Hold your coaches to a high standard!
I want to start this article by saying that there are lots of great coaches out there that have a system, progressions, and show great passion and commitment to their athletes. The club scene in pole vault is especially great. I see lots of great club programs out there that coach over a hundred kids, up to 8 years at a time. And people who need help coaching should search out these coaches and clubs to learn from them, everyone in the pole vault community is happy to help.
This article however is directed at athletes. I often see athletes that are sometimes stuck at a high school or college that doesn’t have a knowledgeable or qualified coach in the pole vault and I think that the athletes have to hold those coaches to a higher standard. If that coach isn’t using some sort of system or progression of drills or jumps, no mid marks being used, have a talk with your coach. How do practices run? Are there lots of run throughs? Are you bouncing off the standards half the time? Do you pr one meet then no height the next three meets? These are bad signs. Any coach worth their position should be able to orchestrate a practice with few run-throughs and very safe jumps. And beyond that there should be progress throughout the year.
I have unfortunately seen too many dedicated athletes in situations where the coach is literally holding them back. Athletes need to have respectful conversations with these coaches and let them know their concerns. Any mature adult, especially a coach needs to have the athlete’s best interest in mind and if there are problems at practice they have to be open to help.
Coaches need to be held accountable and it starts with the athletes! Look I own a club where we have over 100 pole vaulters a year. You wouldn’t be able to coach that volume of athletes without a logical safe system in place. A college or high school coach with 10 athletes shouldn’t have a problem. At Apex we wouldn’t have any clients if we couldn’t keep our athletes safe and help them get better. High school and college coaches should be kept to the same standard. Don’t accept mediocrity!