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Pole Vault "Power Vaulting"
by Advantage Athletics
A Pole Vault Guide with technique, drills and everything you need to coach or train for the pole vault.

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.

By: Tim Werner
polevaults@aol.com

Pole Vault Coach
Advantage Athletics

Advantage Athletics is our track and field club.  Our pole vault coach wrote this pole vault guide to help our pole vaulters understand and follow his coaching.  Pole vaulters can refer to this pole vault booklet at any time to review pole vault technique and pole vault drills.  By viewing our Advantage Athletics Pole Vault web site any pole vaulter can see pictures of pole vaulters doing the pole vault drills in this booklet.  Our pole vaulters follow the 30 Week Pole Vault Training Program above.


 Table of Contents

PREFACE

POWER VAULTING

Standing at the Back of the Pole Vault Runway

To Start the  Pole Vault Run

The Pole Vault Acceleration and Pole Drop

The Pole Vault Speed Plant

The Pole Vault Take-off

The Pole Vault Tap Swing

The Pole Vault Power Rockback

The Pole Vault Clean, Turn and Push

The  Pole Vault Bar Clearance.

POWER VAULTING DRILLS

THE POLE VAULT SPEED PLANT DRILLS
     A.  The  Pole Vault Plant Position
     B.  The Pole Vault One Step Plant
     C.  The Pole Vault Two Step Plant

THE POLE VAULT POLE CARRY DRILLS

Set Up
      A.  Pole Vault Plant Position Running
      B.  Pole Vault Hurdle Drill
      C.  Catching the Pole Vault Step

SAND POLE VAULTING DRILLS
     A.  Eight Step Sand Pole Vaults
     B.  Bending the Pole Vault Pole (Distance Vaulting)

POLE VAULT TAKE-OFF DRILLS
     A.  Bleacher Climbs
     B.  "A" Frame Climbs

THE  POLE VAULT POWER ROCKBACK DRILLS
     A.  High Bar Pole Vault Power Rockbacks
     B.  The Pole Vault Power Rockback Rack
     C.  Pole Vault Tap Slams
     D.  Swinging Rings

THE POLE VAULT CLEAN, TURN AND PUSH DRILLS
     A.  Upside-down Rope Climbs
     B.  Rope Pole Vaulting
     C.  High Bar Pole Vaulting

POLE VAULT GROUND DRILLS
     A.  Pole Vault Power Rockbacks
     B.  Pole Vault Leg Arches
     C.  Pole Vault Sit-ups
     D.  Pole Vault Back Arches
     E.  Pole Vault Abdominal Crunches


PREFACE

    Power Vaulting was devised from many years of researching speed, strength and mechanics. These three factors complement each other. When training for the pole vault all three must remain in mind. Maximum speed on the pole vault runway without losing horizontal speed at the take-off dictates what the pole vaulter can do on the pole. The strength of the pole vaulter determines the limitations of the use of the pole vaulters levers. With the proper use of all the lever's available the pole vaulter can complete all tasks with utmost efficiency.

     I believe in:  
1.  Pushing the pole down the pole vault runway.
2.  Running through the take-off with maximum speed in mind.
3.  Trying to keep the body straight and out of the inverted "C".
4.  The tap swing and the power rockback of an extended body.
5.  Cleaning (as in weight lifting) the top of the pole while up-side-down, and a quick turn and balance on top of the pole.
All these actions are focused on two distinct forces generated by the body: horizontal and vertical. First all energy is focused on one and then the other. The tap swing is the transition between the two forces.

