advanced pole vault

Active vs. Passive phases

Let me take you on the short journey into the past. Imagine you are jumping on a rigid pole sometime in the 1950s. Now imagine, without going into details, what kind of actions you need to take to clear a bar above your grip. Depending on your level of expertise and whether you ever pole vaulted or not you may imagine slightly different actions, but the common tread would be that you would be jumping up on the pole, to avoid pailful shoulder jerk, and work without much delay continuously and fast to get your body over that imaginary bar.

A very few of you would possibly imagine stopping somewhere in the middle of the rise and then restarting that raising motion again. It is difficult to imagine why someone would do this on the rigid pole. Indeed once your body stopped moving up it is very hard to restart it again, something that would require an enormous effort.

If you think of your desired actions one more time, you would probably now imagine very aggressive and continuous action on the pole raising your body as fast as possible up and over the bar.

Yet today on the flexible poles people stop and go all the time to one degree or another. And when you ask about this stopping actions they will come up with some bizarre explanations why it is necessary on the flexible pole to do this.

The best pole vaulters of the rigid pole era were able to “push” (difference between the grip on the pole and the bar height) 1.06 - 1.10m (42”-44”) and only a very few vaulters today can mach this on flexible poles.

On the rigid pole any actions that do not contribute to the rise of the body, I call such actions passive phases, would be highly counter productive. Indeed there is a limited time from takeoff to the release from the pole to rise your body up as high as possible and any delays would definitely diminish the potential bar hight one could clear. So for athletes on rigid poles, continuous active rise of the body was the objective and the faster the rise the higher the bar clearance, I call such actions - active phases.

Now how does this relates today to desired actions athletes must take or avoid on fiberglass and carbon poles? We offer a detailed explanation in the membership area of the site.

To learn the distinction between active and passive phases and how to eliminate passive phases


Copyright by Roman Botcharnikov & Do not reprint or repost this content or any part of it without express written permission from the copyright holder.


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