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Pole progression and purchasing

Posted: Sat Sep 30, 2017 10:16 am
by dpiechota
First time pole vault coach and looking for some pole progression and pole purchasing advice.

My son vaulted as freshman last year for the first time and PR’d at 10’6. He weighs 135 and jumped on a 12’ 140 most of the season. ( PR’d on that pole holding at 11’6). He started to over-bend the 140 so we tried him on a 13’145. That was all we had as the next pole. Same hold. He did okay with that but I now know that was too big of a jump in poles. He wasn’t short exactly but he wasn’t deep either.

Anyway, his school is looking to buy more poles and I want to fill the gap in the pole progression. We have a 12’ 140 , a 13’ 140 and a 13’ 145. The next one up is a 13’ 160? Should I be buying heavier 12 poles like a 12’ 150 and 155 or go to 13’ poles at 150 or 155?

Re: Pole progression and purchasing

Posted: Tue Oct 03, 2017 8:16 pm
by GasPasser
Ok, HS poles, HS rules. The rules really stink because it is all about weight rating. But holding at 12' on a 12-140 and @ 12' on a 13-140 is a huge jump in relative stiffness and can prevent a vaulter from landing safely in the pit. And bumping up grip by more than 3" at at time is a really bad idea and can result in the vaulter landing in the box or not making the pit at all. In no way should he raise his grip a foot when going from a 12' pole to a 13' pole!

The rule of thumb is lowering your grip 6 inches below the weight label (the max grip height allowed in HS) adds 10 lbs of relative stiffness - 1 foot adds 20 lbs, So, gripping at 12' on a 13-140 feels like using a 12-160. Most poles are 5 lb increments. In this example, the vaulter just went up 4 poles. That is too much of an increase.

For your son, I'd recommend getting him a 12-150, and a 12'6"-145 (or a 12-155). Given the same grip height, the 12'6-145 is similar to a 12-155. I'm picking the 12'6"-145 over a 12-155 because he's likely to need more grip height before he passes 145 lbs in his own body weight. From there, you already have a 13-140 and a 13-145 which are the next two poles up (assuming he doesn't grow/weigh more than 140) next season. At a 12'6" grip, the 13-140 would feel as stiff as a 12'6"-150, and the 13-145 would feel like a 12'6"-155. So, do you see the progression there, or have I totally confused you?

If the school is willing to buy more than 2 poles this year, I'd suggest also getting a 13-150, then a 13-155 to fill the gap to your 13-160. Otherwise, think of those for next year.

Re: Pole progression and purchasing

Posted: Tue Oct 17, 2017 10:03 am
by dpiechota
Thanks for the advice.

I just remembered that he vaulted on a 13’ 135 holding at 11’9 at the UCLA PV camp this past summer. And he has been training for speed/strength and has grown this off season. With that in mind, I am thinking that he will be able to transition to the 13’ 140. What do you think?

Re: Pole progression and purchasing

Posted: Tue Jan 23, 2018 3:11 am
by mtisfullofit
Based on what my daughter has done from freshman to junior year I would say it is a good bet your boy will handle the weight. What sucks about HS jumping is that kids as they get transitioning to beging invert is that when the are on a low hold on a long stick the pole is not giving back as it was designed and they are out of the "sweet" spot or Sail piece that the manufacture designed that pole for. This is what we found:...... Going longer is not going to make you jump higher......... Find a pole that is close to his max grip and weight and see what the pole is doing. My daughter was jumping 10' on a 12' pole with a low grip and was more or less straight sticking it with lots of flag out as a freshman. Good numbers for a freshman girl but bad for ability to learn the feel of a bent pole. Last year we found a stiffer shorter pole gave back more as she is now jumping a stick over her weight as she is getting stronger. If your son is jumping over his weight by down grip estimate try to match his hold weight to a pole that is within 6" of his max grip and jump up weight poles not length if possible. I would rather have a jumper handling a stick that is over their weight before I go to the next length.....unfortunately HS programs are not endowed with all the poles they need.
You may want to look into rental poles as you will find as we did that a jumper with talent, as they get stronger and once they uncork the invert genie in the bottle will jump poles fast.
One final experience to share.... bring that next pole with you to competition because he may not be able to get on it in practice but as I have found it sucks running short when you kid is blowing through and you have no more poles in the bag.