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The Push Plant Issue resurrected!

Posted: Tue Apr 13, 2004 1:55 am
by lonestar
So for 2 years now, I've been catching a lot of attention and flak for having some of my vaulters pushing/sliding the pole down the runway. Doesn't matter that one of my kids has set several state records and is ranked #1 in the country using that method, because as long as it looks weird, it can't be good! Doesn't matter that dozens of kids I coach have jumped higher using the push plant than a traditional carry, because it might wear out an $8.00 pole tip in a year. Doesn't matter that Tye Harvey jumped 5.70 in Reno sliding the pole down the runway, because Bubka didn't do it and he was the best. I'm willing to bet the Fosbury Flop in high jumping wasn't too popular at first also.

Nevertheless, my quest for info. regarding the push plant encountered an encouraging tidbit of info. passed on by my old friend and coach PVPHD. He had remembered running across an article on the push plant in a periodical and recently stumbled upon it. I'm including it here with references:

Scholastic Coach

March 1982

By Gabor Simonyi

Coach, University of Alberta (Canada)


In the introduction to this series last month, I indicated that the vaulter could carry the pole in one of two ways: with the conventional two-handed carry (which I then described) or with a push-carry method leading into a unique run-up and plant – or, rather, non-plant!

Since the pole slides on the runway during this approach (via its low-friction special plug), the vaulter has to support only about 50% of its weight.

The planting is also eliminated in its conventional sense. The pole, having slid on the runway during the approach, simply ends up in the box.

Only a minimal degree of guiding is necessary. All the vaulter has to do is lift the top end of the pole in front and above his head and grip it at the same time with the bottom hand 1 to 1 ½ strides before take-off.


Resting the bottom end in front, hold the pole in your top hand just above your shoulder and close to your neck.
Let the other arm hang passively.
Carry During Approach:
Assume the above starting position and then run with gradually increasing speed while pushing (sliding) the pole on the runway. Guide the bottom hand end in a straight line while using the free arm in normal running fashion.
Run relatively slowly at first. Later on, increase your speed to sprinting pace. Repeat this drill several times.
The Plant: Start by practicing the plant freely away from the box.

Stand with the pole above your shoulder, bottom end on the runway and left foot to the rear, upon the toe. Step forward with the left foot and start pushing up the pole with the carrying hand. As the left foot hits the ground, start reaching for the pole with the bottom hand. By the time you complete your second stride (with the right leg), the pole should be high above your head with your bottom hand gripping at 45 to 60 cm’s below the top hand.
Now, without stopping, take the last step with your left leg, landing on the ball

part of the foot, and simulate a take-off. Note: You can effect a take-off after just

a walk and a high grip, as the end of the pole continues sliding forward. Extend at

take-off, using the proper free leg action, and land on the take-off leg.

Repeat the drill several times, doing it faster and faster.

Next, do the same drill while jogging with the pole. Watch the timing of your
plant. The movements must be started as the left foot hits the ground and be

completed by the time the right foot hits. The pole will thus have been made ready for the vault before the last, or take-off, step is started.

Keep jogging and taking off repeatedly several times in a sequence. Note: The

proper rhythm of planting consists of the top hand pushing the pole overhead and the bottom hand simultaneously reaching for the pole. In other words, both arms move together.

After mastering a “freeâ€Â

Posted: Tue Apr 13, 2004 2:40 am
by zack
I've got a couple questions lonestar. Have your jumpers had many problems with boxes that have lips on the front or runways that have worn spots in them that the tip catches? if they've encountered this were they able to adjust and still jump well?

Posted: Tue Apr 13, 2004 2:44 am
by lonestar
zack wrote:I've got a couple questions lonestar. Have your jumpers had many problems with boxes that have lips on the front or runways that have worn spots in them that the tip catches? if they've encountered this were they able to adjust and still jump well?

Very very rarely - 2 meets in 2 years out of probably over 50+ meets in that same timeframe that wouldn't allow for it. The solution? They picked the pole up and carried it down the runway, traditional style - didn't jump as high as they usually do pushing, but that's why we practice both methods. Still, most of them can usually jump within 1' of their pr using either method.

