Help Me.

This is a forum to discuss advanced pole vaulting techniques. If you are in high school you should probably not be posting or replying to topics here, but do read and learn.
PV Pro
Posts: 260
Joined: Wed Nov 16, 2005 10:53 am
Location: South Australia

Re: Help Me.

Unread postby PVstudent » Fri Apr 24, 2015 12:10 am

ADTF Academy has told us what to do to progress this vaulter towards achieving goals in both vaulting and college education. The advice is spot on and pertinent when she is able to get past the “blockages” in her technique that currently restrict her to 13 foot poles.

On the basis of the visual evidence presented, by Tim, the question has to be asked is "Why is the specific vaulter gripping down on a 13’ pole?

She and her coach are/were perfectly aware of this limitation to progression.

The question then remains how to go about achieving improved PR on longer poles and get there quickly given, as ADTF pointed out, this is difficult for some female vaulters who grip up capping 14’ or 14’ 7” poles.

Yes, of course she must grip up, run faster and move on to 14’ poles!

I read the appeal by Tim for help as help to get past the block to progress. His past achievements as a vaulter and currently as a coach led me to the conclusion that he was quite sensitive to and aware of the getting on longer poles and the speed issues ADTF rightly (IMO) has identified.

As a coach the decision to go up poles, given the high anxiety psychological state of the athlete and that PR progress had reached a dead stop in the context reality of urgent need to secure an athletic scholarship, is not as simple as grip up on longer sticks and run faster!

Again, ADTF Academy is right in that going up poles will definitely give bigger bang for your buck for reasons suggested in relation to pole bend and time available to execute (top end) 2nd phase of the vault.

How to get this specific vaulter, with this specific coach in these specific circumstances to move on to bigger poles and become able to benefit from ADTF Academy’s excellent advice is the nut to be cracked.

What I suggested was about the how to assist this vaulter to overcome the pole vault key technical factor/s retarding progress and IMO enable her to then easily progress her grip upwards on her 13 foot pole. This was implied rather than explicitly as explained by ADTF Academy.

The advice I offered is certainly not “micro management of style” as has been asserted.

IMHO advice offered, by myself and others, equipped this coach and athlete with some “how to” and “can do” information immediately capable of being put into action in their real world practice situation to build the necessary bridge across the chasm that exists/existed between where they are/were and moving the grip up on a 13’pole. My judgement, on the basis of the evidence, was that moving to 14’ poles would be disastrous in the circumstances!

ADTF clearly disagrees. His knowledge and experience lead him to his conclusion which is on that basis equally valid. As always the coach on the ground doing the hard yards is the final arbiter in decisions on acceptance or rejection of advice offered.

My experience of elite pole vault coaching (world class men & women) also leads me to agree with ADTF comments in regard to difficulties some elite female vaulters on 14’, 14’ 7’ or 15’ poles have with “top end” technique.

However for female vaulters to achieve this level of proficiency tall physique, amazing talent, physical power and speed, unbelievable competitive composure and drive, perfect physical conditioning, superb management and sponsorship is not enough to make the top and have longevity in making a living from pole vault.

Why not?

Papering over flaws in technique during talented vaulter development by exploiting talent over technical efficiency can produce extraordinary success, even when the elite level is reached.

But longevity, earning a living or achieving the ultimate prizes remain beyond reach due to the limitations imposed by the “small hidden flaws in technique” for the vast majority of World Class Elite Vaulters who compete on the circuit and in major competitions.

In the specific case being discussed I believe the “hidden flaws” that were identified and addressed were significant impediments to this vaulter’s goal achievement and needed to be removed to open up the path to both pole grip length progression on the 13’ pole prior to undertaking the agreed challenges that using 14 foot/14 foot plus poles impose in getting bang for buck.

Finally, I agree with ADTF that my advice was merely coach opinion.

I can not agree that the advice I offered is “micro management of style” because in this specific vaulter’s case to do as ADTF Academy suggests, Tim should put the cart before the horse!
Every new opinion at its starting, is precisely a minority of one!

