Does the Russian model represent ideal technique?

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altius
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Re: Does the Russian model represent ideal technique?

Unread postby altius » Mon Aug 27, 2012 5:20 am

Coach J wrote:You can not reduce the US problems with hammer throw to the fact they are not contested in high school, thats too simplistic.

I still maintain that the hammer throw is a better analogy. There are other techniques in the hammer throw, but only one that is based on optimal biomechanics and physics, just like the pole vault. You can try to push the ball or you can just pull the ball, you can try to achieve a free take off your can just run your self under and have the pole pick you off the ground. Both will produce a result but only one is optimal.

The three hammer throw medalist were using the same technical model with varying degrees of success, just as the pole vault medalist were using the same technical model with varying degrees of success. No hammer thrower gave up on pushing the ball and just started pulling, just as no pole vaulter gave up on trying to have a free takeoff, or a long swing to inversion ect.

Shot put is a different story. While there exist two different techniques in the shot put both are based on the same optimal use of biomechanics and physics. In the front half of the circle the throwers have to do the same thing regardless of spin or glide. As a side note I don't think that a glider could ever set the world record again. But this thread is not about throwing, sorry.

So like hammer throw, the pole vault has only one viable (in sense that it has the greatest potential) technique based on physics and biomechanics. If you are ok with a technique that caps out at 5.70(PV) or 75m(HT) or 22m(SP) there are many options, but if your goal is use an optimal technique that could push the event and athlete to new levels, than there is only one optimal technique.


Thanks - Brilliant! Having coached elite athletes in the hj and shot through the period when the flop and spin were being introduced, and following a period when there was serious debate about the relative merits of various technical approaches to the discus throw, I was always conscious of the need to keep an open mind about technical models. This issue also raised its head in the javelin where athletes like Paragi - a barrel of a man - who employed immense rotation compared to the more linear approach of throwers such as Backley in more recent times, so when I got seriously involved with coaching the vault I spent a lot of money taking some athletes to Europe to study first with Krupsky in Leverkusen, then Houvion in Paris and finally Krysinski in Warsaw. It was clear that they were all on slightly different tracks but at that time I decided the the Polish model was the most efficent - indeed Slusarski -76 Olympic champion - used a free take off - although they did not call it that at the time. Warsaw was especially interesting because you had Slusarski (OC in76at 5'9 and Kozak---- (OC in 1980) at 6'4 training in different ways towards the same model - which involved a toe tip take off -as I indicated virtually a free take off. Incidentally there is film available of Slusarski.

However when I met Petrov and Bubka in 86 and was able to gain a better understanding of the model he had presented at the Europan coaches conference in Birmingham in 1985 (Sponsored I must add by Steve Chappell), I realised that this model tied everything together into something that could stand up to scientific analysis. It was then interesting to note Houvion's slight shift in the same direction with Galfionne - 96 OC- and subsequently the effect of Herbert Czingon's push to take the Petrov model to Germany - where he seems to have suceeded. Not surprised to see variations from France because they are always very defensive of all aspects of their culture - rightly so in the eyes of a serious wine lover! They have a great vaulting history so it is not surprising that they have produced another great athlete in Lavellinie - who thoroughly deserved his win in London.

The point is that I did not simply seize on the Petrov Bubka model because I thought the protagonists were good guys -which they are - but because it was clear to me that not only did it meet the biomechanical needs of the vault better than any other model I was aware of, it also provided a very clear pathway to teaching this apparently complex event. The evidence for that is in the athletes I taught to vault after accepting this model -they are detailed in BTB2 and seven of them are shown in the BTB dvd. Here it is important to note that I was an amateur part time coach working in what can only be described as a track and field backwater, with only one track in the city of Adelaide and with our nearest opponents 450 miles to the east and 2000 miles to the west.

So to the nitty gritty! Every year at about this time someone comes to pole vault power and sees a pretty dead sort of website - as it almost always is in August - and they decide to set about enlightening the poor dumb bunnies who contribute to it - sometimes without realising that the issues they are raising have already been subject to immense debate here over the past few years and to all intents and purposes have been put to bed. Then of course there is always someone else ready to leap in to add their particular bias. However while not doubting the knowledge or intentions of those who are arguing that the Petrov/Bubka approach is not the most efficient technical model I would ask them to precisely detail the model they do use in their coaching, outline the teaching approach that will take athletes towards that model and then, most importantly, provide some visual evidence of the athletes they have coached while using it. Of course It is understood that it will be rare for young athletes with limited training time to match that model precisely but one assumes that the main elements would be obvious in their technique.

