What should you Expect at your First Pole Vault Practice?
At first you may think of people running as fast as they can from as far as they can vaulting as high as they can. What else can someone expect at a pole vault practice? And that thought alone could be very intimidating. How does someone learn how to vault as a beginner? Well you will be pleasantly surprised to find out that from the warmup to actual “jumping” there are a variety of drills with and without a pole that beginners and experienced athletes do at every practice. So going to your first practice won’t be as intimidating as you think!
At Apex we start every practice with a warm-up that not only helps prepare the body for explosive movement but also addresses technical needs for the event as well! We begin with a hip walk/jog and some skips along with dynamic stretching. The hip walk/jog gently allows athletes to get some blood flow into their legs and teaches them how to use their hips to allow for bigger strides.
Following, we do running drills. For any pole vault practice it is essential to have running drills to focus on proper mechanics of running. Learning the skill of running is crucial in the vault because the faster you can run, and proper technique aids in this, the higher you can jump!
Next up, pole drops. This drill allows athletes to learn how to properly hold and carry the pole as well as how to plant it properly while standing still. Eventually they will carry this skill (the plant) over to pole runs, and while they vault!
The next drill we do is a roll-over drill. In this upper body drill the athlete learns two skills! They will learn how to move the pole forward (pole speed) and how to raise their center of mass (swing speed). Both skills are crucial in the vault. Moving the pole forward allows for higher grips and being able to get your body up off the ground allows you to clear higher bars! And this drill also allows athletes to start building the upper body strength they will need in this sport!
Now we get to pole runs! During pole runs athletes will use the skills they learned during pole drops and plant the pole while running. They will start to learn the the skill of plant timing.
The final warm up drill is the jumping drill. Jumping is an important skill in the pole vault. Athletes must transition from a sprint into a jump at the end of their approach so we use a jumping drill without a pole to learn this skill. After this drill the 30min warm up is over and you are ready to begin implementing all these new skills you have started learning! We move onto the pole vault pit and start to combine some of these skills.
Once on the pit beginners will start to combine the jumping drill and roll-overs. Once they show enough skill to land deeply in the pit more skills are taught like swinging, turning, and pushing off.
On a first day most of the jumps will take place from 2 to 6 total steps and often the plant isn’t introduced during jumping to keep things as simple as possible.
Often beginners might see more experienced athletes do the same drills they do on a first day because those drills are the foundation of great pole vaulting and can always be more refined and revisited by even the most skilled and experienced of athlete. These drills teach and progress athletes towards mastery of skills that are needed in pole vaulting!
As you can see any well designed pole vault practice, just like at Apex Vaulting, is designed to teach the skills needed in the vault with drills that provide progressions and regressions to meet each athlete’s needs! Even on an athlete’s first day they can start to learn the skills they need in the vault and become successful!
P.S. If you are a coach and need help designing the structure of your warm up or practices please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org