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Pole Vault Video Analysis of the Last 3 Steps
by: Tim Werner

       Reading and viewing the comparison of the position, technique and form of these three different levels of pole vaulters in the last three steps of the pole vault may increase your ability to coach or train for the pole vault.  The sequence photos of pole vaulting and pole vault drills with an explanation of proper technique will enhance your pole vault knowledge and form.  The exercises for weightlifting, running, sprinting, throwing and jumping will help develop form, balance, technique, flexibility, speed, strength and power.

      This page compares the position, technique and form of three different levels of pole vaulters in the last three steps of the pole vault.  The first vaulter is a first time Advantage Athletics Club pole vaulter doing this drill for the first time with our club.  The middle vaulter is in his second year of training with Advantage Athletics.  The vaulter on the right is a world class pole vaulter.  Our pole vault coach, Tim Werner, points out the does and don'ts of the last three steps in the pole vault.  This page will help pole vaulters get into their plant more efficiently and help coaches to better coach the last 3 steps of the pole vault.

The new club member needs:

1.     To get his pole tip down to level with the runway.  That way when his hands rise the pole tip will drop.   The world class vaulter can have his pole tip a little higher because there's more weight further out in front of him.  When he raises the top of the pole the tip will still drop. 

2.     To get upright.  He is leaning too far forward.

3.     Pick his right foot up.  He needs to strengthen his hamstrings. 

The new club vaulter needs:

1.     To get his top hand up above his shoulders so he's in a position to press the pole up coming off the right foot (second to last step).

2.     To raise his top (right) hand in front of his shoulder.  When he brings it up from behind his shoulder, it turns his shoulders to much to the side.

3.     Notice how high his pole tip is still.  That's because it wasn't level when his hands started to rise.  This will cause the pole to bend towards the ground when it strikes the box.

The new club vaulter needs:

1.     To press his top hand above his shoulder.  The other vaulters have their top hand directly above their shoulder.

2.     To keep his top arm and elbow behind his face.  To do this we tell our vaulters to keep their right elbow out to the side and get their top arm straight before the pole tip and their take off foot hits the ground.

3.     To press both hands up.  His left hand is in front of his face.  His horizontal eye line (the direction his eyes are looking) should be under his bottom hand.  What he's doing will force the shoulders to stop if that hand presses forward at the plant.  That will force the hips to get in front of the shoulders too early in the take off.

4.     To pick his feet up.  Same as before.

5.     He's also landing too hard on his heal at the plant.  This is a blocking motion and will slow him down.

The new club vaulter needs:

1.     Press both hands up.  He's looking directly at his bottom hand and leaning on it.  The pole should bend with your speed not your weight.

2.     Pick his feet up.  Note:  Pull the toes through too.

3.     The left hand and arm should be pressed up behind your ears.

4.     Keep his shoulders directly above his hips.

5.     Get his top arm straight.

6.     SPECIAL NOTE!!!  The world class vaulters bottom arm is more extended here (not straight) because he's holding much higher on the pole than the other vaulters.  His pole is closer to horizontal than the other vaulters.  If the center vaulter had his bottom arm more extended here, that would force his top hand and arm out in front of his head and shoulders.  That would cause a blocking action of the shoulders.  Many coaches see this long left arm in the world class vaulter and mistake it for a locked out straight bottom arm.  That's wrong to teach pole vaulters that hold much lower on poles.