Knowledge Base

Documents and Presentations
The Pole Vault - Breaking Down The Technical Phases by Chris Mitchell - This is a document I have created over the years that I feel highlights the most important "phases" of the pole vault. There's always more to learn about the vault, but this document is the result of my experience as a fellow vaulter over the years combined with my coaching experience, research and all the camps and clinics I've attended.

The Pole Vault Pole: An Engineer's Perspective by Gill Athletics - This is a great paper describing the physics of the pole vault pole.

Understanding Pole Flex Numbers by Bell Athletics - This write up exaplains the importance of understanding flex numbers on a pole when purchasing a series of poles that are the same length, but only differ by their weight rating/flex numbers. The main point is that you could be buying two poles that are actually the same pole even though the weight rating label says they are different.

     Important -> Flex numbers can ONLY be compared on poles of the SAME length AND model! This is a very                              important concept that most people fail to realize. You CANNOT compare a 12' UCS 150lbs.                              pole with a 12' PacerFX 150lbs. pole by looking at the flex numbers. Every manufacturer                              measures their poles slightly different. The overall measurement is similar, but NOT the same.

Approach Run Precepts by Ralph Lindeman - This is a great PowerPoint presentation on the approach run for the pole vault and how to develop approach run speed.

What is the most direct means to achieve strength gains specific to the demands of jumping events? by Dave Kerin - This paper describes the extreme importance of eccentric plyometric training for all jumping events in track & field. How do you get the best vertical impulse at take-off? Eccentric plyometric training is the answer ( depth jumps and depth landings ). Eccentric training is also a large factor in developing sprint speed as well.

An Athletes View Of Limits And Possibilities by Sergey Bubka - This was a speech given by Bubka, in Budapest, October 11-12,1997, about his development as a vaulter.

Round Table with Sergey Bubka - This was an interview with Bubka during the 9th IAAF/Coca Cola World Junior Championship held in Kingston Jamaica July 20-21, 2002.

Training
Pole Vault Strength Training Log - This is an overall body strength training program with focus on pole vault specific exercises. Performing all exercises with slow, controlled movements (unless specified otherwise) is key. Speeding through reps without completing a full range of motion and bouncing weight off your chest doesn't make you stronger. Anybody can curl a 50lb dumbbell if they swing it hard enough.

Dynamic Warm-Up Video - This is video showing you how to do all of the dynamic warm-up exercises listed in the above strength training log. Now there's no excuse for not doing the dynamic warm-up correctly every workout.

Stride Length and Stride Frequency: An Indirect Approach by Latif Thomas of Athletes Acceleration - This is a great article explaining how to properly train increasing Stride Length and Stride Frequency, the key to running faster.

Speed Training: Improving Acceleration for Optimal Performance by maximum-maximorum.com - This article explains the essentials of developing proper sprint acceleration. Mechanics, muscles involved and "triple extension" are some of the topics covered. It also talks about some great strength training and plyometric exercises to develop acceleration.

Pole Vault Approach Run Development and the 6 Stride Check Mark by David F. Johnston - This paper explains the importance of a "Mid Mark" ( 6 Stride Check Mark ) and how it directly corresponds to grip height and runway speed. At the end of the paper there is an acceleration chart that gives proper steps required to attain certain approach run speeds. This is a fantastic paper that shows vaulters the best way to train for a proper approach run ( step by step ) and the best way for coaches to tell if their vaulters had a correct approach run into their vault. The "mid mark" is a 100 times more useful than the take-off step itself in determing whether ot not the approach run was "on" or "off".

Misc.
Meters to Feet and Inches Conversion Sheet - This is a great resource that shows conversions to the nearest 1/4".