A Beginner’s Guide to Pole Vaulting

Many people look at the pole vault and believe it would be incredibly easy -- and why wouldn't they? All it takes is some speed, momentum, and the ability to still a pole in the ground, simple, right? Wrong! In fact, the sport requires skill and speed as well as fearsome mental determination. Pole vaulting technique is incredibly important. Athletes who participate in this event must have the proper equipment and train both their upper and lower bodies. Here are a few pole vaulting tips for beginners.

Check The Technique

Naturally, a pole vaulter only has one piece of equipment -- the pole. Typically, these are made of fiberglass or carbon fiber so they can support the weight of an athlete. Any legitimate pole will have a weight rating for athletes to follow. Pole vaulters shouldn’t select a pole with a weight rating below their own weight as a rule of thumb. Additionally, the pole also has two handgrips that are about shoulder-width apart.

Like any competitive sport, the act of pole vaulting has many technical aspects for athletes should keep in mind before launching off. Athletes should hold the pole with the appropriate tight grip while in way that will allow it to bend naturally. The run up to the vault needs to be consistent, so it’s best to always use the same technique. The pole should be held vertically with the lower hand at the hip and the upper one at the chest. Just before take-off, the pole should be horizontal.

As the vaulter is running towards the takeoff spot, the pole should slowly be lowered into the box. The hand that was originally at the chest should lower the pole, while the other hand should control the speed at which the pole is lowered. This is called the transfer. The pole should be aimed at the back and bottom of the box. Both arms should straighten at the same time while driving one knee into the air. Pole vaulters should then extend their bodies to get the pole as straight as possible. The momentum from the run should propel the vaulter up and forward. The next step is to pull the knees up to the chest while pushing down on the pole. The pole vaulter should wait until reaching maximum height before turning and arching over the crossbar.

 

Huddle Up

These tips outline the basics of pole vaulting for beginners. With the proper coaching and training, any athlete can master the pole vault event. 

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