Track and Field Jumping Progression Pole Vault

Track and Field

Jumping Progressions Pole Vault

Technical proficiency is the key to quality pole vaulting. There are many safety concerns with the pole vault, from pole selection to the location and size of the pit.  Proper teaching progressions and a safe environment will help eliminate many of the risk factors.

Pole Vault Basics

Place the hands slightly wider than shoulder width, close the grip loosely around the pole
The top hand or right hand for a right handed pole vaulter is near the top of the pole
The top hand should be 6-18″ from the top of the pole
The palms will face up when the pole is extended overhead

The top hand is placed next to the right hip
The bottom hand is near the center of the body, chest height

The pole tip starts high as the pole vaulter pushes forward and accelerates:

Use checkmarks for the start, six steps from takeoff and the plant
The pole drops slightly with each step
The pole should drop gradually to set up a good plant into the box
The pole drop is more prominent during the last four strides

Coaching Note: develop a consistent approach on the track planting into a towel or chalk mark before advanced drills are performed

Plant and Takeoff
The pole plant must be achieved before the vertical component of the vault

Prior to the takeoff, the hips lower during the penultimate stride similar to the long jump

Takeoff with the left foot directly under the top hand

Push the pole up with both hands at takeoff

The pole is moved from a horizontal to a vertical position during the plant and takeoff

Maintain good posture during the run and plant

An active jumping action off the ground forward and upward will help load the pole and help the pole vaulter get vertical

“Under” Planting too close to the box
“Out” planting too far away from the box

Sand Vaulting Drill (land both feet in the sand)
3-5 steps plant and ride

The Swing
The torso propels forward
The top arm and torso stay extended

As the swing slows, the hips extend forward with lower legs moving near the pole followed by the rest of the body

“Pole speed” the rate of speed the pole moves into a vertical position

The swing is completed as the body and pole are inline

The pole vaulter pulls the hands to the chest and hips lift up

The body gets inverted and both arms pull along the axis of the pole

Stiff Pole Drills
Pole slide approach (takeoff and ride)
Pole slide approach (takeoff, ride, and swing)

While rotating, the pole vaulter bends at the waist raising the hips over the bar

At the end of the bar clearance, the pole is pushed away and the arms move up and away from the bar

Teaching Pole Vault Progression

Approach- Takeoff/Plant
+ ride
+ swing
+ invert
+ turn

Coaching Note: Develop the technical elements from a short approach (5-8 steps) before moving the approach further back

 Teaching Points for the Pole Vault for Beginners

  • Develop the horizontal elements of the run and takeoff
  • Use stiff pole and sand vaulting drills
  • Focus on jumping higher than the hand height (12″ plus)
  • Keep the standards pushed back
  • Land in the center of the pit in the target zone
  • Use short poles with the proper bodyweight rating

More Jumping Progression Articles