Let's learn to POLE VAULT:
We start at the long jump pit with a pole rated at or above your body weight
1. Place the bottom of the pole about 6 inches directly in front of the left foot (for right
handers/ left footers) The tip of the pole should be positioned firmly into the sand at the front
edge of the long jump pit.
2. Right handers grip the pole as you see in the DIAGRAM make sure that the little finger of
your left hand is positioned just above your head.
3. Repeat this task several times until it becomes comfortable.
1b. Using the grip and position learned earlier we will now perform the STEP AND DRIVE which is not yet a jump.
2b. Start from one step back and both feet together
3b. Then step forward quickly with the left foot placing it six inches from the pole tip
4b. Swing the right knee up and forward as if to jump BUT DON'T JUMP YET! We are
simulating a quick step to takeoff.
5b. Again repeat until very comfortable with this (it's easy to skip ahead without
practising this enough because it seems so easy but don't)
1c. Now we can add the jumping part to the last skill we learned. This is the ONE STEP VAULT WITHOUT A TURN
2c. The vaulter must perform the previous skills and this time
actually jump into the sand pit and land with both feet side by side
with the pole alongside the vaulters body.
3c. Stress a springy jumping type of takeoff.
1d. The next obvious progression is to perform the one step vault again but this time perform a TURN so that you land
facing the runway.
2d. It is important to learn to turn just before landing so we get
the proper timing (turning too early is the most common mistake
in this drill)
1e. Now we start to encourage a more confident and powerful
step and drive.
2e. We now need to VAULT FOR DISTANCE into the sand pit.
At this point when the athlete is confidently vaulting
far into the long jump pit with good technique we can
add the element of a crossbar into the drills which
should encourage the athlete to naturally allow their
hips to swing upward smoothly.
1f. We start by putting a crossbar or bungee bar on
the sand out about at the farthest point reached by
2f. VAULT FOR DISTANCE over the bar which is lying
on the ground.
Now for the fun part!!!!!
Raise the bar ONE FOOT HIGH AND ONE FOOT CLOSER to the athlete
1g. Vault over the crossbar without touching it. Make
the athlete perform this correctly several times until
confidence is high.
2g. Now raise it again 1 foot and 1 foot closer.
3g. Keep moving the bar until it is no closer than
about 3 feet from the athlete and as high as he or she
can keep clearing the bar without touching it.
NOTICE THAT WE ARE POLE VAULTING AT THIS
We may not be bending the pole or jumping onto the PV pads but we are VAULTING!
SAFELY and CORRECTLY.
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.
A. Standing Pole Vault Shoulder 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.
B. 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.
C. Kneeling Pole Vault Shoulder Stretch with the Bottom Hand Pressing Up
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
We do these pole vault plant drills 3 time a week and do 25 repetitions of each drill.
D. 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.
E. 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.
F. 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