     I do not believe in:       
1.  Carrying or dragging the pole down the runway, because it causes excess forward lean.
2.  Pushing the pole forward at the plant, because if the pole is being pushed forward, the body is being pushed back.
3.  Jumping off the ground, because it slows the run and misdirects the energy over the horizontal speed of the top of the pole. Every time there is a change in direction there is energy lost.
4.  Thrusting the hips forward at take-off, because it causes the body, not the pole, to absorb the energy generated by the run. Every time there is a transfer in energy there is a loss of energy.
5.  "Rowing" the top of the pole, because it misdirects the horizontal energy generated by the run and creates a negative angle of the top arm. It points toward the crossbar.  If a pole vaulter         watches a crew team row they will see the rower pull the ores into their waist. Crew team           athletes never drive their shoulders down and back.  This is an important part of the pole vault. Pole vaulters drive their shoulders down and back at the same time the legs and hips rise.  If a pole vaulter pulls the pole into their waist and leaves their shoulders up their shoulders will stay on the runway side of the pole.  That's why coaches that teach pole vaulters to row tell them to turn and wait.  If pole vaulters do this no work is being done.  If a pole vaulter rows and then pulls, their shoulders will rise on the runway side of the pole.  This will cause the rest of their body on the other side of the pole to drop.
6.  Turning from below the hands, because it discontinues the downward vertical force toward the box that was started in the power rockback.
7.  Holding or waiting, because no work is being done.

     Over the next pages I will explain all of these factors in detail. I hope you keep an open mind and think about the steps of "Power Vaulting 1998."


POWER VAULTING
By: Tim Werner
www.advantageathletics.com
(for the right handed vaulter)

Standing at the Back of the Pole Vault Runway

     Place the left foot on the starting mark. The right foot will be slightly behind and to the right of the left foot for good balance. Hold the right hand along side of the body at or above the waist. The left hand holds the pole a few inches in front of the chest. The pole is balanced in an almost vertical position. The vaulter should be in a position ready to drive off the starting mark.

To Start the Pole Vault Run

     The right hand remains constant at the waist. The top hand holds the pole a few inches away from the chest as the initial body lean and push-off of the left foot tilts the pole toward the pit. Drive hard off the left foot to get the pole moving. Transfer the weight of the pole into the right hand. The legs are driving the hips. The hips are driving the top hand and the top hand is driving the tip of the pole. Relax the drive and work into a smooth accelerating run.

The Pole Vault Acceleration and Pole Drop

     The pole vault acceleration and pole drop begins at the starting mark an ends when the tip of the pole hits the back of the box. The pole tip has a smooth and constant drop to a horizontal position during the acceleration and pole drop. The height of the pole tip dictates the speed and form of the run. The run gets faster and the turn-over of the feet moves forward under the hips as the pole tip drops. If the right hand gets behind the hips during the acceleration and pole drop push it forward going into the left foot as the pole reaches its level position. The vaulter may have to raise his or her elbows slightly to get the pole to a perfectly level position. For the high school pole vaulter this position is about hip level. For the more advanced vaulter, this level position will be higher do to the longer length and heavier pole.

The Pole Vault Speed Plant

     The pole vault speed 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 speed 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.

The Pole Vault Take-off

     The pole vault take-off and drive start with the take-off foot leaving the ground and the pole contacting the back of the box and continue until the tap swing begins. The lead leg stays in its natural running position in front of the body with the foot under the knee. The head drives forward. The left hand moves up with balanced resistance. With beginner vaulters, it is best to teach emphasis on the top hand and keep the bottom arm relaxed.  We teach our beginner vaulters that their top hand is their support and to keep their support (top hand) above their head while riding the pole to a position over and past the top of the box before they swing their trail leg.  For more advanced vaulters there is a balanced resistance with the bottom arm.  This resistance must be up and not too much forward that it stops the shoulders from moving horizontally.  Blocking with the bottom arm (keeping the bottom arm straight or pressing forward too much) stops the horizontal movement of the shoulders and causes the hips to swing forward too soon. The vaulters head, shoulders and hips should stay in a vertical line during the take-off.  This is the most efficient way to transfer the energy into the pole generated by the run. This also forces the pole to roll over the box (so the top of the pole can continue to move forward) rather than compress the top of the pole into the box (causing the pole to return in the opposite direction ).

