pole transitions (grip)

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Re: pole transitions (grip)

Unread postby KYLE ELLIS » Wed Aug 12, 2015 2:00 pm

KirkB wrote:
Annie, I think your confusion is that you were thinking that the flex # was more important than the weights and lengths of your poles. In my experience, you should only worry about the relative flex numbers of poles that are the same length, same brand, and have the same weight rating.

PVJunkie, do you agree with this?

Kirk


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Re: pole transitions (grip)

Unread postby KirkB » Thu Aug 13, 2015 12:38 am

KYLE ELLIS wrote: Charts showing how poles relate to each other by using lbs is not helpful at all. ...
lb's on a pole really has no meaning. ... I wish we could break away from the weight labels and just talk flex numbers.

Kyle, I don't mind if you disagree with what I asked PVJunkie. I would really like him to clarify whether my statement was correct or not, as I'm just not sure. I would also like to know what others think, and I appreciate you giving your opinion. I'm not suggesting changing the whole system (as you would like), I'm simply trying to understand it, and from what I understand, weights and lengths are more important than flexes.

KYLE ELLIS wrote: If Sam Kendrick's used any pole around his weight and hold where he was allowed, he would obliterate every pole. As would most high level pole vaulters. And if most low level vaulters grip down on a pole at there weight, they land short. How is this helpful? And a lot of it is due to "well this pole is 15ft and my weight, so I should just hold at the top"

Let's start with this assertion of yours. I don't think you're going to have much disagreement (certainly not from me) by saying that weights don't match the actual body weights of vaulters very well (especially elite vaulters). But is that sufficient reason to toss out the entire system of weights that has been used for at least half a century?

What if we called the unit of measure "bananas" instead of "pounds". THEN are you OK with the current system? :confused:

If you order a pole from a retailer, he will ask what weight and length you want, and IF YOU'RE LUCKY he will have multiple flex numbers available within that weight/length. So IF YOU'RE LUCKY, you can get a lighter 13-6 165 or a heavier 13-6 165 (based on flex #). From what you say:
KYLE ELLIS wrote: If someone starts talking about the chart with weights when I am ordering a pole it's just going to irritate me.
...you don't even want to start the conversation with the retailer by stating your preferred weight rating (I assume you will at least tell him the length of pole you want).

Do I understand you correctly?

IF YOU'RE NOT SO LUCKY, the retailer will only have one pole of your requested weight and length in stock, so you'll have to take that one (or wait for a special order for a specific flex #).

But from what I understand, the poles are manufactured to be a certain weight and length, and then they're tested AFTER they come out of the oven to see what flex # they are. So I'm not so sure that you can order only by flex #, unless you order directly from the manufacturer. :confused:

Kyle, please clarify how it works for you (not how you would like it to work in your ideal world). Thanks.

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Re: pole transitions (grip)

Unread postby KYLE ELLIS » Thu Aug 13, 2015 10:50 am

Kirk, usually in the lower length poles (13-14'6) they will have something within .2- of what you are looking for. So if it is close enough and fits into the series, then I'll get it. However if it is the bigger poles for my elite jumpers, then I will want a specific flex number. And this is usually when they tell me, oh we don't make them that size or weight rating. For example, when I got poles through GILL I'd usually just go straight to Bryan, because the expert on poles for that company.

For example, if I have a series of 4.90 poles (15.0, 14.6, 14.2 the 14.2 could be a 200 lb weight label)
If I call in and say I need a 205, I could get a 13.0. That is the most extreme case I could make. Granted they would usually ask if you want a stiff or softer 205. And at those weights I am not sure if the weight label goes up 5lbs for every 1.0 flex like it does in the shorter lengths. And it's funny because when you talk to the pole experts, they say (and I've heard this from multiple people) that the weight label at that point is irrelevant. Which I think it is always irrelevant lol.

So Kirk, I guess as simple as I can make it. A 170lb pole could be a pole with in 18.0-17.1 range. That doesn't give me very good data. If I just got the next weight label, I could get a pole .1 bigger or 1.9 bigger. That's not very useful, and I know that this sort of thing has happened a lot at schools where the coaches don't understand this, and end up buying duplicate poles. And since the weight label is an arbitrary number, then I don't get its usefulness.