So we can go round and round in this debate - as we have many times in the past - but if folk are serious they must be prepared to show the rest of us proof of their ideas in action - not simply spend their time demolishing a model that clearly works or even pointing to elite athletes who may use a different model. If they are confident in their ideas they must surely have been applying them. After all there is always a need for a few more knowledgeable and passionate vault coaches actually working in the US -and everywhere else for that matter!
Last edited by altius on Fri Aug 31, 2012 5:50 pm, edited 2 times in total.
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Re: Does the Russian model represent ideal technique?

Unread postby david bussabarger » Wed Aug 29, 2012 10:01 am

altius,
I think we must 1st establish what the term "model" actually means. Webster's american dictionary defines it as: a standard or example for imitation or comparison. Based on this definition, for the purposes of pole vaulting, a given vaulter's technical style (the individual's expression of the the sequence of movements that comprise his/her vault ) is central to the correct use of the term "model". That is the technical style of a given vaulter is the standard or example upon which the model is built ( as Bubka is in the b/p model ).
You are free to define terms as you wish and to declare the term technical style meaningless. However, it is also my privilege to ignore your point of view and to define and use terms as I wish.
I did not say that biomechanics and physics should not be part of the development of a technical model. I simply said that these disiplines cannot prove that a given technical model is superior to all other possible technical models. Only sufficient empirical evidence can prove this point .
During the period Bubka was an active vaulter it was stated many times that he was the fastest vaulter ever ( by 3 to 4 tenths of a second in the 100m. ). Now it is claimed that there are or where several vaulters who where or are as fast or faster than Bubka. One of the vaulters mentioned was Dean Starkey, who was a contemporary of Bubka's. This claim conflicts with the known statements made about Bubka's speed vs. other vaulters , while he was a competetive vaulter
Bubka himself claims that some of the vaulters he competed againstwe stronger than him. However, I did not claim he was the strongest vaulter, rather I claimed he had the most explosive power (which are 2 different things). Personally I have never seen any other vaulter who could explode phase by phase through through the vault like Bubka.
Finally, your statement that I need to do some "home work" before I'm qualified to comment on this subject shows that know nothing about my credentials. In this country I am considered to be an expert technical analysist.
What are your credentials?













'

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Re: Does the Russian model represent ideal technique?

Unread postby david bussabarger » Wed Aug 29, 2012 12:31 pm

vaultman18/
1.the instant the vaulter's take off foot leaves the ground ( 1millimeter is a good enough standard)
2.I'm not redefining the free take off in the paragragh in question. I'm describing an easy method for determining if a vaulter has or has not executed a free take off.
3.you are misinterpreting what I am saying.
you need to learn some basic science ( as do most of the other reponders to my articles ). In the scientific world all propositions, hypotheses, etc... must backed up by empirical evidence to be considered valid.empirical evidence is the equivalent of proof. my statement about the persistence of technical variations is an empirical statement.
you are falling into the same trap I am arguing against in my article. you consider viable variations in technique to be flawed execution. study some videos of Brits, Galfione and Lobinger. they all typically take off about 18' underneath and use a tucking rock-back action with great success.

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Re: Does the Russian model represent ideal technique?

Unread postby david bussabarger » Wed Aug 29, 2012 12:41 pm

vcoach/thanks for note.I,m happy to know somebody likes what I have to say.

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Re: Does the Russian model represent ideal technique?

Unread postby altius » Wed Aug 29, 2012 1:55 pm

"During the period Bubka was an active vaulter it was stated many times that he was the fastest vaulter ever ( by 3 to 4 tenths of a second in the 100m.."

Yes indeed, that WAS STATED many times but that does not mean it is necessarily true. Conflating his physical qualities enabled - enables -folk - to argue that his physical qualities were the major reason for his success - thus allowing them to ignore the importance of his technical model which challenged much if not all of what they believed and based their own coaching on. He clearly said that his technique was the real reason for his success and I have quoted him in BTB2. In fact in a discussion with him at the European Championships in Munich in 2002 he said he could not understand why many other vaulters -with superior physical qualities to his - had not adopted that model. Unfortunately it would seem that the true facts in this case have vanished into the mists of time.

Of course you can use any terms you like but when I wrote BTB2 I set out to TRY TO clarify some of the critical issues in the vault and as always it is worthwhile beginning by defining terms - such as 'style' and the even more archaic 'form'- which were being used loosely. As the Chinese proverb states " The beginning of wisdom is when things are given their proper names". Of course no one has to accept those definitions but it would appear that many coaches have done so,.

When your article first appeared I sat down to compose an immediate response dealing with the specific issues you raised. Because I am never sure how to use the "quote" system on pvp i was forced to use capitals in my reply - so I decided not to send it . I will do so now if only to help young coaches see things a little more clearly.