     We don't teach our beginner vaulters to jump off the ground.  The angle of take-off is dictated by: how tall the vaulter is, how high the vaulter is holding on the pole and the amount of bend on the pole at maximum bend.  We do teach them to pop of the ground.  Keeping in mind that vaulting poles are made to bend to 66.6% of their original length...a vaulter holding a pole at 12' can take that pole down to 8' with 8.5" of that in the box.  A 6' vaulter has a standing grip on a vertical pole at 7'4".  With the pole in the box that's already above the normal maximum bend of a pole holding at 12'.  We also need to remember that maximum bend is not vertically above the box.  Maximum bend is just past 45`.  That puts a 6' tall vaulter's 14'+ standing grip still above the poles maximum bend when the pole is just above 45` if the vaulter drives straight forward horizontally off the ground.  When a 6' vaulter starts to hold above 14' on a pole, it is time to start teaching that vaulter to start adding vertical jump into the take-off.  Remember this vertical jump in the take-off is proportionate to the vaulters height, handgrip and amount of bend in the pole.  If a vaulter is holding low and bending the pole, there is no need to jump up at take-off.  If the vaulter is holding high and the maximum bend of the pole when the pole is at 50` is above the vertical reach of the vaulter, that vaulter needs to add vertical jump to the take-off.  That angle of take-off is different for all vaulters.  

     Keep the shoulders square to the pit. Keep the back straight and both hands up and moving forward with the body. Try to keep the head, shoulders and hips in a vertical line and extended as it passes through the take-off. Do not let the hips get out in front of the vertical line of the shoulders. Drive forward until the shoulders and hips line up directly under the bottom hand. Be sure to keep the abdominal muscles tight, the chest straight ahead and vertical (not rolled or pointed up, sometimes caused by jumping up), the body rigid and the hands moving forward. Keep the body long and the hands as high while the pole lifts the body through the drive.

     Extend the body. Do not hang. Extending is working. Hanging is not work. It will only cause the body to collapse and absorb any energy that should go into the pole. If the vaulter wishes to do this, just remember, any time there is a transfer of energy there is also a loss of energy.

     Do not try to "row" or move hands forward to a position above or in front of the shoulders after coming off the ground. This will do two things. It will redirect the energy of the run into the box. The box is a barrier. We are trying to roll the pole over the box, not compress it into it. "Rowing" the hands forward also limits the rise of the hips. I’ll talk about this in more detail in the pages to come. If you row, you cannot clean the top of the pole.

The Pole Vault Tap Swing

   The  pole vault tap swing is a transition point between the horizontal forces generated from the run and the downward vertical forces applied to the pole generated in the rockback, clean (or pull) and push. The tap swing is initiated with the driving down of the trail foot to bring it in line with the knee and hips and the bringing of the left leg and hips in line with the top arm. This driving of the trail foot down can be compared to the gymnast’s tap of the feet on the horizontal bar. It helps lengthen the body and load the pole giving it its maximum kinetic energy. It ends when the trail foot is in line with the hips, shoulders, and top hand.

