advanced pole vault

New Thinking

When flexible poles were introduced the best athletes stayed away from them for many reason, in part because many people were thinking that flexible poles would be banned. After a short while second tear athletes picked up flexible poles and start winning and pushing more athletic rigid pole vaulters to the background.

At the time the obvious observation was that the reason flexible poles offer and advantage is because they bend and therefore athletes could grip higher on the pole and it seemed that the flexible poles also catapulted the athlete up above the bar.

So the first focus in pole vault became right away to bend the pole as much as possible, first technic variations were quite peculiar, for example athletes were trying to be as much “under” as possible acting very forcefully with the left arm bending the pole while they were still on the ground. I spoke to some russian athletes and coaches that were in a vanguard of the early flexible pole era and some of them told me stories that they were very proud of the achievements in technic such as being able to takeoff 1 & 1/2 foot under achieving maximum pole bend on the ground.

The second focus of the early flexible pole vault technic became to catch the unbending energy of the pole. The recommendations were developed to learn to stay close to the pole hips above the shoulders and ride the pole to the bar catching the upward momentum with arms at the end to get over the bar.

Until the late 1970s...

Following the logic and findings described in "Positive Loop", “Active vs. Passive” and “Simplification” we now can approach and begin to understand the New Thinking that formed around late 1970s early 1980s, the realization that the flexible pole vaulting in many ways similar to rigid pole vaulting. The early leader of this school of thought was Vitaly Petrov, who applied this New Thinking with Bubka with results we all know.

They have transformed the pole vaulting into the athletic event away from circus acrobatic. They have introduced many concepts that today people simply take for granted, for example “free takeoff”, or not resisting the pole with the bottom arm, and some others.

Today majority of leading jumpers use “free takeoff” often leaving the ground while the pole is yet straight, but when Alan Launder british/australian coach and student of the event, after personal observations and conversations with Petrov, in 1985, introduced this concept in England, people were literally laughing at him. I remember in Australia when we did a few clinics with Alan and even at early Reno Summits (93-94) some people were openly questioning my mental abilities, when I ventured to talk about “free takeoff”. Today it is acceptable norm!

So today, this New Thinking is still rejected by vast majority of people and although some of its elements sipped through to the public I can literally count the followers in the whole world on one hand. I am not going to name the names to protect their identity. Just kidding.

We have observed some competition and training performances of Bubka and many professionals at the time were thinking that he really could jump 6.30 and even 6.40. I have seen some of those jumps. So this website is introduced to promote this “New Thinking” in hope of again seeing a possibility of 6.40m (21’) and breaking this barrier in our lifetime.

To learn more become a member today


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


Powered by Wild Apricot Membership Software