I am aware of your contribution to this area in the past but unfortunately that contribution does not entitle you -or anyone else - to epresent ideas that are patently inaccurate. Indeed your reputation may make those ideas more dangerous for young coaches who are still trying to resolve some critical issues and who may therefore be inclined to listen to you. For example your notion that taking off under merely represents a variation in style is especially dangerous because it is clear from the research that has been done that taking off under causes massive deceleration at take off- for reasons I have outlined in BTB. It is also clear when you analyse the effect of taking off a long way under that there is a huge possibility of injury when the athlete fails to penetrate. Indeed
I wrote BTB 1 after going to Reno and watching just that with many of the elite college vaulters - and that within a year of three young college athletes being killed in the US.

I am not, and have never claimed to be, an elite coach in this event, In fact I have had greater success in the the Long jump, shot put and discus at that level -simply because for a period I was in an environment at WKU where that was possible. In the track and field backwater of Australia I have concentrated on teaching and coaching the vault at junior level with some degree of success. At least sufficient for me to earn the respect and friendship of Vitali Petrov and Sergei Bubka and my fellow coaches in OZ. That said - although I do not mention in in BTB - because I saw my role only as technical advisor - I did have the opportunity to work with two world class athletes for a period in Adelaide and to be 'foot catcher' for Dimitri Markov - who lives in this city.

If nothing else you have lived up a pretty dead period on pvp. Keep up the good work - always remembering that like most coaches I respect anyone who contributes to this event and that it is - I hope - possible to disagree without becoming disagreeable. :rose:
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Re: Does the Russian model represent ideal technique?

Unread postby david bussabarger » Wed Aug 29, 2012 3:52 pm

altius/
1.as to the question of bubka's speed, I chose to believe the orignal info from his competive days. the new info sounds suspicicously like revisonism to me.
2.as to the superiority of bubka's technique: as I see it bubka was just an improved version of j. pennel, who I consider to be the true father of modern fg. technique. although I think bubka's tech. was solid, I also think it is behind the times and very conserative. from my point of view lavillenie's tech. represents an evolutionary step forward. he is on the cutting edge. Also , based on my visual analysis he does not use a free take off. he takes off outside, but the pole is at the back of the just before he leaves the ground.
3. my problem with your terminology is that instead of following correct definitions, you make up your own meanings. So any word you choose can mean any thing you want it to.
4. from my point of view attemping to execute a free take off is much more dangerous than taking off under( up to a point ). the executon of a free take off is tantamount to jumping on the pole..
5.if taking off under causes massive deceleration during the take off, how can so many vaulters jump 19+ using it? if you are right about the deceleration it should be so crippling that no vaulter should be able to reach today's world class heights taking off under. there certainly is a conflict between what is really going on in the world and the studies that you refer to. I will stck with the empirical evidence.
6. lastly, you are the one that go this discusion off on the wrong foot. at this point I think we going to have to agree to disagree and end the conversation.

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Re: Does the Russian model represent ideal technique?

Unread postby IAmTheWalrus » Wed Aug 29, 2012 10:20 pm

I would like to interject here a bit.
1) First and foremost, just because you can get to 19' in a multitude of ways, does not mean that they are all equally effective. The problem with empirical evidence in the pole vault is that the resultant height cleared is not necessarily the maximum height that a vaulter could have cleared. Many vaulters work for their entire life to jump 19' once. I don't think that by jumping 19' once they should be placed on the same level as Bubka who (I believe) has jumped 6m more than all the other vaulters combined.

2) On the subject of Bubka, to compare any vaulter to him, regardless of whether or not Bubka was the most athletic or not, is a bit of a stretch. Again, Bubka has jumped 6m dozens of times, while every other member of the 6 club is thrilled to have jumped it once. In addition, he has jumped 6m+ with some killer hip height above the bar. I know that this isn't evidence enough to say that he could have jumped a particular height, but I think in a discussion about technique it is relevant.

3) As for the free takeoff being dangerous, I think that with any technical element, when it is trained correctly, much of the danger is removed. I would speculate that if a vaulter with a free takeoff were to all of a sudden try to take off 18" inside, it would be similarly dangerous to a vaulter who is used to taking off 18" inside all of a sudden taking off free. My point is, by training the free takeoff from the start, the vaulter will be able to perform a free takeoff safely from a full run up. The free takeoff is not something that one just decides to do, and then it happens. It needs to be trained like anything else, and when it is trained effectively it is far less dangerous than you would expect, and I would go as far as to say that the vaulter feels more in control (my experience) than when they take off inside. I'll probably have more to say on this later, but I'm gonna call it here for now.

P.S. I think Roman Bocharnikov's model is the most evolved of the current models.
-Nick

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Re: Does the Russian model represent ideal technique?