The Pole Vault Power Rockback

     The transition from the pole vault tap swing to the pole vault power rockback starts with the trail leg and hips coming in line with the shoulders and top hand. It is best when the body moves through this point when the vaulter is at a 45 degree angle to the runway with his/her feet in the direction of the box. Keep the shoulders from dropping back before full extension of the body (Or piking at the shoulders before full extension).  The power rockback starts when the body, from the shoulders to the trail foot, begins to rotate around the shoulders. Keep the trail leg extended and long. At times the trail leg bends to speed the rockback but it MUST be extended when the trail leg reaches the top hand.  The shoulders drive down and back at the same time the trail leg and hips lift.  Do not let the top hand catch up to or pass the shoulders. Try to keep the head in line with the body as it helps drive the shoulders back. Keep the hips moving through the rockback in a circular motion around the shoulders. Emphasize lifting the hips with a piked body (bent at the waist) up the vertical line while driving the shoulders back. This helps to load the pole more and keep it moving forward. The lead leg comes in line with and slightly passes the trail leg towards the end of the power rockback getting ready for the turn. Piking at the hips speeds the rockback.  Bending the trail leg because you do not have the strength or speed to do this most efficiently lets the pole recoil early. If this happens, the vaulter's top hand will pass the shoulders, the vaulter will have to split the legs swinging the lead leg around and past the top hand, and the lead knee will be stuck under the piece of pole between the hands. The Bubka drill is done when the straight trail leg reaches the top hand. The body must NOT shoot out of this position.  If the vaulter comes out of this position too rapidly the legs and feet will drop out in front of the vaulter.  The Bubka drill must be done on the pole in timing with the pole recoiling.  If done properly the vaulters shoulders will drop or "rockback" under the vaulters extended body. The power rockback ends when the extended body covers the top of the pole. If this is completed before the top hand catches up with shoulders the weight of the vaulter will have its base of support on top of the pole rather than resting on his/her shoulders. This will point the body, from the shoulders to the feet, away from the crossbar. This enables the vaulter to "clean" (or pull) the top of the pole to below his or her shoulders. From there the vaulter can make a quick turn balancing on top of the pole. "Cleaning" (a weightlifting term or lift) the top of the pole also keeps the pole compressed and moving forward.

     This brings us back to why the vaulter should not "row" the hands forward. If the line from the shoulders to the top hand ever points vertical, or even worse, toward the crossbar, the vaulter cannot position his or her weight on top of the pole. "They" say not to pull, because if the vaulter pulls while in this position, the force of the shoulders rising behind the pole will cause the feet to drop in front of the pole.

    By completing this move properly the vaulter raises his /her base of support from the shoulders to above the top hand.





The Pole Vault Clean, Turn and Push

     This all begins as soon as the extended body lands on top of the pole. The "clean" can only take place if the body is pointed away from the crossbar. Pull the top of the pole under the shoulders and rotate the body around the line of the pole while maintaining balance upside-down. Roll the body back onto the pole as explained in The Parallel Bar Drill. Rotation of the pole in the box and the movement of the right elbow out helps to keep the top hand and pole under the shoulders and body. When first learning this move try to keep the right shoulder as close to the right hand as possible without pushing. This will make it easier to balance on top of the pole. Keep the feet on top of the shoulders and body while cleaning, turning and pushing. Pull and push down through the box. Keep the head down and in line with the back. Keep the top hand under the shoulders through the push. Pushing can only be done if the body still has vertical rise momentum. If the vaulter tries to push when the body is not balanced on top of the hand and box he/she will only force the rest of the body down. When the body reaches its apex in its rise push the pole back towards the runway with a flick of the wrist. Throwing the pole back towards the runway with the whole arm can cause the vaulter to lose his/her rotation around the crossbar. It may also cause the chest to drop into the crossbar.

The  Pole Vault Bar Clearance

     The pole vault bar clearance starts when the body has completed its turn and the shoulders have passed the top hand. Use the top hand to keep the pole under the shoulders and above the box at the beginning of the bar clearance. Keep the feet leading the body and the top hand trailing. Keep the chest concave when rotating over the crossbar. Pull the top hand toward the shoulder with the elbow out as it passes over the crossbar. The pole vaulter continues to rotate safely landing on his/her back in the pit.

________________________________________________________________________

POWER VAULTING DRILLS
www.advantageathletics.com

THE POLE VAULT SPEED PLANT DRILLS

A.  The Pole Vault Plant Position

     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.

B.  The Pole Vault One Step Plant

     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.

C. The Pole Vault Two Step Plant

     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.

________________________________________________________________________

THE POLE VAULT POLE CARRY DRILLS

Set Up
     1.  Put a tape box on the pole vault runway or track with plenty of running room after the tape box.
     2.  Measure your pole vault step and put a tape mark (#1) at the starting point.
     3.  Put a tape mark (#2) two steps out from the pole vault plant. (The left foot for a left foot take-off)
    4.  Stand on the #2 tape mark, holding the pole horizontal in the two step plant position. Place two hurdles, one on each side of the runway, along side of the pole tip with the hurdles set at the same height as the hip. Place two more hurdles in the same manner ten yards from the first set of hurdles. Place two more hurdles in the same manner ten yards from the second set of hurdles. Now, you should have three sets of hurdles, ten yards apart and all set at hip height (about high hurdle height).

