Pole Vault Drills

Pole Vault Training

Beth Harris Pole Vault Coach Level 4 explains Pole Vault technique with free to view video of pole vault drills to improve each aspect of the jump including warm up and conditioning, the approach, the plant and take off as well as drills to invert and develop bend in the pole.

Pole vault technique

Beth Harris Level 4 Pole Vault Coach explains the perfect Pole Vault Technique. Start the run up with the Pole up high and in line with the body. This takes the strain off the arms during the run up.

Pole vault training program

A pole vault training program should not just consist of pole vault training but should also include sprint training, strength work and gymnastics. Pole vault coach Beth Harris explains the elements of a pole vault training program and how it should be arranged during the year.

Pole Vault - Choosing a Pole

Pole Vault coach Beth Harris explains how to choose the right pole for you. This will depend on your bodyweight, strength and technical ability. There are also specific rules for pole vault competitions to avoid injury. Initially when learning to vault you need to learn on a straight, stiff pole to make sure you can vault safely over a bar onto the bed.

Common Pole Vaulting Errors

Beth explains the more common errors vaulters make which includes the approach run, plant and take off, choice of pole and grip height.

Pole Vault Take Off Refusal

Often pole vaulters will go through a spell of simply not being able to take off. No matter how hard they try for some reason it just doesnt't happen and can be very frustrating. Some unknown psychological block or fear prevents taking off. Beth Harris explains some tactics to cure pole vault take off refusal.

Warm Up - Floor Mobility

With pole vault there is a lot of strain on the back and trunk, particularly at take off and it is important to have a good range of motion but also to be strong throughout that range of motion. These simple warm up drills are excellent for preparing to vault.

Warm Up - Running Drills

The following warm up drills can be done before a pole vault training session. They work on mobilising the ankle, knee and hip joints ready for the demands of the Pole Vault.

Pole Vault Rope Training

Training with ropes is excellent for improving pole vault technique. The inversion drill mimics the movement on the pole and can get the vaulters used to the feeling of being upside down and improve core strength. Rope climbing is great strength training for pole vaulting.

Pole Vault Gymnastics

Gymnastics is an important part of Pole Vault Training. It improves the athlets body awareness when they are upside down on the pole. The following videos show basic exercises including cartwheels and backwards rolls.

Walking Plant Drill

On this drill what we are looking for is a strong take off position, hands above the head driving the right arm up, hitting a nice strong take off position with a knee drive. Front toe turned and and foot dorsi flexed (pointing upwards), rolling the pole forwards, holding the take off leg back to prepare it for the next stage of the vault.

Two Step Plant Drill

This is a two step running take off starting with the arms above the head. The top arm is driven up and over focusing on pole movement and keeping the pole driving forwards. Aim to drive the knee drive upwards on take off after two dynamic steps, focusing on the primary aim of pole vault which is to get the pole to vertical nice and quickly with the left leg or take off leg staying long behind you.

Plant Drill -Jump Pit

This is another plant take off drill but this time done in the long jump pit. This enables the vaulter to put a bit more speed and height into the drill without fear of the bottom of the pole moving once they are airborne. Concentrate on driving the top arm high and through the correct position, not letting it drop behind you or coming too far in front. Aim to drive up and jump at the same time or just before the pole tip hits the sand pit.

This drill is adding plant action to previous drills. A six step running take off moving the pole through, right arm up the line of the body with a nice strong take off position, knee up and take of leg back preparing for the next phase of the vault.

To achieve the four step running take off drive both arms up though the tack off into an explosive movement forwards.

To achieve the two step take off  hands should start above the head with the take off foot almost directly under the top hand.

To achieve a one arm take off slide the pole down taking off with full extension and really driving the top arm forwards. The end of the pole vault run up is similar to the lung jump so it is faster, shorter and sharper at the end preparing to transfer the horizontal speed into vertical take off.

Standing Pole Drops

The approach or run up should enable the vaulter to run as freely as possible and build up speed gradually for the plant. The pole should start inline with the skeleton so the weight is not carried purely by the arms, but by the body. A smooth and gradual pole drop throughout the run up is the aim.

Walking Plant Drill

The plant is a very important part of the vault. Get this wrong and it will not just result in a poor vault but could cause painful injury. The following plant drills work on plant technique a step at a time.

Pop Up Inversion Drill

Initially all pole vault drills are done with a straight pole because we need to learn to move the pole forwards and swing on a straight pole before bending. This is a straight pole inversion drill that gets the vaulters used to being upside down on the pole whilst jumping.

Bendy Pole Drive Drill

This is a progression from the straight pole vaulting into creating a bend in the pole and keeping the pole moving. We need to keep the pole 'rolling' after take off and keep the movement right the way through to the vertical.

The basics of technique, common pole vaulitng errors that beginners and more advanced vaulters alike make including take off refusal problems. We also look at the elements of a pole vault training program.

The pole vault places a lot of strain on the lower back so it is important to warm up thoroughly and in particular mobilise the lower back. These drills take you through a pole vault specific warm up. Core strength is also important not only for stability at the plant but enabling the vaulter to efficiently invert on the pole. Rope training is an excellent way of improving core strength and getting the athlete used to being upside down. Gymnastics is also an important part of a vaulters training and here we demonstrate a number of useful gymnastics exercises for pole vaulters.

The plant is very important. If you get this wrong the rest of the vault will likely go wrong. It is important for the athlete to keep their head looking up, not down at the box, as in athletic movements the body follows the head. Both hands should be pushing the pole up above the shoulders, with the palms aiding this upward push. The athlete must drive up off the takeoff foot and not just let the pole guide them up. The position of the takeoff foot differs for individual athletes but somewhere underneath the top hand is best. The following drills are aimed at perfecting the plant.

The following drills aim to improve the approach or run up. Staying relaxed and gradually increasing speed to a maximum controllable take off speed is what we are trying to achieve as well as being as efficient as possible.

Developing bend in the pole is one of the most difficult things for beginners. The following drills explain how to resist the pole and develop bend. Contrary to what some people believe and often what it looks like a bendy pole does not 'spring' the vaulter off the top but rather allows them to hold higher up the pole which in turns results in a higher vault.

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