Unread postby rainbowgirl28 » Wed Aug 29, 2012 11:10 pm

david bussabarger wrote:1.as to the question of bubka's speed, I chose to believe the orignal info from his competive days. the new info sounds suspicicously like revisonism to me.


Can you give actual results/dates/locations of any 100 meter dash results for him? Most of what I have seen is just people saying what he is reported to have done. Not actual results.

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Re: Does the Russian model represent ideal technique?

Unread postby coachjvinson » Wed Aug 29, 2012 11:58 pm

The post by altius is well stated - it is very important to disagree respectfully - all of our methods must stand the scrutiny of extensive analysis - further, the process of stating and supporting our methods has a causal effect of self analysis - coaches and instructors should be able and willing to support their position and methodology - not only for others but for the purpose of self evaluation - with empirical, detailed explanations - and finally results... This will eliminate any bias which our ego may endear.
As a younger/newer coach to the discipline, I would like to see the reply by altius to the original post in CAPS for the comparative analysis
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Re: Does the Russian model represent ideal technique?

Unread postby Branko720 » Thu Aug 30, 2012 2:23 am

Mr. Bussabarger, the first question I have for you, is what is the difference between vaulting pre fiberglas and fiberglass? What exactly is the advantage of a fiberglass pole?

The next question deals with your quote
“The Russian model (which is primarly based on the technique of S. Bubka ) represents a tiny percentage, at best, of elite vaulters. It is simply bad science to base a vaulting concept on such a small sampling of vaulters. This problem is particularly critical when most variations of technique that do not conform to the Russian model ( no matter how successful they are ) are simply dismissed as flaws in execution.”


If many people don’t coach a technical model, how will you find examples? (In fact many people still coach using antiquated methods and models, so that might explain the lack of examples.)

My next question is if you don’t think people should be coaching a free take-off or the Petrov/Bubka model, what model should we coach? I think it is very easy of you to say that the Petrov /Bubka model is wrong without providing a solution. Should coaches be telling their athletes to take-off 18” under?

Branko

P.S. Don’t you think this is good example of a free take-off? http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_-UwBaf8f98

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Re: Does the Russian model represent ideal technique?

Unread postby superpipe » Thu Aug 30, 2012 5:20 pm

The point here is that there is minimal ( if any ) empirical evidence supporting the
'free" take off concept and it's supposed superiority vs. other possible take off points.


Empirical evidence in the pole vault, much less most human movement is almost impossible to achieve. Human biomechanics is so complex, you cannot simply watch or exercise human movement and prove a theory very well. This is why application of known physics is best to determine a technical model for the pole vault, not watching every vaulter that cleared 19' or more. It's a fact that taking off "under" bleeds energy away from the whole system.

The fact remains that there is ONE most efficient way to create and apply energy in the pole vault to achieve the greatest height. There's zillions of less efficient ways to clear heights below your maximum capability. Determine the most efficient way and execute it perfectly, you will achieve the greatest height your unique, human self will allow. This technical model is the SAME for everyone. It's known physics. The problem is the incredible complexity of human biomechanics involved.
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Re: Does the Russian model represent ideal technique?

Unread postby altius » Thu Aug 30, 2012 11:14 pm

BY SPECIAL REQUEST - MY INITIAL RESPONSE TO DAVIDS POST –WITH A COUPLE OF MINOR CHANGES SINCE THEN!! TRIED TO REPLACE CAPS WITH ITALICS BUT BECCAS SYSTEM WILL NOT ALL0W THAT!

DAVID - YOUR RESPONSES ARE TAKING ON THE NATURE OF “DO YOU NOT KNOW WHO I AM””. YES I DO HAVE SOME IDEA WHO YOU ARE BUT YOU WILL LEARN THAT ON PVP, “WHO YOU ARE” DOES NOT GET YOU VERY FAR IF YOU PUT UP A SERIES OF PERSONAL OPINIONS AS STATEMENTS OF FACT. OF COURSE YOU ARE ENTITLED TO SAY WHAT YOU LIKE – BUT YOU MUST BE PREPARED TO DEFEND THEM AGAINST ALL AND SUNDRY –INCLUDING FOLK LIKE ME WITH A PR OF UNDER 9’ BUT SOMEONE WHO DID BEGIN TEACHING THE EVENT IN 1958 AND WHO HAS BEEN A SERIOUS STUDENT OF THE EVENT SINCE THAT TIME.

