There is no event that requires more technique than the pole vault. This event requires tremendous skill. For an athlete to learn the pole vault they need a coach that is knowledgeable and has great teaching skills. In the video clip below Jeff Martin, Indiana State University Assistant Track & Field Coach, shows you how to teach the “swing”, one of the critical components in a successful vault. He offers clear instruction and drills to help you teach this skill.
The clip is from a DVD that teaches you step by step the 10 essential elements of the pole vault. For more information about the DVD that this clip comes from click the link Curriculum Guide to the Pole Vault
In this DVD Coach Martin will explain and demonstrate drills to teach the following:
Pull and Turn
Safety in Pole Vaulting
When to Teach the Pole Bend
The YouTube clip below features the “swing” and has sound, so please make sure that your sound is turned on and that you have access to the site. (Some schools block access to YouTube)
After the athlete has completed their approach and take off, its is important for them to achieve the reverse C position and initiate the swing. It is important to have a fast smooth swing in order to achieve the upward momentum of the hips and the downward momentum of the shoulders and head. This will put the athlete in an inverted position. Then when the pole unbends, the athlete will be thrust up and over the bar.
The number one rule for a correct swing is to never throw your head back. The head should remain in a neutral position. The athlete should initiate a long sweeping motion with their long leg, as if they were trying to kick a ball of the mat.
The first drill is the one arm swing drill. The athlete will sweep their leg and land on the rear end. A coaching point here is to remind the athlete to not pull with their top hand.
The second drill is the half swing drill. They will use two hands to plant and will swing to level position.