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Progressive Pole Vault Pole Stocking Program
by Marty Dahlman
To have a safe and effective vault program, coaches must be able to access a "pole progression". In simple terms, vaulters need to be able to progress through increasing weights and lengths of poles when needed. A beginning vaulter might begin on a 370 cm. pole just above their body weight. As they progress in skill, they would first move up in pole length, and then in pole weight.
Example (Athlete does not yet bend the pole):
- Male 5'6", 129 lbs. novice pole vaulter
- Top hand grip is placed at the bottom of the grip range (10'7") of a 370 cm. 130 lbs. pole.
- Through technique improvements the vaulter is completely inverting and penetrating deeply into the landing mat on every vault.
- The vaulter's standards are set to the maximum depth of 80 cm. and the vaulter's pole is rotating past vertical on every vault.
Adjustment: The vaulter's grip height may be increased approximately 3" to 4" or about the width of the vaulter's hand.
- Through technique improves the vaulter again begins to penetrate deeply into the landing area.
- The vaulter is once again rotating the pole past vertical and the standards are once again at the maximum depth of 80 cm.
Adjustment: The vaulter's grip height may once again be increased approximately 3" to 4" or about the width of the vaulter's hand.
- This progression should continue until the vaulter reaches the top of the grip zone (11'7") on the 370 cm. pole. At that time, the athlete could move to the next longer pole in the progression. The next pole in the progression would be the 400 cm. model. The vaulter would once again be at the bottom of the grip zone of the 400 cm. pole with a grip of
11'7" matching the top of the grip zone on the previous 370 cm. pole.
- The progression in grip height will continue until the pole no longer passes vertical and/or the vaulter is no longer penetrating deeply into the landing area. At that time the grip should be lowered accordingly to allow the vaulter to rotate the pole past vertical and land deeply in the landing zone.
3rd Potential Progression:
- Through technique improves and correct of body position during the plant and takeoff the vaulter once again begin to penetrate deeply into the landing area and the pole may begin to bend.
- The vaulter is once again rotating the pole past vertical and landing in the middle to the back portion of the landing mat.
Adjustment: The vaulter's pole stiffness may be increased to the next increment made by the manufacturer (depending on the pole length the increment made by the manufacturer may be 5 lbs. or 10 lbs.).
This is a general rule of thumb that may be used for grip and pole change (assuming that the vaulter's techniques and takeoff angles are good):
- Deep penetration into the landing mat with minimal pole bend: Slightly raise the grip of the top hand
- Deep penetration into the landing mat with deep pole bend: Slightly increase the pole stiffness by moving to the next increment of pole stiffness provided by the manufacturer
The ultimate goal of a progressive stocking program is to have a full series of poles for vaulters to progress through, as they improve in skill, strength, and size through their careers. An example of this series might look like this:
|Basic range of poles
needed for girls from year 7 to year 12. Boys from year 7 to year 10|
middle line indicates roughly girl's poles above, boy's poles below.
Progression for girls:|
11' - 335cm Poles -
90, 100, 110
range: 3 poles
11'6" - 350cm Poles - 100, 110 Lbs.
12' - 370cm Poles - 100, 110, 120 Lbs.
Recommended starting range: 9 poles
12'6" - 385cm Poles - 110, 115, 120, 125, 130 Lbs.
Expected range in 3 years: 14 poles
Progression for boys:
13' - 400cm Poles - 120, 125, 130, 135, 140, 145, 150,
Basic range: 8 poles
14' - 430cm Poles - 135, 140, 145, 150, 155, 160,
165, 170 Lbs. Recommended starting
range: 16 poles
15' - 460cm Poles - 150, 155, 160, 165, 170, 175, 180,
Expected range in 4/5 years: 24 poles
|13 poles for
girls, 24 poles for boys. 40 poles minimum.|
Rate of growth: 3 extra poles
a year/girls, 4 extra poles a year for boys
This numbers will be needed in the first 3 years.
Roughly for either girls above the line, boys below, or both.
(Extracted from USA Pole Vault Education Initiative)
- Furthermore, so the athletes have the same "feel" and a true stiffness progression, the progressive stocking program should be of the same brand of pole. The above example is well over A$20,000 Australian dollars
worth of poles. Second hand poles in good condition will cost about half
that much an could be considered if sponsors are difficult to get or
funds are limited.
- As a rule of thumb, the sponsors that will
want to help the sport and the city's young people achieve their dreams
are limited. Clubs can't usually provide the money needed for a few
poles a year but they are valuable as inntermediaries to those who can.
The goal would be to get on board:
- sporting clubs and RSL/League
clubs. These clubs usually have a gaming department consisting of
betting via slot machines, lotteries or casinos. They need for tax
reasons, and are also very willing to help the local community
sporting clubs by providing equipment that's beyond their reach.
- Municipal Councils usually own the
facilities where athletics clubs train. These are athletics tracks
and most of the equipment within, like runways, mats and uprights.
They are usually mindful of the needs of small sporting clubs in
training our young people with the proper equipment..
At 4 poles poles a year
it will take 10 years to be able to train these high school ages. Nevertheless, a plan must be made in order to provide the necessary equipment that the club budget can't provide.
Start a Progressive Stocking Program by looking at what the current vaulters need. Pole purchases should be made to support those vaulters as part of filling in the ultimate pattern. If a club is just starting (or starting over) with it's vault program, then the focus ought to be on the 370 cm. and 400 cm. poles for boys, and 350 cm. and 370 cm. poles for girls with
progressions in length and stiffness through the years as the vaulters improve.