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Troubleshooting The Pole Vault


     The pole vault is a complex event that takes some years to master. Pole Vaulters will encounter many potential technical and mental barriers in their efforts to master the event. In order for a vaulter to improve his/her performance, it is crucial for the coach to identify and remedy the problems confronting his athlete.
     Identifying a problem, such as a late plant or a step that is off, is relatively simple. The bigger challenge is discovering the reason a
given problem exists. This outline will identify common pole vaulting problems, examine different causes for each problem, and present methods to help fix each problem individual.




    Deceleration into takeoff


1. Approach may be too long.

  • Speed and experience primarily determine approach length

  • Elite male vaulters use 9-11 strides (120 - 150 feet)

  • Elite female vaulters use 7-9 strides (80 - 110 feet)

  • Do not lengthen approach until proficiency at current approach is achieved

2. Top speed is achieved too early in the approach

  • Shorten approach

  • Focus on smooth/rhythmic acceleration during the approach

3. Lack of confidence in step, plant and/or ability

  • Repeat approaches on track

  • Short approach jumps with small pole and low grip


    Inconsistent/unstable run-up


(This refers to a step that wavers randomly between being inside and outside)
1. Focus on rhythmic acceleration

  • Beginning of approach should be powerful, building towards quicker turnover

  • Full speed should be reached 2-3 steps from the box

  • Repeat approaches on track without visual reference point, focusing on rhythm

    • Coach checks plant mark to determine consistency.

  • Repeat approaches on track with visual reference point, (towel, sliding box)

    • Coach checks takeoff foot to determine consistency

  • Check Mark. Six steps out from box

    • Coach checks mark - athlete should not attempt to see it

  • Approach problems tend to occur early in the approach

Recommended Resources

Recommended Resources

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Complete Speed Training
Functional Strength Coach 3.0

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