User avatar
Tim McMichael
PV Master
Posts: 714
Joined: Mon Apr 03, 2006 3:36 pm
Expertise: Current college and private coach. Former elite vaulter.

Re: Help Me.

Unread postby Tim McMichael » Fri Apr 24, 2015 12:42 pm

The grip issue is critical, I agree. However, since her primary fear is landing in the box, I have been delaying raising her grip until that issue was resolved. We have been consistently attempting her PR even with the difficulties we have been facing and we can absolutely not afford to go two steps backward to go four steps forward in the future at this specific point, which is all too often the way the learning process works in the vault. For better or worse, her future depends on what happens right now. For that reason I have decided to be more conservative than I really want to be. That said, the suggestions PVstudent has offered are bearing fruit. And the points ATDF Academy has made are valid. My plan for going up grip is to raise 2 to 3 inches with each bigger pole. In our last meet she got to the very end of her 13' 150 and had her highest jump of the year, albeit with the bar on 12' 9". The only reason we didn't get a PR there was inconsistency in her step occasioned by the fact that she is not yet consistent with her improved plant. (And that she decided to max out on squats that week....sigh...young people) The long and short of it is that she is getting there. We have an excellent chance in the next two meets to meet our goals. Then I'll have another off season to work on her jump without the pressure of impending competitions. She will be able to transfer for the spring semester. I just hope we can find a program interested at this late date in the process. The upside potential on Emily is enormous. What I can't really show on video is the fact that this kid is as close to physically perfect as it is possible to be. One good season of rigorous training, which she as never had, would see her at close to world class fitness.

User avatar
PV Rock Star
Posts: 3550
Joined: Mon May 19, 2008 6:05 pm
Expertise: Former College Vaulter; Former Elite Vaulter; Former Coach; Fan
Lifetime Best: 5.34
Favorite Vaulter: Thiago da Silva
Location: Vancouver, BC, Canada

Re: Help Me.

Unread postby KirkB » Fri Apr 24, 2015 3:51 pm

Tim McMichael wrote: ... The upside potential on Emily is enormous. What I can't really show on video is the fact that this kid is as close to physically perfect as it is possible to be. One good season of rigorous training, which she as never had, would see her at close to world class fitness.

Wow! Here comes another Jack Whitt! :star:

What's her 100m PR (or her m/s)?

Good luck, Tim and Emily!

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

ADTF Academy
PV Follower
Posts: 494
Joined: Thu Jul 07, 2005 12:57 pm
Location: South Bend, IN

Re: Help Me.

Unread postby ADTF Academy » Sun May 10, 2015 4:17 pm

Tim McMichael wrote:The grip issue is critical, I agree. However, since her primary fear is landing in the box, I have been delaying raising her grip until that issue was resolved.

This is an assumption that grip = fear of landing in the box?

Softer, but longer poles with more grip tend to allow the pole to open up easier at takeoff if an upspring takeoff is observed and posture is maintained. It may in fact not give her the hitting a stiff rod feeling as she comes off the ground, but this is also an assumption. I'll bet she can't explain why she feels like she is coming up short. As coaches we have to assume and hope we don't assume wrong.

IMO Her posture and body lines are very good. I don't think the longer pole and grip would affect to much in a negative direction with the exception to timing and getting use to the new bend pattern and increased time available on the top of the jump. Perfecting her jump may just mean perfecting her jump with X grip on Y pole. Way different than preparing her for Z jump on any pole.

Bang for buck = move to 13'7 poles lower stiffness to make grip increase easier than up stiffness to go high. I've seen way to many excellent 13' woman come out of high school mastering 13' poles never able to advance any further in the vaulting careers. I believe in perfecting your model as much as the next coach, but putting our eggos aside. Is pole vaulting about scoring the perfect 10 and not caring about how high they go or helping the athlete go as high as possible as safe as possible?

I have yet to find a male or female that can duplicate my model perfectly and go very high in the air. I have found quite a few that are got close and once I got out of their way went very high in the air with two became world class. Neither could do exactly what I wanted consistently, but it's about what is best of the athlete not us coaches. Sometimes the last 5% may not exist except in our dreams.

Return to “Pole Vault - Advanced Technique”

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 2 guests