Friday, April 8, 2016

Planting for Height

Towards the end of any pole vault event, the tenuous athletes dissipate until there are only two victors remaining. The crowd watches intently as the athletes push the bar to a new level, pun intended, with every jump they make. For me, no matter if I am the last one left, or the first one out, the crowd is always watching as I have ostentatious form. This is solely due to technique I have when initially planting my pole. I am able to bend a pole rated with a weight 20 pounds over my actual body weight because of my strong plant. This creates a crowd pleasing vault that equates to at big bend in the pole.

The whole point of bending the pole when vaulting is to transfer the horizontal energy created when running, into a vertical snap of energy when the pole straightens out. Without a good plant, an athlete is not able to bend the pole thus bringing their height down by a sufficient amount. Every noteworthy high school pole vault coach will tell you that the most important part of a vault is the plant. A good plant means taking off from the runway with your right hand jetting straight up into the sky like the freedom tower while your hips stay directly in line vertically with your torso.

As soon as you leave the ground, you transfer from your plant, to your takeoff position. They are relatively the same position as they happen virtually at the same time, but the main difference is that your plant is transient, as it is just before you leave the ground, whereas while holding your takeoff position, you are in the air. It takes a long time learn, but in order to sufficiently pole vault while bending the pole, every vaulter needs to hold their take off position. This means that they effortlessly hang from their top hand while maintaining a perfect knee drive and straight trail leg. As soon as an athlete begins to bring his or her hips forward, they stop their momentum forward, and the pole begins to straighten out. This is why it is substantial to hold takeoff form for a long time in order to role the curve of the pole to vertical.

I spent a total of five weeks constantly trying to hold my takeoff longer and longer before I was able to repetitively make it into the pit. With the combination of a strong plant and good takeoff form, I catch the eyes of the audience with every vault as this is what decides how high you go. Right now McFarland has seven male vaulters and two female vaulters. If you think you could have a good plant with even better take off form, try pole vaulting as you will most likely excel into a varsity spot very quickly.

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