Posted: Tue Apr 13, 2004 3:02 am
by vaultchamp16
I don't really know the right answer but maybe Tye Harvey would have some insight. He's tried both methods and has stuck with the traditional carry. My suggestion is to time your vaulters runway velocities and see which carry can get them there faster. Then go from there.

Posted: Tue Apr 13, 2004 3:05 am
by zack
Cool. Seems like it could eliminate problems some people have that stem from issues with the pole drop. I would like to find out if people who do both can run faster with/without the pole drop or if theres any difference.

Posted: Tue Apr 13, 2004 8:07 am
by swtvault
Tye is actually a big advocate of the slide. If he had it all to do over again, he said he would push the pole entirely. I even tried it for a month or so. My runway velocity was significantly faster, I held higher, but I could never figure out the plant; i was always late. I still jumped 5.15 from 10 strides doing it though

Posted: Tue Apr 13, 2004 8:58 am
by lonestar
I've spoken with Tye about it a few times, and he really thinks it sets up a good takeoff with better velocity. I've timed a few of my vaulters doing both, and they're all faster pushing - the only issue is the one that swtvault had, timing up the plant - one of my girls simply could not get her bottom hand on the pole in time. Tye's only problem with it is that he's running so fast, the tip doesn't drop into the bottom of the box on his long runs - at 9.0+ meters/second, the pole goes airborn and hits the center of the back of the box instead of dropping to the bottom - that would be pretty freaky to have that happen running at that speed on the size poles he jumps on! :eek: There's probably a way to counteract that from happening, but I've never had anyone running that fast that it's never been a problem for us.

Posted: Tue Apr 13, 2004 9:17 am
by rainbowgirl28
I like playing around with pushing the pole sometimes... but at Lindenwood our indoor runway is astroturf and there is just too much friction to do it there.

Posted: Tue Apr 13, 2004 9:18 am
by rainbowgirl28
Do Tye and Britni have the world records for pushing the pole?

Posted: Tue Apr 13, 2004 11:11 am
by Carolina Extreme
rainbowgirl28 wrote:Do Tye and Britni have the world records for pushing the pole?

GOOD QUESTION!! They probably do have the records.

I am all for thinking outside the box. This definitely falls into that catagory. Just make sure there are no lips to stop the pole before you do it. Safety first, always. I would be more apt to try it with the girls, since the faster guys may have the problem Tye had. Not that my guys are that fast, but my goal is that they will be.

Posted: Tue Apr 13, 2004 5:27 pm
by TeddyVault
I wonder if Tye ever tried putting a bit of extra weight on the tip of the pole? That might get the tip to drop faster and farther into the box at top speed, and since that part of the pole would be on the ground the extra weight would not be a problem.
Also, since the vaulter is not having to carry the whole pole, maybe poles could be manufactured a bit different for the push, make them out of a bit heftier fiberglass or something. I have no idea about this, being an english major and having no clue about engineering and how more pole would effect the vault.
Also, with the push it is very much easier to adjust hand grip on the pole, meaning how far apart you put your hands.
As for the plant, I've actually found it very, very easy to push, and was doing it for over a year before just two weeks ago picking up the pole again because of a bubble on our runway that I caught on a few times. On the plant it seemed to work really well to actually wait a split second longer and reach up with the left hand almost as I jumped and it helped in take-off. Never had a problem grabbing the pole, but maybe I am just lucky.
The biggest thing I've run into is wearing down pole tips. Cutting strips from the circumference of plastic pop bottles and looping them over the tip seems to work for about five or six jumps, but if anyone has a better idea that would be great!
Oh yeah, I've also found it much, much easier to teach people to vault pushing the pole. They get comfortable sooner and get in the air earlier, which gets them excited and they come back for more.
Thanks for putting up that article Lonestar, I've been looking for something like that for a while. It also fits in with a paper I'm working on, I needed more sources!

Posted: Tue Apr 13, 2004 7:00 pm
How consistent is the hand spread on the pole at the plant? Wouldnt it pretty inconsistent or not? I have never tried it but I have seen it on film..?