A.  Pole Vault Plant Position Running

     Start at the starting mark. Put the plant up in the take-off position with the pole vault pole tip 6" off the ground. Do full approach runs in this position keeping your running speed through the box. The top hand stays directly above the head and behind the ear tying to keep the hand high. The left arm pushes up on the pole to maintain its position. The bottom arm elbow is bent.  Both elbows are out.  Work on keeping the hands above the head while the feet maintain good turnover as described in the one step plant drill. Try to keep the knees up. Accelerate until a constant stride length is achieved then maintain that stride length. Accelerating from here is only done by increasing the tempo of the stride. Keep running until you pass the box.

B.  Pole Vault Hurdle Drill

    Begin at your starting mark with a normal approach start with the pole vault pole up in the vertical position. Do the pole vault acceleration and pole drop phase of the approach. When you reach the #2 tape mark on the runway the pole tip should be even with the top of the hurdles and over the center of the runway. Hold the pole in this position, level with the runway, until the pole tip reaches the second set of hurdles. Put the plant up on the next two steps. Let the pole tip hit the ground when the plant goes up. Hold the plant up until the body passes the last set of hurdles. Try to maintain total body and pole stability and proper running technique as described in the speed plant drills. Keep the stride length constant through this phase.

C.  Catching the Pole Vault Step

     Using a starting mark, a tape box and a mark at the plant on the track ,do full pole vault run approaches. Use this drill to practice the pole vault approach and speed plant. Run through the plant. Have someone catch the pole vaulter's step each time. Measure this approach from the back of the box to the starting mark and use this distance on the runway to measure the pole vaulter's step for pole vaulting. This drill can be used to get the measurement for any length  pole vault run.

________________________________________________________________________

SAND POLE VAULTING DRILLS

A.  Eight Step Sand Pole Vaults

     Do this pole vault drill on a soft pole vault pole or a pole vault training pole. Dig a hole in the shape of a pole vaulting box in the front of the long jump pit. Make sure the long jump pit sand is soft. Start with a very low grip on the pole. Practice the pole vault plant position, pole vault one step plant and pole vault two step plant drills into the sand. Hold low enough so you can pole vault into the sand from the two step plant. During these vaults hold the body in the take-off position and keep the top arm straight until you land in the sand. Try to stay in an upright position by rotating the top arm around the shoulders after you pass the box. This will keep the pressure on the pole tip after the body passes the box. Swing the trail leg forward. Keep the body and shoulders straight until you land in the pit. Do not turn.

    Do the same as above from 4 steps, 6 steps and 8 steps. From these short runs you won’t be able to start with the pole in a vertical position. As the approach gets longer the pole tip starts higher. The vaulter can also raise his/her grip with each longer run. Work back to a consistent 8 step vault into the sand. If it’s hard to keep your top arm straight through the vault, raise your grip. If it is too difficult to get into the pit, lower your grip. Look for a smooth pole drop, proper running form, a constant stride length going into the plant, a good 2 step plant and control through the vault.

B. Bending the Pole Vault Pole (Distance Vaulting)

     Do eight step sand pole vaults. Work on proper technique during the run and plant. Run through the take-off. Do not let the plant slow you down. Try to maintain horizontal speed through the take-off. Try not to let the pole lift you. Make the speed of the run roll the pole forward. Stay balanced and in control. After you pass the box, rotate the top arm around the shoulders while swinging the trail leg forward. The top arm continues to put pressure back on the box after you pass it. Do not turn. Swing the feet as far back into the pit as possible. You can release the pole once the top hand reaches the hips. Try to stay straight and land safely in the sand. Try to land as far back into the sand as possible.