Quote David Bussabarger 6. “lastly, you are the one that go this discusion off on the wrong foot. at this point I think we going to have to agree to disagree and end the conversation.”
STRANGE THAT - I THOUGHT THAT YOU INITIATED THE DISCUSSION WITH YOUR ORIGINAL POST THAT CONTAINED A RANGE OF UNTRUE STATEMENTS. I AM HAPPY TO DISCONTINUE BUT NOT BEFORE PUTTING UP MY FIRST RESPONSE TO THAT POST WHICH I HAD HELD BACK BECAUSE OF THE CAPS ISSUE. THE ONE MAJOR ALTERATION I HAVE MADE SINCE READING YOUR PRESUMABLY FINAL STATEMENT WAS TO SUBSTITUTE JOHN PENNEL FOR NORDWIG BELOW. INCIDENTALLY I SAW JOHN SET HIS FIRST WR AT WHITE CITY, LONDON IN 1963 – FOLLOWED HIS CAREER/WATCHED FILM OF HIM AND AGREE THAT HE WAS PROBABLY THE FIRST OF THE TECHNICALLY MODERN VAULTERS.

[quote="david bussabarger"]My apologies. Being a newbie on your site it is obvious that I didn't follow correct procdure when I orginally sbumitted my article. So here is the article.
I MUST ALSO APOLOGISE – BECAUSE I AM TECHNOLOGICALLY CHALLENGED I WILL HAVE TO RESPOND USING CAPITALS -PLEASE NOTE THAT I AM NOT SHOUTING AT YOU – OR ANYONE ELSE! I MUST ALSO APOLOGISE FOR THE LENGTH OF THIS RESPONSE BUT CANNOT ALLOW ALL OF THE PROGRESSIVE THOUGHT OF THE LAST FEW YEARS ON PVP TO BE MUDDLED BY A TRIVIAL ANALYSIS.

“A great many coaches, vaulters and sports scientists today believe that the Russian technical model (or the Bubka/Petrov model ) represents ideal technique.
TRUE –AND I AM ONE OF THEM .

Further, it is believed that this model has been proven to be ideal by physics and biomechanics.
NOT ‘PROVEN’ BUT ACCEPTED BY BIOMECHANISTS AS THE MOST EFFICIENT METHOD OF POLE VAULTING - AT THIS POINT IN TIME. HOWEVER MY ANALYSIS – FOR WHAT THAT IS WORTH - SUGGESTS THAT IT CANNOT BE IMPROVED UPON.

The best way to test this proposition is to examine it using the scientific method.
We must begin then, by:
REVIEWING THE LATEST LITERATURE. IF YOU PROPOSE THIS AS A PAPER RATHER THAN SIMPLY A LETTER TO PVP THEN THIS WOULD BE REQUIRED. I SEE NO EVIDENCE THAT YOU HAVE IN FACT READ THE PREVIOUS DISCUSSIONS ON THIS ISSUE IN PVP OR EVEN THE DETAILED DISCUSSION IN BTB2 – WHICH ALSO ADDRESSES THE QUESTIONS YOU RAISE. I ALSO WONDER IF YOU HAVE READ THE PAPER THAT PETROV PRESENTED AT THE EUROPEAN CACHES CONGRESS IN 1985.

HOWEVER I AM WELL AWARE THAT YOU HAVE CONTRIBUTED TO DISCUSSION ON THESE ISSUES IN THE PAST IN OTHER AREAS.

1.Observing and analyizing what elite male fiberglass vaulters actually do in the real world.
REFERRING TO THE ‘REAL WORLD’ ALWAYS SOUNDS GOOD BUT MAY BE A RED HERRING IN THIS CONTEXT - BUT LETS DO IT ANYWAY,

For the purposes of this article any vaulter who has jumped 19' or better can be considered an elite vaulter.
SINCE AT LEAST 2 JUNIOR ATHLETES HAVE JUMPED 19’’/5.80 -AND AS YOU INDICATE BELOW - THERE MUST BE HUNDREDS OF OTHERS SO I WOULD SUGGEST THAT YOU CONSIDER 5.90 AS THE BEGINNING OF ELITE STATUS.

This approach is based on the fact that in the scientific world all ideas must be verified by empirical evidence before they can become accepted theories.
SORRY – SAY THAT AGAIN - I THOUGHT THE PROCESS WAS TO COME UP WITH A HYPOTHESES AND THEN SEARCH FOR EVIDENCE THAT DOES OR DOES NOT SUPPORT THAT HYPOTHESES – IE. EINSTEINS “THEORY” OF RELATIVITY, WHERE EVIDENCE TO SUPPORT IT IS STILL EMERGING THROUGH OBSERVATION.

Empirical evidence can be defined as evidence derived from experience and or observation of the real world. Finally, the more empirical evidence there is to back up a given theory, the "stronger" the theory.
2.In order to achieve an accurate conclusion, observational analysis must be based on the broadest possible spectrum of elite vaulters. Keep in mind that vaulters have been jumping 19' or better for 30 yrs, so 19' or better vaulters probably number in the hundreds.
It should be immediately obvious that from a scientific point of view there are several problems with the Russian model.

