Not all Grips are Created Equal!
I think every coach's and athlete's goal is to set a new PR, and one way we all know to do that is by gripping up. It seems so simple, grip higher and you will jump higher, but is that always the case? There are times when you might find out that your grip has gone up 6" to 12" and yet, you haven't pr'd yet. In these moments we tell ourselves that the grip alone is an indicator that we are getting better, and anytime now we will have that PR we are looking for. What does it m
When Should you Grip Up?
Everyone knows that if you grip higher, you can jump higher, but how do you know if you should grip up? Often coaches and athletes will try to raise grip, regardless of pole speed which can lead to athletes getting stood up, veering to the left or right and possibly hit a standard, and or get rejected. This can eventually lead to an athlete that now has developed fear of taking off due to some sketchy jumps. That’s when the run throughs begin. So how can this be avoided? Coac
Where's the Analysis?
After watching the world championships this past week, it makes me wonder, where’s all the analysis? Why aren’t their people breaking down the meet, the good, the bad, the ugly? Every other sport has great analysis. It’s because our sport has a problem with honesty. Pole Vault, like the rest of track, wants to paint a picture of a friendly nice sport, where everyone is kind and caring. Everyone hugs each other after every event and no one can be criticized. And then there’s
Does Getting Inverted Matter?
Does getting inverted matter? Maybe. It all depends on how fast your jump is and whether you can get to the invert and start the turn soon enough in your jump. Forcing an athlete to invert can actually slow down their jump and create jumps without turns. When watching a jump and looking at the off the ground sections there are three distinct sections, take off, swing, and turn. Every jump needs those sections. There are times that you have beginners, especially an athlete who
You are not the Priority when Coaching
Coaching is a rewarding job that allows you to connect with so many people and change lives. The reward comes from knowing that you made an impact, but there’s only one way you can actually have an impact. Stop making yourself the priority! I see many coaches out there who want to win, and who doesn’t. However if you coach long enough you realize it takes time to develop a county, state, or national champ. And even more importantly it take the right athlete. On a long enough
Why you need more drills!
When I think back to when I first started coaching, one mistake I made was not using and implemented enough drills. The longer I coach the more drills I use and knowing when to use a drill and what the purpose is becomes more important. Every mistake an athlete makes could use a drill to fix it. I am the first to say full jumps are great and any pole vaulting program should include a high volume of full jumps, but there a couple thing to keep in mind. Full jumps can be done a
Context is Key
Are straight pole drills are the best drills, and the key to jumping high. Maybe? It all depends on context. Are we discussing beginners, experts, what part of the season are we talking about? What weakness in the vault are we trying to address? When is your next meet? What are your personal goals? Knowing the context of a drill or progression is needed before we prescribe them to athletes. We all tend to romanticize whatever we recently did to get a pr and tell the world th
Frequency vs Volume
I often get asked how many times you should do a drill in practice, and the thing is there is no magic number of reps, and what I would argue is that how frequently you do a drill is more important than the volume at any one practice. In fact if you do a drill for too long in practice the drill will go stale (they stop getting better and actually get worse after a certain number of reps). Certain drills may have a time and place during a certain time of year, but then there’s
Gymnastics is overrated for Pole Vaulters
I can already hear the haters, gymnastics drills translate to the pole vault so well, many great pole vaulters were former gymnasts, gymnastics develop “body awareness”, and lastly gymnastics develops strength. I will address all of these areas and explain how at best, gymnastics exercises can have some carry over in movement and similar muscle groups being used in pole vault, and at worst little to no similarity to pole vault and complete waste of time. Let’s talk about the
Is a Collapsed Bottom Arm a Big Deal?
It seems that no matter how high, or low, you vault all anyone comments on is whether or not your bottom arm is collapsed. Should you care? Probably not as much as the rest of the vault community, but you should probably care about your bottom arm only as much as you care about your pole carry, running mechanics, plant, jumping mechanics, swing etc. Although I don’t think a vaulter should have a collapsed bottom arm I do not think the emphasis that the vault community puts on