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Pole Vault Photo Sequence

The following is a Photo sequence of Kory Tarpenning competing in 1992 with comments by Lease (1992)[1].

Pole Vault
Three and a half strides to take-off the running technique is good with a complete stride action, high hips and attacking posture. However the right hand is too low and too far back behind the vaulter. Consequently when the transfer or plant is initiated this hand will have a long way to travel in a limited time span, to its eventual high point.
   
Pole Vault
While the transfer (plant) may have been initiated a little late, it has been initiated from too low a carry position and is therefore likely to be incomplete entering take off . Comparable photographs of Bubka and Tarasov show them carrying the pole at chest height with the pole horizontal at this phase. An excellent attacking posture is maintained.
 
Pole Vault
The excellent body position is continued at a time when it is extremely difficult to do so. However, the hands are low and the right shoulder could be further forward.
 
Pole Vault
Take off. The aim of the take-off is to push the pole to the vertical and yet hold a suitable position so that later moves can be carried out effectively. The take off position appears to be excellent despite previous comments. The take-off foot is in an acceptable position directly below the top hand. The jumping action is well demonstrated with the drive up through the chest and left arm. The free knee has been brought through to a correct position. It should be a limited action unlike the long or high jumper as it is essential the hips and the take off leg remain behind the torso for as long as possible. However, still photographs can be deceptive and I suspect some momentum has been lost because of an incomplete arm action into take off. An improved pole carry and transfer could see Tarpenning using a higher grip on the pole.
 
Pole Vault
The first point to notice is that the bend is in the top of the pole, a sign that the forces at take-off have been well directed. The left elbow has been turned out to allow the chest to penetrate, which it has but the right shoulder appears to have limited flexibility. The arm action at this stage is still to push pole to vertical. However, the free leg has been allowed to drop and this is likely to subtract time for later movements!
 
Pole Vault
Once again, still photographs can give the wrong impression! An excellent hang/swing position is demonstrated but it is vital to appreciate that the athlete is moving through this position not holding it! The left arm has pushed out, to stabilise the shoulders and the arms are now pressing forward. Action/reaction encourages the legs to swing through on the way to up side down.
 
Pole Vault
The arms continue to press forward and in synchronisation the legs swing up. The free knee is rather weak and could be driven tighter to the chest. A legacy from dropping it earlier!
 
Pole Vault
Repayment for dropping the free knee earlier is starting to cut deep! Both legs have had to tuck to arrive upside down in time for the anticipated pole recoil. From this point he must lever upside down rather than swing and he never quite makes it! A straight leg swing of the take off leg gives a faster and bigger bend to the pole with a quicker recoil.
 
Pole Vault
Tarpenning is well coordinated with good flexibility of the lower back. He is fractionally late but is using these talents to extricate himself well. The hips are a little low balanced by the head which is too far forward.
 
Pole Vault
The neck should relax to allow the head to roll back into body alignment and the arms should lengthen. These subtle movements allow the hips to come over the shoulders for total inversion. The head continues to be too far forward obstructing further progress.
 
Pole Vault
Tarpenning is still looking at his feet! Hence total inversion will not be achieved.
 
Pole Vault
The body should be straight and 'tight' like an arrow to receive the pole's recoil. The head is 'back', the athlete looking down to the box and consequently his back is arched.
 
Pole Vault
The head back position is forcing the legs down prematurely. A final consequence of the low. pole carry! However, Tarpenning is completely controlled. Dropping the legs early leads to a longer, lower vault which is safer when the bar height is not the critical factor.
 
Pole Vault
The legs must drop as the vaulter loses momentum on leaving the pole to create rotation for the bar clearance. The head should be down for the most effective bar clearance position.
 
Pole Vault
Tarpenning continues to rise after leaving the pole. His head is down and body arched. The left leg bend is correct and aids rotation around the bar. This is a practiced technique. Elbows turn out and concentration is vital at this stage as it dictates whether the vault is secured or lost. This one was secured!

Rules of Competition

The competition rules for this event can be obtained from:


References

  1. LEASE, D. (1994) Kory Tarpenning - Photosequence Analysis. Athletics Coach, 28 (1), p. 16-19

Page Reference

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

  • MACKENZIE, B. (2004) Pole Vault Photo Sequence [WWW] Available from: https://www.brianmac.co.uk/polevault/photo.htm [Accessed

Related Pages

The following Sports Coach pages provide additional information on this topic:

Associated Books

The following books provide more information related to this topic:

  • How to Teach the Jumps, D. Johnson