The first time I vaulted, I started on the ground. Holding just higher on the pole than I could possibly reach over my head, I would barely leave the ground. Not vaulting into the pit is how everyone starts. A very simple 3 step drill helps the vaulter learn the proper footwork while staying safe and close to the ground.
Once warmed up and comfortable with the footwork and handling of the pole, I was eager to finally make my first actual vault into the pit. I remember asking my coach where to start my three initial steps from. Lining my left foot up with 33' mark on the runway, holding tightly onto the pole, I dashed towards the pit, barely clearing my feet above the mat in front of me. As you can imagine, my first vault did not look anything like actual pole vault. As a matter of fact, no one's first vault ever looks anything more than jumping onto the pit while holding a pole that does nothing but takes up space. Mastering the three step run up is the first major step in any vaulters carrier. Once its time to move onto actually clearing a crossbar, the whole game changes. Different techniques and forms present themselves creating infinite bad habit technique corridors to walk down.