Pole vault is a track and field event in which each competitor uses a long, flexible pole, made of either fiberglass or carbon fiber, with the purpose of vaulting over a bar that is set at a specific height.
When determining which pole is the best suit for you, the athlete?s weight plays a huge role. Usually, the fiberglass and carbon fiber account for 3-6lbs. of the pole and the remainder can weigh anywhere from 20-40lbs. or more (depending on the weight of the athlete). The pole must be an accurate weight in order for it to support the vaulter.
However, as competitors increase their height for competitions, it is recommended that they seek poles that are at least 20-30lbs. over their body weight. Once they become more familiar with this weight, it is suggested that these athletes begin training with a new pole that is 1 foot longer and 10lbs. over their body weight. Some competitions actually forbid poles that are under competitor?s body weight as a safety precaution, so be sure to check the regulations before you make the purchase!
The flex rating also corresponds to the athlete?s weight and is made specifically around that. Start out with a pole that weighs as much as you do and as you develop, seek a pole that weights more than you do.
Poles are measured in feet. The more experienced and skilled you become, the longer the pole becomes. The length of your pole is determined by how high you can vault. You should be able to skillfully vault at least 15 inches above your hand-hold before you should even consider buying a longer pole. After all, safety is the most important factor here! Call the manufacturer directly if you ever have a question or concern.
The 3 biggest factors that play a role in which pole you buy are:
Terms to know when determining pole: Penetration - how far back you land after your vault. Pole bend - how extensively the pole is being bent
|Bending Type||Penetration Type||Resolution|
|Large bend||Little penetration||1. Lower the grip
2. Determine if the grip width is bigger than the shoulder width
3. Improve run and takeoff approach
|Large bend||Deep penetration||Switch to stiffer pole|
|Little bend||Little penetration||1. Is the vaulting technique strong or poor?
2. If strong, just switch to a softer pole
3. If poor, improve approach / technique
|Little bend||Deep penetration||Raise the height of the grip|
Pole Vaulting Tips: A durable rubber that allows for a softer plant and enduring performance
Vault Grip Tape: An alternative and affective way for Vaulter? to avoid slippery hands and blisters
Stickum Spray: An aerosol adhesive spray that enhances the vaulter?s grip
Pole Vault Landing System: [Purchased primarily by track competition coordinators, trainers, and coaches] Landing systems are a crucial component for pole vault because they provide a soft landing after competitors complete their jump.
It's all about the approach: The faster you run, the higher you vault. Vaulter?s sprint down the runway as fast as possible in the correct position to ensure a successful take off position: ideally, aim for 18-22 strides before the jump, but if you are not that fast, 7-10 strides is more common for those at beginner levels; by doing this, it will allow for a greater amount of potential energy and momentum leading up to the jump.
Run in place: this will improve your quickness when you approach the vault
Dribble a soccer ball: by doing this you will not only gain foot speed, but this drill will also help to enhance coordination
Quick Skips: Practice hopping on one foot for the distance of 20 meters, while switching feet after each interval. This will boost power, strength and coordination.