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Pole Vault Technical Errors

The following photographs demonstrate some of the technical errors seen with beginners.


Take-off misalignment

Misalignment can be caused by any number of factors: late plant, low plant, close take-off, take-off wrong foot, run-up not central or looking for the pit. This athlete appears to have taken off on the wrong foot as the left leg is back and the right knee is driving forward.

The only way to discover the cause is by the process of elimination and correction. To achieve this will require the coach to watch the vaulter from several different angles.

From behind to check where he/she is running on the runway; also check the plant action, i.e. curl and press; check the alignment of the head at take-off.

From the side to check whether the take-off foot is close; whether he/she is jumping on the correct foot, i.e. left foot for right-handers and right for left-handers.

From the back of the landing pit, to get a better idea of where the actual misalignment occurs and to check head alignment and plant techniques.

Do run-up practices on the track using a lane line as a guide. This practice should also incorporate the use of the Fibresport Simplant box and include practicing the plant as well.


Take-off too close/late Plant

If the plant is late then the vault is caught at take-off with the pole still out at an angle above the shoulder. This situation can be caused by a close take-off as well as a late plant. Also, check the carry of the pole, make sure that the vaulter is lowering the lower end in time to enable the plant to begin.

Plant drills including walking plants, planting up against a curb rail, use of the Simplant box etc. should play an important part in every technique session.

Use the run-up practices to check and measure a suitable run-up length and a first checkmark to correct this fault. Include hurdles and long jump work to reinforce run-up cadence and rhythm. A second checkmark after 6-8 strides will also help with run-up problems.


Jumping on the wrong side of the pole

Rules of Competition

The competition rules for this event are available from:

Page Reference

If you quote information from this page in your work, then the reference for this page is:

  • MACKENZIE, B. (2004) Pole Vault Technical Errors [WWW] Available from: [Accessed