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Pole Vault "What do Ya mean Don't Jump?"

       Studying sequence photos of Tim Lobinger's pole vault may can increase your ability to coach or train for the pole vault. These sequence photos of pole vaulting and pole vault drills with an explanation of proper technique will enhance your pole vault knowledge and form.  These exercises for weightlifting, running, sprinting, throwing and jumping will help develop form, balance, technique, flexibility, speed, strength and power.

  • Photos and videos of athletes in Advantage Athletics are used for reporting public events and educational purposes.  The athletes in these pages are NOT endorsing or promoting Advantage Athletics coaching, web site or products.
    Murray Mead: Masters Vaulter, age 45


    An e-mail Murray sent to me, Tim Werner (Advantage Athletics Pole Vault Coach) April 2, 2000 titled "What do ya mean don"t jump?"

    The first time you saw me vault you said that I needed to drive into the pit farther. I was struggling with a lower abstrain and was happy to just be planting the pole. So I discounted your tip as I knew it looked like I had no drive, because I really did not. Last week you talked about driving straight in with a high plant and my mind twisted that to "I need to jump higher into my plant". Then I tried it and had the same season long problem of stalling and dropping my right leg so as to stop my swing. Then I did the ultimate. I read the instructions! I actually read the full Monte on you web page and was disagreeing all the way about not jumping up when planting, somehow I knew if I could develop a 30' long jump it would propel me into this Giant rock back and I would finally be able to do a handstand on top of my pole.

    Then yesterday I went to the UCLA meet and managed to get down on the field and Curran put me to work on the runway placing the bar up so I could stay close to the action. I really wanted to get a close up look and prove my foregone conclusion that Tim was wrong and I knew better. I was really struggling with what you said because the entire time I have been vaulting I have been working on Improving my jump off the runway so as to get up on this big bent pole.

    After they vaulters got done with their pop ups I smugly stood there waiting for the first leaper to reconfirm what I actually knew. Then bam! The first one came down and broke my golden established rule and planted a 16' 185# Spirit, bent the heck out of it and kicked out the sky. And he never even made the slightest attempt to jump off the runway. He simply drove right downtown with a nice high extended plant and his trail leg seemed to dig up the front of the pit as he rocked back and turned close to the pole and off the end he went. I was in shock. My entire formula was just shook up yet when the pieces fell the were now in proper order. Now each time one of the vaulters came down I first watched their eyes, then shot down to the last 4 steps each time kind of hoping to see them drop down like a high jumper does but there was nothing there to see. They just kept barreling down the runway, shot up the hands directly overhead and proceeded to dig into the pole and whip back, in and up over the bar.

    I could barely wait until today to go try out this new found theory because I still had this little guy on my shoulder telling me that what I had heard and seen were not real. I had been timing my workout schedule so Sunday would be the day to get some real pole work in and it turned out to be the perfect time. My timing has been exceptional lately and I am beginning to think that I have been blessed. I went up to Long Beach State and it was warm and sunny with about a 10-15 mile steady tailwind straight from the back. Conditions perfect. Then Tully and Johnson show up right as I am uncovering the pit so the entire time I am warming up and stretching I get to listen to them instruct this young lady on the proper techniques and know that when they are done on the pit that they hang out for a little while and do some chatting. The moment they moved aside I was roaring down the runway on my 14' 165# Spirit and drove straight in without jumping up. Bang, the pole stayed straight ahead of me and off I went but ended up way back in the pit when I landed. I tried this once more and ended up farther back then the first try. I quickly realized that this pole was no longer usable and got out the 15' 160 and charged back down the runway. I was probably 1' under on my plant but did not leap and drove right in and got the biggest bend on that pole that I have ever felt. Popped me right up on the top so I moved my step back one foot and made sure I carried the pole down like we do in practice and drove straight downtown and got what I nave been looking for all year. Several of the problems that I could not fix were immediately fixed. The pole stayed right in front of me, it bent fully, I could keep my right knee up and did not stall, and my trail leg actually dug in and created energy for the pole to give back as it turned and went up off my top hand.

    Tim Werner Was Right!!!

    I put the bar up to 13' and sailed over with ease. My turn was a little weak and I knew it was because I was overstressing the plant and waiting to see the results instead of following thru with what I started so that was easy to fix. Up went the bar to 14' and I cleared it cleanly with seemingly very little effort. I kept it at 14 and probably cleared it 7 times but my lets started to get heavy and a blister developed on my heel so I decided to call it a perfect day and get ready to set up the next one.

    I started this letter to simply thank you Tim but I hope the story explains my feelings a little better. Feel free to share it with anyone else that you know who was like me and "certain" they knew something but somehow could not seem to improve. The next time my lets are fresh and I am ready to vault I think I am going to start right out on my 15' 165 stiffy because with enough speed and a hesitation free non jumping plant I know it will roll right on in and allow me to go higher.

    Thanks again and although I can not come on this Wednesday I hope to be there the following week.

    Murray Mead

    Masters Champion and still learning.


    The following pictures were taken about a month before the above e-mail was sent.

    Thanks for coming Murray.  You'll find some coaching tips below your pictures.

    Murray came to train with Advantage Athletics one time.  He took a few vaults, and I put them on tape for this page.  He finished the training session with the rest of our pole vault squad.  

    Murray needs to continue to do:

    1. Sprint Drills. They will help him pull his lead foot through better at the plant.

    2. Ground Drills.  They will help him keep his body extended better at the take off.

    3. Cleans in the weight room.  They will help him keep the pole higher above his head in the take-off. 

    4. The Rockback Drills.  They will help him keep his lead knee up and trail leg extended while swinging.

    5. The Tap Slam Drill.  This will help him find the transition between drive and lift.

      • When his top hand, shoulders, hips and trail foot come in line, that line should be at a 45` angle to the box and pointed at the box.
        • Murray's position when this happens is way out in front of his top hand and close to horizontal.
          • As you can see, at the apex of his rockback he doesn't come close to having his feet or hips over his top hand.