Lastly switching lengths of poles, (like the poster is talking about)knowing the flex numbers is crucial when changing lengths of poles because of the variation in flex you could get. Unless you have enough money to waste if you end up being the same size as your shorter pole, or if you get one that is just way to big! Hope this makes sense
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Re: pole transitions (grip)

Unread postby KirkB » Thu Aug 13, 2015 2:02 pm

Yes, it makes sense that the heavier and longer the pole (for the more elite male vaulters) will need to be more special order than the lighter, shorter poles.

I would hope that when they make a 160, 165, and 170 of the same length, then (in theory) the flex #s would be equally spaced apart when they sell them to a certain club or vaulter (but that's not always the case). But when someone like Annie moves up a pole length (because she needs more grip), then it gets tricky. In her case, she ended up with what appears to be a dupe between her 13-6 165 and her 14-0 155. AND she was unaware of this.

But since her old 13-6 Pacer is no longer available, she can (luckily) use the 14-0 155 instead.

So I think Annie's question has been answered. But Kyle, notice that the weight/length/stiffness chart (which you detest) was necessary in order to solve this puzzle? :confused:

It's possible that her 14-0 155 might still be a bit too stiff or a bit too soft, but the chart did get her into the right ballpark. THEN you fine tune it by looking at the flexes. True?

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Re: pole transitions (grip)

Unread postby KirkB » Thu Aug 13, 2015 2:17 pm

KirkB wrote:... when someone like Annie moves up a pole length (because she needs more grip), then it gets tricky. In her case, she ended up with what appears to be a dupe between her 13-6 165 and her 14-0 155. AND she was unaware of this.

But since her old 13-6 Pacer is no longer available, she can (luckily) use the 14-0 155 instead.


Annie, you may be unaware of this because (as you stated):

anniepv17 wrote: The 13'6 felt stiffer , and I was gripping ~ 13' on that. It was an old pacer fx that was a lot heavier than the pole before it, so I had some mental issues with moving it through as well. ...

Your mental issues will affect how heavy the pole feels on your first few attempts with it. Also, there are some psychological factors which might make you THINK that the 13-6 felt much stiffer (even if it was only one level stiffer: a 36 instead of a 35).

You really need to take several jumps with a new pole to determine how stiff it really is (in comparison to your lighter pole). Even just THINKING (too much) about how stiff the pole is going to be might inadvertently affect how you jump on it (and thus how stiff it feels). That's why I always recommend to keep all other variables the same for at least the first attempt on the new pole, including grip.

anniepv17 wrote: If anything, what pole would you personally suggest I transition to if I am blowing through a 13' (15.1) and am looking for a stiffer pole.


Based on the chart (and disregarding what you have on hand, and disregarding the brand), your next pole up in a 13-6 length would be the 13-6 165.

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Re: pole transitions (grip)

Unread postby KYLE ELLIS » Thu Aug 13, 2015 2:57 pm

Kirk, I actually coached Annie in college for 2 years. I did not use the weight chart when moving her from the 13ft series to a 13'6 pole. I used the flex numbers, of course I was always asking Bryan on his thoughts on flex differences between two lengths. She never jumped on the 14ft pole mentioned (this may be a pole they have at the new school she is going to?) She also never gripped much higher than 13ft, 12'11 if I remember correctly.
But the 13'6 pole was an older Pacer and from the multiple kids that jumped on it,it seemed a little tougher of a pole initially. Some of those older pacers that had a lot of return, seemed a little tougher to get moving initially.
Anyways, it was also a little heavier also and her run and pole drop were probably her weakest technical departments which I am sure played into it. But I think her PR is on that pole, and she always had some big jumps on that pole when she got onto it.

And I agree with you, I do think that if a school or club ordered a series poles the company would give them a 1.0 approx spread if it wasn't mentioned by the people ordering it. But what if they have a series of poles 160, 165, 170. And they order a 170? There is no telling what they would get.Most high schools order 1 pole at a time.

