Pole Vault Technique & Training

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 as well as how to choose the right equipment.

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.

To achieve the perfect Pole Vault technique the pole should start in line with the skeleton so that the weight of the pole is not being carried purely by the arms but the Vaulter is actually using their frame to carry the pole. Start with a nice strong running action and a smooth pole drop throughout the run up. The take off foot should be just under the right arm and a left leg fast swings to inversion.

Through take off and inversion a really good right arm left leg connection is needed, this means driving the right arm and kicking the left leg. At the top of the vault make sure to keep driving the feet towards the sky and keep the body tension.

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.

The main common errors in Vaulting include, poor rhythm and consistency of the approach run. A poorly timed pole drop that is not consistent or smooth, this will effect how the pole is being moved into the plant, whether there is a pause or if the athlete is taking the weight of the pole for too long.

A poor take off position such as being too close is a typical of poor technique. Athletes like to feel that they are close to the bed but they need enough space so they are not putting too much pressure on their lower back and the energy transfers to the pole in the correct way.

The wrong choice of pole and poor grip height will have an effect. Typically very strong tall lads will try and grip too high for their technical capabilities. This will put pressure on the wrong parts of the body and also effect technical competence.

Elements of a Pole Vault training schedule

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.

The elements of a vaulters training programme specifically working on speed and running mechanics is very important. If the first part of the approach run and the run up isn’t consistent and isn’t strong enough to carry the weight of the pole as you’re running this will effect the whole of the vault, so speed work and running mechanics are key. Core stability, strength and conditioning and basic general conditioning are also very important as well as vault technical training and gymnastic training.

A training year for a vaulter depends on weather they are going for two competition seasons (indoor and outdoor) or whether  just going for one competition season within a twelve month period.

Ultimately competition prep its very much the same as any athletic event in the way that you break it down into strength and speed doing 6 weeks blocks of different activities as you build into competition season.Start with breaking down the vault, working technically, working on short approach drills and mechanics while still maintaining full approach pole runs and running mechanics. Then gradually building into a longer run up, stiffer poles.