.
I got phone calls 5 times in the late 80', early 90's from attorneys interviewing me for "expert" testimony… they decided I wasn't going to automatically be on the side of the athlete and would ask questions, technical, mental etc.. that would not help them.. I never was called in on any case.
One lawsuit that "paid out" (because the injured kid is always right) involved a kid, surfer dude, that was stoned out of his mind.. had his "surfer dude" gallery, boys and girls, at practice to show off.. the coach was on the other side of the track timing some runners, but had told the vaulters not to start until he was there.. this kid had NOT come to the team warm up.. just straight from school and the coach had not specifically told him, them not to start, that day, until he got to the pit.. he apparently went in, bent the pole big and it throw him into the standards and on his head and shoulders beside the pit. He left practice and I don't think the coach saw him but was told by another vaulter later that the boy had hit his head on the standard.. The lawsuit was "brain damage"… he didn't go to the emergency room until he went home that evening and told his parents his head was hurting from the "crash", and of course there was no drug test and the "stoned out of his mind" was hearsay.
How many vaulters have been hurt/injured because of over-striding on the run?
Every coach and athlete needs to start to "monitor" this one correlation.. after your next meet or practice get back to us and tell us what you observed.. and the correlation between good and bad jumps and a "stretched" run…