NOTE, THIS SHOULD REALLY BE CALLED THE SOVIET MODEL. NOT SURE OF PETROV’S NATIONALITY BUT HE FIRST MET AND THEN WORKED WITH BUBKA IN DONETSK IN THE UKRAINE – AT THAT TIME PART OF THE USSR.

HOWEVER IT WOULD BE VALUABLE IF YOU COULD DETAIL THE PROBLEMS WITH THIS MODEL!

1.Proof of an idea or a system of ideas, as in the Russian model,must be based on empirical evidence. The application of physics and or biomechanics can help support an given idea but cannnot prove it. ???????? Keep in mind that an idea can be based on sound physics and or biomechanics and still be wrong.

AGAIN NOT SURE IF SCIENTISTS WOULD ACCEPT THIS NOTION – I CERTAINLY DON’T – WHAT DO YOU THINK DJ??? – I KNOW YOU LIKE TO USE SCIENCE TO SUPPORT YOUR IDEAS.

This is a common problem in science when there are often several competing solutions to a given problem.
SUCH AS - IS THE EARTH ROUND OR FLAT YOU MEAN OR WHETHER THE EARTH GOES AROUND THE SUN OR VICE VERSA?

2.At best, the Russian model is only partly based on empirical evidence.

I SUSPECT THAT PETROV – AS HEAD VAULT COACH OF THE USSR WAS CHARGED WITH THE TASK OF FINDING WAYS TO BEAT THE USA IN THE VAULT. HE SIMPLY STARTED WITH A CLEAN SHEET AND HIS ORIGINAL IDEAS WERE BASED ON HIS ANALYSIS OF WHAT VAULTERS ACTUALLY DID.

SO HIS IDEAS AND THE MODEL HE DEVELOPED WERE THE RESULT OF A DETAILED ANALYSIS OF WHAT VAULTERS –SUCH AS DAVE ROBERTS OF THE USA - ACTUALLY DID. BUT HE WAS ESPECIALLY INTERESTED IN STIFF POLE VAULTERS LIKE OZOLIN OF THE USSR AND WARMERDAM OF THE USA. THIS ALONG WITH DISCUSSION WITH THE TEAM OF USSR VAULT COACHES, GYMNASTICS COACHES AND BIOMECHANISTS PRODUCE HIS MODEL. I SUSPECT THAT HE MIGHT HAVE ALSO BEEN INFLUENCED BY SLUSARSKI OF POLAND – 1976 OLYMPIC CHAMPION – WHO CLEARLY EMPLOYED A FREE TAKE OFF.

For the most part it is a system of hypotheses that give specfic directions for executing the vault.

THE SOVIET MODEL CERTAINLY GIVES VALUABLE DIRECTIONS FOR EXECUTING – AND TRAINING FOR - THE VAULT. THAT IS ONE OF ITS MAJOR ADVANTAGES – IF THERE IS NO MODEL TO AIM FOR – HOW CAN YOU PLAN A COHERENT SERIES OF LEARNING EXPERIENCES TO TAKE YOU TO THE MODEL?

For example, the Russian model advocates the use of a "free" take off action. This means the vaulter should take off far enough away from the box so that he/she can leave the ground before the tip of the pole contacts the back of the box.

THIS IS DEFINITELY NOT PETROV'S CONCEPT OF A ‘FREE’ TAKE OFF –

WHAT YOU ARE DESCRIBING IS WHAT I TERMED A “PRE JUMP’ IN AN ARTICLE PUBLISHED IN 1989 AFTER MEETING PETROV IN 1985. ALL THE TERM ‘FREE TAKE OFF’ MEANS IS THAT THE POLE IS NOT LOADED BEFORE THE ATHLETE LEAVES THE GROUND – IN OTHER WORDS IT CAN BE A TOE TIP TAKE OFF – NOT A PRE JUMP. THE KEY FACTOR IS IN FACT THE DIRECTION OF THE FORCES APPLIED BY THE VAULTER AS THEY LEAVE THE GROUND SO IT IS POSSIBLE FOR A VAULTER TO BE SLIGHTLY UNDER - BUBKAS WINNING JUMP IN 1988 -AND STILL HAVE A FREE TAKE OFF. INCIDENTALLY THE REASONS FOR HIS BEING UNDER ON THAT JUMP ARE EXPLAINED IN BTB2

The writer has carefully examined dozens of vaults by elite male vaulters ( including many by S. Bubuka )
AS HAVE WE ALL!

