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Pole Vault Plant Technique and Drills
by Advantage Athletics Pole Vault Coach
Tim Werner

Pole Carry / Plant / Take Off / Swing / Rockback / Pull, Turn & Push

       Pole Vault by Advantage Athletics can 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.

Technique

The Pole Vault Plant

The pole vault plant starts on the left foot two strides before the take-off. The pole at this point is level with the runway. The right hand moves directly vertical up the side of the body and finishes directly above the head. The left hand is also moving up as the pole tip continues to lower. If the pole tip starts level with the top hand both hands can be moving up through this phase. Continue to run tall and maintain running turnover, pulling the toes through quickly and not letting them point of drag behind. The stride length must remain constant. Only the stride frequency accelerates. The right hand should be at ear height and behind the ear when the vaulter is on his/her right foot. The pole tip continues to lower, and the hands continue to rise. The top hand reaches its highest point with the top hand extended as high as possible when the left foot touches the ground. The top arm should stay behind the ear. Do NOT throw the hands forward. The pole vault pole tip must not touch the back of the box before this task is finished. The hips, shoulders, head and top hand should be directly above the take-off foot when the pole tip hits the back of the box. The lead leg should continue its natural running movement off the ground.

The idea of this pole vault plant is to run the pole vault pole tip into the box. During the pole vault plant the top of the pole rises but maintains its horizontal acceleration in conjunction with the run. All energies are focused on getting the top of the pole to its fastest and tallest position while maintaining the direction of speed. Any change in this will result in energy and efficiency loss.

Do not try to jump off the take-off. To jump the vaulter must change the running form, which will slow the vaulter down. Jumping off the ground also changes the direction of the forces generated in the run. Any attempt to jump over the pole is only taking potential energy from the pole.

Drills

Standing Pole Vault Stretch

This drill is first done with both feet directly under the top hand. The vaulter should keep her abdominal muscles tight and hips tucked under. Feel the stretch in the top arm shoulder while pressing the top hand up. This stretch should be kept in the plant and through the take off. Second, we stretch the top arm shoulder standing with the pole tip against the curb. Keep the shoulders square, parallel, with the curb or box.

Notice the feet are a little behind the top hand. We do this just to help the stretch.

Kneeling Pole Vault Shoulder Stretch

We stretch the top arm shoulder kneeling on our take-off knee directly under our take-off hand. The top hand, shoulders, hips and knee should be in a vertical line. The lead foot is directly under the lead knee. While the vaulter presses the head, shoulders and hips forward, to stretch the shoulder, they all stay in the vertical line. We maintain the stretch on the top arm shoulder with our left hand on the pole. The left hand is pushing up on the pole, not forward, while still stretching the right shoulder. The head, shoulders and hips must stay in the vertical line.

Pole Vault Plant Position Drill

Put the pole vault pole tip in the box or against a curb. Put the top hand on the top portion of the pole where the vaulter normally holds. Put the take-off foot directly under the top hand. Put the bottom hand on the pole. If the vaulter looks straight ahead, he/she should be able to see under their bottom hand. The hands should be slightly less than one arm's length apart. The lead knee is up and level with the hips. The lead toe is up and directly under the lead knee. Put a mark where the take-off toe is on the ground.

Leaving the take-off foot stationary and the top hand above the head, step back with the right foot and put it on the ground a couple of feet behind the left foot. The hips, shoulders and top hand should be above the right foot with the left foot on the plant mark. Step forward into the take-off position. Keep the hips, shoulders and top hand in line and vertical as they move forward until the pole tip hits the back of the box or curb. Keep the pole tip on the ground as it moves back and forth in this drill. Do not lean on the pole when it hits the back of the box or curb.

Pole Vault One Step Plant Drill

Start in the pole vault plant position. Step back with the right foot. This time start from the top hand at ear level and behind the ear. Keep the top hand behind the ear. Step back with the left foot and put it on the ground one step behind the right foot. Leave the right foot one step from the plant position. Left the pole tip 6" off the ground. Keep the elbows out.

With the right foot on the ground one step from the plant position and the left foot one step behind the right foot, the vaulter is ready to start the "One Step Plant." The pole tip should still be 6" off the ground and the top hand behind the ear. Step forward into the plant position raising the right hand straight up. Keep the top arm behind the ear. Do not push the pole into the box. Lower the pole tip as the hands rise. The top hand should be completely extended before the pole tip reaches the back of the box or the left foot touches the ground. Do not let the left foot pass the left knee as it steps forward. Make sure the toes of the right foot pull through under the hips and into the plant position quickly. Do not let the toes of the feet point back as they rise coming off each step.

Pole Vault Two Step Plant Drill

Start in the pole vault plant position. Step back with the right foot to the one step plant position. Step back with the right foot leaving the left foot on the ground two steps from the plant. The right foot should be on the ground one step behind the left foot. As the vaulter steps back with the right foot, he/she lowers the right hand to just above and along side the hip and raises the pole tip to the same height as the top hand. From this position the vaulter steps forward into the one step plant position raising the top hand to the ear and lowering the pole tip as they move forward. The feet should make the same turn-over as in the one step plant drill. Continue moving forward into the pole vault plant position. Make the movement of the top hand from it's lowest position to it's highest position one movement.