________________________________________________________________________

THE POLE VAULT TAKE-OFF DRILLS

A.  Bleacher Climbs

     It is best to wear leather gloves or tape over the palms and fingers for protection when doing this drill. Find a safe place to climb under the bleachers free of scaffolding. Start on a step close to the bottom. Grab hold of a step with an overhand grip. Pull your feet off the ground. Pull up with your arms and reach back with one hand. Grab hold of the next step up and bring both hands together on the higher step. Pull up again and reach back with the opposite hand grabbing hold of the next higher step. Bring both hands together on the higher step. Repeat this climbing to a safe height where you can climb down the scaffolding or release and drop safely to the ground. Try to keep the shoulders straight and the body still while climbing.

    This drill, along with "A" FRAME CLIMBS, will help develop the strength of the pole vaulter, so the pole vaulter's hands will not collapse at the take-off. It helps transfer the energy of the pole vault run more efficiently into the pole vault pole.

B.  "A" Frame Climbs

     Find a large "A" frame that supports gymnastics equipment for climbing. Many times these frames have slanted pipes supporting the vertical pipes. Start at the bottom of the slanted pipes and pull yourself up the frame hand-over-hand reaching backwards as you go up the pipe. Climb to a safe height and slide back down the pipe using your legs for support.

________________________________________________________________________

THE POLE VAULT POWER ROCKBACK DRILLS

A.  Pole Vault High Bar Power Rockbacks

     The purpose of this drill is to develop the pole vault rockback strength in the shoulders. Use a bar high enough to keep the feet off the ground when you are hanging from the bar. Hold the bar the same way you would hold the vaulting pole. Have someone push your shoulders about four inches in front of the bar. Hold the body in the take-off position and rockback. Try to keep the body as long as possible. Make sure your shoulders are always in front of the bar. Keep the arms straight. Lift he hips and trail leg at the same time.  Do not swing the trail leg and then lift the hips. 

B.  The Pole Vault Power Rockback Rack

     The pole vault power rockback rack is a device that does the work of holding the shoulders forward during the pole vault high bar power rockback drill. It is made of at least 1" steel pipe. There are 2 vertical pipes at shoulder width that hang over the front of the high bar. These pipes are well padded. They are attached at the bottom by a horizontal support pipe that extends to both sides of the vertical posts that support the high bar. This horizontal pipe also raps around the front of the high bar posts.

     Pole vaulters can best practice the power rockback with this device because it holds the shoulders slightly in front of the top hand. This is the same position the shoulders are in when vaulting. It also makes it more difficult to rockback than just hanging from a high bar or rings.

     The pole vaulter holds the high bar with a vault grip. The hands should be outside the vertical pipes of the power rockback rack. Hold the body in the take-off position and do rockbacks. Try to keep the body as long as possible. Keep the arms straight. Emphasize the hips rising. The trail leg and hips lift at the same time.  Keep the shoulders driving back. Go all the way back until the shoulders are pointed down and the body is extended and balanced on the shoulders. Finish with the shoulders back and the chest on the vertical pipes. This should rock the straight rigid body over the top of the hands putting the base of support of the body on top of the high bar.

C.  Pole Vault Tap Slams

     Pole Vault Tap Slams are done on a high bar high enough to hang and swing in the pole vault take-off position without hitting the ground. Hold the bar as you would hold the pole vaulting pole. Pull up and cast out to start an easy swing. Pike in the back and arch in the front of the swing. From the down swing in the back, just after you arch, snap the trail foot down taping it the way a gymnast would do on the horizontal bar. Then, power rockback driving the hips to the bar while driving the shoulders back. If this is performed properly, the shoulders will continue to swing back in front of the high bar while the hips hit the bar finishing in the same position as the power rockback rack drill.

D.  Swinging Rings

     Hang on the rings in the pole vault take-off position. Have someone push you hard enough to generate a big swing. With enough swing generated you will begin to swing on your own. At the apex of the back swing, power rockback. Try to keep the body long and extended. Hold the upside-down extended position as you swing forward. Try to keep the body perpendicular to the ground as the rings swing up. As the body approaches the apex of the front swing, pull the shoulders through the hands and extend the body as high and as far out as you can. With the body fully extended, there should be a smooth transition back into the swing. If this pole vault drill is done right, the swing on the rings will become larger.