and found no examples of a vaulter successfully employing a "free" take off action.
I SUGGEST YOU TAKE A LOOK AT THE FIRST EVER 6 M. JUMP BY BUBBY IN PARIS IN JULY 85 – NOT ONLY WILL YOU SEE A ‘FREE’ TAKE OFF BUT ITS EXTENSION THE PRE JUMP, BECAUSE HE IS CLEARLY 10CM/4INCHES OFF THE GROUND AND HIS POLE IS STILL STRAIGHT FROM TIP TO LEFT HAND – AND HIS LEFT ARM IS STILL COVERING HIS RIGHT EAR! YOU MIGHT EVEN FIND THE STILL PHOTO OF THAT TAKE OFF ON THE INSIDE COVER OF BTB2INTERESTING . EXECUTED PROPERLY THE PREJUMP BRINGS BIOMECHANICAL ADVANTAGES. NOT ONLY DOES IT ENABLE THE VAULTER TO MAKE A SEAMLESS TRANSITION FROM THE RUN UP INTO THE JUMP – JUST AS A GOOD LONG JUMPER DOES - BUT ANY INCREASE IN THE POLE GROUND ANGLE AT THAT POINT MEANS THAT IT IS EASIER TO MOVE THE POLE FORWARDS AND UPWARDS– A KEY PETROV MANTRA. A SEEMINGLY SMALL ADVANTAGE BUT AS THE HUNGARIANS SAY “Sok kicsi sokra megy” - Many small things can add up to a big one”

This is not to state that no elite male vaulter has ever successfully employed a "free' take off action. Rather, if they have , it is a very rare occurrence.
NOT SO –ALMOST EVERY ONE OF BUBKAS JUMPS INVOLVED A ‘FREE TAKE OFF’ – HOWEVER AS HE HIMSELF SAID IN JAMAICA IN 2002, HE WAS ALWAYS AIMING FOR A PRE JUMP TAKE OFF – BUT WAS ONLY ABLE TO ACHIEVE THAT A FEW TIMES BECAUSE IT IS VERY DIFFICULT TO DO. GIVEN THE PROBLEMS LONG AND TRIPLE JUMPERS HAVE IN HITTING THE BOARD ACCURATELY –AND THEY DON’T HAVE TO MANIPULATE A 17’ POLE INTO PERFECT POSITION AS THEY PREPARE TO TAKE OFF - THIS IS UNDERSTANDABLE.

YOU MIGHT EVEN LIKE TO TAKE A LOOK AT THE TAKE OFF POSITIONS OF YOUNG ATHLETES JAMIE SCROOP, TOM LOVELL, PATRICK JESSER AND WENDY YOUNG, SHOWN IN BTB AND ON THE ASSOCIATED DVD – NOT “ELITE” ATHLETES BUT INTERESTING NONE THE LESS.

The point here is that there is minimal ( if any ) empirical evidence supporting the 'free" take off concept and it's supposed superiority vs. other possible take off points.
THEN YOU ARE NOT LOOKING IN THE RIGHT PLACES BECAUSE I HAVE LISTED MANY ATHLETES WHO CLEARLY USE A FREE TAKE OFF.

THE RATIONALE FOR THE FREE TAKE OFF IS SIMPLE. SINCE THE POLE IS NOT LOADED UNTIL AFTER THE VAULTER TAKES OFF IT MEANS THAT THEY HAVE NOT ‘WASTED’ ANY OF THE KINETIC ENERGY DEVELOPED IN THE RUN AND TAKE OFF IN BENDING THE POLE. SINCE SPEED AT THE MOMENT OF TAKE OFF IS A CRITICAL VARIABLE, A FREE TAKE OFF CLEARLY HAS MAJOR ADVANTAGES –ESPECIALLY CF TAKING OFF UNDER –SEE BELOW..

Note, it is quite easy to determine whether or not a vaulter has employed a "free" take off action. If the vaulter's top hand is behind his /her head just after leaving the ground, the vaulter has not executed a "free" take off. This assumes the vaulter was erect, with the with the top hand directly overhead at the completion of the plant.
WHY WOULD YOU BOTHER DETERMINING IF A TAKE OFF IS ‘FREE’ OR NOT IF AS YOU SAY IT RARELY OCCURS ANYWAY? HOWEVER AS I SUGGESTED ABOVE, THE BEST INIDCATOR OF A ‘FREE’ TAKE OFF IS THAT THE POLE IS STRAIGHT AT THE INSTANT THE VAULTER LEAVES THE GROUND

3.The Russian model (which is primarly based on the technique of S. Bubka, - represents a tiny percentage, at best, of elite vaulters.
BUT IT HAS BEEN EMPLOYED BY TARASOV/MARKOV/GIBILISICO/TRANDENKOV/GATAULLIN/ISINBAYEVA/FEOFANOVA/BALACHONOVA,MURER -AS WELL AS THE BRAZILIAN LAD WHO RECENTLY WON THE WJ TITLE IN BARCELONA WITH 5.65M
I ALSO SUGGEST YOU HAVE A LOOK AT THE GERMAN AND CUBAN VAULTERS OF RECENT TIMES ALONG WITH PAUL BURGESS, STEVE LEWIS AND STEVE HOOKER – ALL ORIGINALLY COACHED BY SOVIET INFLUENCED INDIVIDUALS IN STEVE RIPPON AND MARK STEWART AND SUBSEQUENTLY BY ALEX PARNOV – A VAULTER FROM THE FORMER SOVIET SCHOOL.

