The Pole Vaulting Pole
By: Brian Yokoyama,
San Antonio College (Mt. SAC)
Which One? What Grip?
TO INCREASE YOUR KNOWLEDGE AND IMPROVE YOUR VAULTING
like the throwing events in track and field requires the use of
an implement. Success in the pole vault as well as in the throws
requires an athlete to be in synchronization with the implement.
An athlete who knows how to use his/her implement will produce
greater performances. This article outlines six tips on pole usage
to increase your knowledge and improve your pole vaulting.
A SHORT STIFF
POLE WILL PRODUCE GREATER HEIGHTS THAN A LONG SOFT POLE
- A short fat rubberband
shoots further than a long thin one.
- A vaulter should always
use a pole rated above his/her body weight. If the vaulter is
not able to jump on a pole above his/her body weight, the vaulter
should move down in length.
- Bottom Line: If
you can get on a very long and stiff pole, your name may be either
Dean Starkey or Sergei Bubka!
WHEN TO GET ON
A LONGER POLE?
- The most common error
in coaching or in vaulting is to get on a longer pole too soon.
- The vaulter should
get on a longer pole when he/she can vault on a pole 20-30 pounds
over their body weight with the standards set all the way back
- The only exception
to the rule above is when a vaulter can penetrate deep into the
pit with very little pole bend (the athlete is jumping over the
top of the pole).
- Bottom Line:
The higher you hold does not necessarily mean that you will jump
higher. Jason Hinkin of Long Beach State University jumped 18'07"1/2
holding only 15'04" which
GRIP WITHIN THE
AREA DESIGNATED BY THE POLE MANUFACTURER
- Almost every pole
is manufactured with a sailpiece. The sailpiece is in the middle
area of the pole designed to withstand the most load. Most poles
today are tapered so that they are thicker in the middle and thinner
at the ends.
- Sailpiece heights
depends upon the length of the pole. The longer the pole, the
higher the sailpiece, the harder to get on the pole.
- There is no linear
relationship between your grip height and pole stiffness. Many
coaches and athletes believe that a pole is a pound stiffer for
every inch held down. This is not true. A vaulter who holds 3
feet down on a pole, will not make the pole 36 pounds stiffer,
because the point at which the most load will occur has now moved
below the sailpiece.
- Bottom Line:
Listen to the manufacturers, they built it, they know how to use
- When gripping within
the recommended grip areas per 1 foot of difference it is generally
considered that per 1 foot difference between poles the weight
rating difference equals 15 pounds.
- Example #1:
A pole which is 14 feet in length, rated for 170 pounds and
is gripped (top hand) at 13 feet is equal to a pole which is 15
feet in length, rated for 155 pounds and is gripped at the same
height of 13 feet.
- Example #2:
Let's say you have a beginning male athlete who is 150 pounds.
Here is a suggested progression for that athlete. 13'/150lbs
- 13'/155lbs - 13'/160lbs - 13'/165lbs - 13'/170lbs - 13'/175lbs
- 14'/165lbs - 14'/170lbs - 14'/175lbs - 15'/165lbs - 15'/170lbs
- 15'/175lbs - 16'/165lbs - 16'/170lbs - 16'/175lbs. The formula
is to keep the vaulter on the same length pole until he/she can
vault on a pole 20-30 pounds over their body weight and then go
up 1 foot in length and drop down 10 pounds with the same hand
grip as the shorter pole used before.
- Bottom Line:
This progression makes the transition to longer poles a whole
lot easier and it forces.
TYPE OF BEND
2. Is the grip width more than shoulder width?
3. Improve technique of run and takeoff
the technique was good or bad, move to a stiffer pole.
the vaulter have good technique?
A. Move to a softer pole
2. Did the vaulter have poor technique?
A. Improve technique
WHEN IN DOUBT
CALL THE MANUFACTURER
- They built it, they
know how to best use thier poles.
- Flex numbers vary
between the different lengths of poles. A 15.0 15 foot pole is
not the same stiffness as 15.0 14 foot pole.
- Bottom Line: Pole
vaulting can be dangerous if you don't know how to use your equipment
within its intended specifications. You wouldn't fly a F-16 without
know how to fly it.
Manufacturer Contact Numbers
UCS/SPIRIT (800) 537-7117 www.ucsspirit.com
GILL SPORTS (800) 637-3090 www.gillsports.com
Pacer, Pacer Carbon, Skypole, MS. Stick
PORTAPIT (800) 648-3347 www.portapit.com