You brought up the weigh label chart again, but I don't see how this helps selecting the next pole? If you aren't precise you can waste 500-700$ on a useless pole. If I'm capping out 15'0 poles and want to move to a 15'6 pole that's going to be about .8 bigger; using that chart would be a total shot in the dark. But if I knew the flex numbers, I could get with in .1 or .2

If I am capping out a 15ft 14.6, and want to move to a 15'6 pole about the same size, I know that a 15'6 17.0 keeping my grip at the same place would be pretty dang close. And I can continue my series up from there. I have all of the length changes pretty much memorized. Maybe Bryan can share his two cents, but it's not consistent. Depending on what length the pole is, you're going to get different change in flex differential. It can be anywhere where from 3.0 to 2.4, usually it's smaller as you go up length of poles.
I only deal with pole lengths 13'0 - 16ft, so he would know better than I on other lengths.
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Re: pole transitions (grip)

Unread postby KirkB » Thu Aug 13, 2015 10:59 pm

KYLE ELLIS wrote: You brought up the weigh label chart again, but I don't see how this helps selecting the next pole? If you aren't precise you can waste 500-700$ on a useless pole. If I'm capping out 15'0 poles and want to move to a 15'6 pole that's going to be about .8 bigger; using that chart would be a total shot in the dark. But if I knew the flex numbers, I could get with in .1 or .2

If I am capping out a 15ft 14.6, and want to move to a 15'6 pole about the same size, I know that a 15'6 17.0 keeping my grip at the same place would be pretty dang close. And I can continue my series up from there. I have all of the length changes pretty much memorized.

I agree with what you say, Kyle. It's just that there doesn't appear to be a chart of lengths and flexes mapped to relative stiffness - there's only a chart of lengths and weights mapped to relative stiffness.

If there was such a chart, I agree that it might be better for all to use.

Perhaps the issue is high school vs. college? It's just my guess, but I think the mfrs and retailers want to minimize inventory and not have to inventory every flex of pole for every length. And the HS budget can also only have a certain number of poles per length - one for every 5 pound weight increment would still be quite a few poles for a HS. So by selling the poles by weight (instead of flex), the retailers are able to give the HS coaches the coverage they want and need (with obvious gaps between each 5 pound increment).

But at your college level, you need to be more precise, and I think that's why you prefer dealing with flex #s instead of 5-pound weight increments. If that's what it is, then I agree with you on this!

So I suppose this begs the question to the mfrs and dealers:

Why isn't there a published length/flex chart for relative stiffness? :confused:

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Re: pole transitions (grip)

Unread postby KYLE ELLIS » Thu Aug 13, 2015 11:39 pm

Agreed, having a flex chart would also be very helpful. You would satisfy the weight label people and flex number folk. I am sure Bryan probably gets these sort of questions from a buyer at least once a week.
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Re: pole transitions (grip)

Unread postby Skyfly » Fri Aug 14, 2015 12:18 pm

KirkB wrote:Perhaps the issue is high school vs. college? It's just my guess, but I think the mfrs and retailers want to minimize inventory and not have to inventory every flex of pole for every length. And the HS budget can also only have a certain number of poles per length - one for every 5 pound weight increment would still be quite a few poles for a HS. So by selling the poles by weight (instead of flex), the retailers are able to give the HS coaches the coverage they want and need (with obvious gaps between each 5 pound increment).


The manufacturers do inventory every pole and flex number. At least Gill does because each pole (built in like the last 10 years or so) has a barcode with model number and serial number embedded in the fiberglass. If you give that data to Gill they will tell you exactly which flex, length and "weight" that pole is. The fact is, each 5 pound increment corresponds to an arbitrarily determined range of flexes and really means nothing. If the manufacturer doesn't certified or guarantee a pole based on weight against breakage if used by someone at or under that weight, then any kind of "assignment" of a weight is completely irrelevant. This would be why the high school rule of jumping on a pole at or greater than your weight makes zero sense. A 150lb vaulter that jumps well on a 15' 160 pole, would snap a 12' 160 pole like a twig.

I personally believe the weight label usage to be one of practicality on the manufacturers part. When a pole is built, the best attempt will be made for a certain flex number. But the actual flex isn't known until the end and the pole is tested. The end result may or may not match what was intended. If someone orders a 13' 170 and dead on flex is 15.0, but the pole comes out as 15.2 or 14.9, the manufacturer still calls it a 170 and sells it as such. Otherwise they would be discarding poles that weren't correct or labeling them all kinds of different ways which is impractical for them or overly confusing to some consumers.

