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The Pole Vault Grip with Mark Strawderman

NPVCA Curriculum #1



Previous: NPVCA Curriculum Introduction

Next: #2 – The Pole Vault Carry

 

Mark Strawderman teaches the pole vault grip, the first step in the continuous pole vault chain. From the Come to Pole Vault Practice DVD.

 

Pole Vault Grip Basic Technique



Importance


The handgrip is the beginning of a chain that connects all phases of the pole vault. Too wide or too narrow a grip causes technical flaws and disrupts the chain.


Technical Model


The width of the grip should approximately equal the distance between the pole vaulter's shoulders. The top hand grips the pole with the palm facing upward, and the bottom hand assumes a grip with the palm down. For best results the top hand should be held 6" – 12" from the top of the pole.


Drills


Some suggestions on how to teach the correct pole vault grip:

 

1. Grip the pole with just the top hand. Turn sideways to the pit and reach the top hand back as far as possible. Next, place the bottom hand on the pole in a position underneath the armpit of the top arm.

 

2. Face the pit and hold the pole horizontally across the body. Place the hands on the pole with the width of the grip equal to the width of the shoulders. Pull the pole to the chest making sure both hands hit the body on the inside edge of the armpits. (See Figure A)

 

3. Place the pole in the vault box with the tip hitting the back. Then have the vaulter simulate the Take-Off position. Extend the top hand upward fully and grip the pole. Make sure a line drawn downward from the top hand would intersect the front of the take-off foot's toes. Rise up onto the take-off foot's toes and lift the lead-leg knee into a drive position. Grip the pole with the bottom hand extended from the body to the pole at a 45 degree angle. This method of teaching the correct Grip is popular, because it matches the handgrip to the proper Take-Off Point. (See Figure B)

 

Figure A, See Drill #2
Figure A, See Drill #2

 

Figure B, See Drill #3
Figure B, See Drill #3


Coaching Points


A too-wide grip makes the pole easier to carry, but it forces the take-off foot to land inside the correct Take-Off Point. This disturbs the vertical movement of the pole after the vaulter takes off. A too-wide grip causes athletes to force-bend the pole. This causes the Swing to end quickly making it ineffective.

 

A too-narrow grip also makes it difficult to control the vertical movement of the pole during the Take-Off. Even if the Take-Off Point is correct, it is still difficult to make the pole rise to the vertical during the Take-Off. A narrow grip produces a long Swing phase, but it causes erratic vaults because it is so hard to control the Take-Off.

 

Previous: NPVCA Curriculum Introduction

Next: #2 – The Pole Vault Carry