     This pole vault drill simulates the shoulders dropping back during the power rockback. It also helps develop balance and strength to keep the body extended while the pole vault pole is recoiling.

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THE POLE VAULT CLEAN, TURN AND PUSH DRILLS

A.  Upside-down Rope Climbs

     Start with a rope hanging straight down. Put a landing pit under you for safety. Hang on the rope in an upside-down position. Trying to keep the body straight and as long as possible and the feet extended as high as possible, climb up the rope hand-over-hand. Try to use just the arms. Keep the feet off the rope. Climb to a safe height, drop your legs slowly and descend the rope in a safe manor.  We usually do these right side up and then upside-down.

B.  Rope Pole Vaulting

     Use a rope, about 1" thick, hanging from a tree or something very sturdy. The rope should be hanging at least ten feet. Use a soft crossbar to rope pole vault over and a platform to jump off. Use a pole vault landing pit to land in after you clear the bar. Start on the platform holding the rope the way you would a pole vault pole. Swing your lead knee up and your weight back on your shoulders. Start with your hands extended in front of your shoulders. Drop back, maintain your balance and swing forward. Stay upside-down, swing down, swing up, clean, turn and push off the rope. Practice clearing the bar at different heights.

C.  High Bar Pole Vaulting

     Start with an overhand grip on the bar. Use a bar that is just above head height. Have someone hold a crossbar about 4’ in front of the bar and low to the ground. Start with your arms extended in front of you, your weight back on your shoulders and your lead knee up. Swing your trail leg up and drop the shoulders back. Pull and fly away arching over the crossbar with no turn. Practice clearing the bar at different heights. As the crossbar gets higher it get closer to the high bar.

     Do this same drill with a pole vault grip, and practice clearing the crossbar with a turn. Start with the crossbar low and away, and then bring it closer and higher.


POLE VAULT GROUND DRILLS

     These pole vault ground drills are designed to be done with a vaulting partner. The pole vaulters take turns doing and assisting these pole vault drills. If no partner is available, the space under a couch or door can be used.

A.  Pole Vault Power Rockbacks

     This pole vault power rockback drill is done with the aid of a partner. Have the other vaulter stand behind you. You lay on your back flat on the ground with your arms straight behind your head and hold the standing vaulter’s ankles. Try to push the ankles away. The rest of your body is in the take-off position. Do power rockbacks from this position. Emphasize lifting the hips. Try to keep the hips rotating around the shoulders. Try to keep the body as long as possible. Extend the lead leg up as it reaches the top of the rockback. Finish in a completely extended position with hips and feet directly above the shoulders.

B.  Pole Vault Leg Arches

     This pole vault drill is done with one pole vaulter standing. The other vaulter is lying face down on the ground holding the standing vaulter's ankles. Push the ankles away and extend the toes back. Lift the knees just off the ground keeping the body extended. Hold this for three seconds and then relax.

C.  Pole Vault Sit-ups

     This is a pole vault sit-up drill done by sitting on the ground with bent knees and arms crossed on your chest. Have the other pole vaulter hold your feet. Do sit-ups in this position, each time touching the lower back flat on the ground, without touching the shoulders down, and sitting up as far as possible.

D.  Pole Vault Back Arches

     This pole vault drill is done lying on the ground face down with the fingers laced behind your head and your body extended. Have the other vaulter hold your feet down. Lift your chest slightly off the ground keeping your elbows up. Hold this position for three seconds and relax.

E.  Pole Vault Abdominal Crunches

    This  pole vault drill is done from the sit-up position with a partner holding your feet. Keep your arms at your side and three inches off the ground. Start with your shoulders on the ground with your chin at your chest. Curl up bringing your shoulders toward your hips and lift your lower back slightly off the ground. Hold this position for three seconds and relax.