KirkB wrote:But at your college level, you need to be more precise, and I think that's why you prefer dealing with flex #s instead of 5-pound weight increments. If that's what it is, then I agree with you on this!


It's not a matter of being precise. As already mentioned, the weight is irrelevant. Each 5 pound increment includes ALL of the flexes in that range. If a certain range of flexes is assigned as 160lb and the mid point of that range is considered 160, then you could also have every pole from 157.5 - 162.5 also labeled as 160. If you have a pole at the softest side of the range at 160 and then a 165 on the stiffest side of the range, you would have poles that are "10 pounds" different despite the fact they are labeled only as 5. Now think about that in context of the chart you've been referencing. It shows 13'6 165 and 14' 155 as "equal". Even if that were true (which it's not), what if the first pole is actually a 13'6 162.5 and the second pole a 14' 157.5? This is why flex number is all that matters.

KirkB wrote:Why isn't there a published length/flex chart for relative stiffness? :confused:


Proprietary information? Each manufacturer also doesn't flex their poles in the same fashion always.

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Re: pole transitions (grip)

Unread postby KirkB » Fri Aug 14, 2015 2:13 pm

Skyfly wrote: The fact is, each 5 pound increment corresponds to an arbitrarily determined range of flexes and really means nothing. If the manufacturer doesn't certified or guarantee a pole based on weight against breakage if used by someone at or under that weight, then any kind of "assignment" of a weight is completely irrelevant. This would be why the high school rule of jumping on a pole at or greater than your weight makes zero sense. A 150lb vaulter that jumps well on a 15' 160 pole, would snap a 12' 160 pole like a twig.

Skyfly, I think you're hung up on trying to match the "weight" of the pole to the weight of the vaulter. Though it may be hard to do, due to the HS rule of not being allowed to use a pole rated under the vaulter's body weight, erase that double meaning from your mind. Call the pole weight "bananas" (as I mentioned in a previous post). Then, the pole weight is just a nominal unit of measure, and this entire argument goes away.

Skyfly wrote: When a pole is built, the best attempt will be made for a certain flex number. But the actual flex isn't known until the end and the pole is tested. The end result may or may not match what was intended. If someone orders a 13' 170 and dead on flex is 15.0, but the pole comes out as 15.2 or 14.9, the manufacturer still calls it a 170 and sells it as such.

Yes, that's my understanding too.

Skyfly wrote:
KirkB wrote:But at your college level, you need to be more precise, and I think that's why you prefer dealing with flex #s instead of 5-pound weight increments. If that's what it is, then I agree with you on this!


It's not a matter of being precise. As already mentioned, the weight is irrelevant. Each 5 pound increment includes ALL of the flexes in that range. If a certain range of flexes is assigned as 160lb and the mid point of that range is considered 160, then you could also have every pole from 157.5 - 162.5 also labeled as 160. If you have a pole at the softest side of the range at 160 and then a 165 on the stiffest side of the range, you would have poles that are "10 pounds" different despite the fact they are labeled only as 5.

Again, think "bananas" instead of "weight" in your paragraph above, and see what logic changes. I think it's the same logic (which I agree with), except for the unfortunate confusion of the word "weight". This is why I say that the "weight" is just a range of flexes grouped together.

Skyfly wrote: Now think about that in context of the chart you've been referencing. It shows 13'6 165 and 14' 155 as "equal". Even if that were true (which it's not), what if the first pole is actually a 13'6 162.5 and the second pole a 14' 157.5? This is why flex number is all that matters.

Again, I agree with you, but without the chart that PVJunkie posted, what are we to do? Kyle has the flexes memorized, but you can't expect everyone to be as experienced as Kyle. A written reference is needed. So without a chart of pole lengths and flexes, we have nothing else to refer to but the chart of relative stiffness chart with pole lengths and weights.

And as silly as the HS weight rule may seem, I think it has pounded at least a little bit of common sense into the heads of some HS vaulters and coaches, probably saving many injuries, broken poles, and even lives. So for this reason alone, the chart that PVJunkie posted is necessary and valuable.

IN ADDITION TO the length/weight chart, I think that a length/flex chart would ALSO be helpful, if the mfrs were willing to disclose this information. I agree with you on this, Skyfly, which I think is also Kyle's point.

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Re: pole transitions (grip)

Unread postby PVJunkie » Fri Aug 14, 2015 2:57 pm

Why isn't there a published length/flex chart for relative stiffness?


Really simple answer to that one. There is no industry standard AND if the current method (deflection) does not accurately reflect the differences in the construction of the poles. While there are a lot of similarities, there are also so many differences from one manufacture to the next if the charts (yes most of them are proprietary) were released it would likely increase confusion.

There has been a lot of load cell data gathered by at least 2 manufactures in an effort (very preliminary) to develop a standard through the ASTM.......but the work on this has stalled. Poles with the same flex can produce very different results when things are measured at full bend with a load cell. Is the load cell THE solution? Maybe, maybe not but it is a step in the right direction. The biggest issue.....? People hate change.

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Re: pole transitions (grip)

Unread postby Skyfly » Sat Aug 15, 2015 11:47 pm

KirkB wrote:Skyfly, I think you're hung up on trying to match the "weight" of the pole to the weight of the vaulter. Though it may be hard to do, due to the HS rule of not being allowed to use a pole rated under the vaulter's body weight, erase that double meaning from your mind. Call the pole weight "bananas" (as I mentioned in a previous post). Then, the pole weight is just a nominal unit of measure, and this entire argument goes away.


Perhaps I wasn't clear. The only time I ever mention the weight of a pole is to reference the label on a specific pole because it is infinitely easier to identify that number than the flex rating when someone is trying to locate a pole on a rack or in a bag.

I find the "weight" of a pole to be irrelevant because it is something that has just arbitrarily been chosen by the manufacturer. If for example a flex of 15.0 - 16.0 in some length of pole is assigned as 170lb, it just as easily could have been assigned 165lb or 175lb or 270lb for that matter and it would change absolutely nothing. The point I was trying to make is a weight would only be relevant if the manufacture gave it some sort of actual meaning such as a guarantee or something. Since that will never happen (nor should it), there isn't any context to the weight assignment beyond the manufacturer just decided a certain range would be labeled with a certain weight. The "weight" of a pole is nothing more than a reference with absolutely zero real meaning. Where as the flex (by no means ideal and some have pointed out the flaws in even this system) is an actual measured value, so it at least has some context and allows for a certain baseline of comparison of poles.

In reality neither system makes any sense as the capabilities of any given pole boils down the ability to transfer energy (difficulty or ease) into it up until some maximum threshold with which it can withstand before structurally failing. The energy a vaulter transfers to the pole is a function of their weight, but given the many many other factors, weight of the vaulter (as with the "weight" of a pole) isn't significantly relevant. I'm slow and overweight, so my 200lb self jumping on a 12' 170lb pole won't even come close to loading it to it's breaking point. But a 155lb athlete that jumps 16' would likely destroy it like a tooth pick.

KirkB wrote:And as silly as the HS weight rule may seem, I think it has pounded at least a little bit of common sense into the heads of some HS vaulters and coaches, probably saving many injuries, broken poles, and even lives. So for this reason alone, the chart that PVJunkie posted is necessary and valuable.


The above was a really long and probably confusing way of saying I agree that the pole could be called 170 bananas and it would have the same exact meaning and 175 bananas would just mean one pole is stiffer than the other. Nothing more or less as it is merely a reference number. So if it truly is a reference with little real significance, it does seem rather silly to base a rule on it. While the rule probably has prevented broken poles and possibly could have prevented some injuries, how many injuries has it perhaps played a part in facilitating? How many times have you seen a kid jumping on a 14 or 15 foot pole gripping 3 feet down simply because it's the only pole they can legally jump on and then they have standards as close as they can go and they start raising their grip trying to PR and have no chance of getting that pole to vertical so they get rejected and/or land in the box. I've seen at least 3 injuries occur in such a fashion in the past 4 years. By making a rule based on the "weight" rating, it gives the rating credence to actually meaning something when it doesn't. I've also seen kids (usually in situations where they have poor or no coaching) that think the weight does actually have validity and they end up jumping on poles that look more like wet noodles to the point I'm just waiting for them to break, but they're not even aware of it because they feel secure in the fact that the pole is "rated" for their weight.


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