It is simply bad science to base a vaulting concept on such a small sampling of vaulters.
NOT SUCH A SMALL SAMPLE – AND EVEN IF THEY DOMINATE THE TOP END OF THE RANKINGS??? .

This problem is particularly critical when most variations of technique that do not conform to the Russian model ( no matter how successful they are ) are simply dismissed as flaws in execution.
WHO DISMISSED THEM – SOME OF US ARE AWARE THAT THE FRENCH FOR EXAMPLE (AS IN MANY AREAS OF CULTURE) HAVE THEIR OWN VIEWS ON VAULT TECHNIQUE – BUT TAKE A LOOK AT GALFIONE, ANOTHER 6 M VAULTER WHO WON IN ATLANTA. HIS COACH WAS BECOMING INFLUENCED BY PETROV PRIOR TO THIS RESULT. I ACCEPT THAT THE FRENCH DID HAVE AN ALTERNATIVE APPROACH DURING THE LATE 70S/80’S –WENT AND STUDIED WITH THEIR COACHES HOUVION (OC96) AND PERIN (OC84) DURING THAT PERIOD. LIKE MANY COACHES I DECIDED THAT THE SOVIET MODEL BETTER MATCHED THE BIOMECHANICAL DEMANDS OF THIS EVENT.

OF COURSE IT IS CLEAR THAT FOLK HAVE VAULTED ABOVE 5.90 WITHOUT USING THE PETROV/BUBKA MODEL – BUT THE QUESTION REMAINS WOULD MANY OF THEM HAVE VAULTED HIGHER USING IT?? I SUSPECT DEAN STARKEY, JEFF HARTWIG – WHO ACTUALLY WERE PRETY CLOSE IN SOME BUT NOT ALL ELEMENTS OF THEIR TECHNIQUE – ALONG WITH OCKERT BRITS – WHOSE TECHNIQUE, TO COIN A PHRASE, WAS DIABOLICAL - WOULD HAVE DONE SO, AND I KNOW THAT SIMON ARKELL – A 19’ FOOTER - WOULD HAVE IF I HAD INTRODUCED HIM TO IT WHEN I FIRST TAUGHT HIM TO VAULT.

4. World record holder Sergey Bubka was a uniquely talented athlete. His raw speed and explosive power are unmatched.
NOT TRUE – THIS IS ONE OF THE GREAT MYTHS – GO AND TALK TO BUBKA AND HE WILL RAPIDLY DISABUSE YOU OF THAT NOTION. WHAT IS NOT UNDERSTOOD – BECAUSE IT IS RARELY DISCUSSED – IS THAT THE EFFICIENCY OF HIS TECHNIQUE ALSO INCLUDED HIS POLE CARRY AND PLANTING ACTION – A FACTOR THAT ENABLED HIM TO BE HIGHLY EFFICIENT IN CONVERTING WHAT SPRINT SPEED HE DID HAVE TO THE POLE VAULT RUN UP – AND ESPECIALLY THROUGH THE LAST TEN METRES INTO TAKE OFF – A ZONE WHERE MANY VAULTERS DECELERATE BECAUSE OF INSUFFICIENT EMPHASIS ON THIS ASPECT OF TECHNIQUE – INCIDENTALLY YOU MIGHT ALSO FIND IT INTERESTING TO TALK WITH VITALI HIMSELF ABOUT THIS TO DISCOVER HOW IMPORTANT HE THINKS IT IS.

It is logical to assume – that Buubka's athletic talents played a major role in his success. Therefore if another vaulter was able to precisely duplicate Bubuka's technique, he would have to have superior athletic talent vs. Bubka, in order to surpass his marks.
TRUE- GREAT EXAMPLES WOULD HAVE BEEN VICTOR CHYSTIAKOV AND OCKERT BRITS – BUT THERE ARE OTHER ISSUES THAT IMPINGE ON THIS – NOTABLY GOOD EARLY COACHING, MENTAL STRENGTH, FOCUS AND RESLIENCE AND THERE IS LITTLE DOUBT BUBKA WAS FORTUNATE IN THESE AREAS –ESPECIALLY THE FIRST.

Conversely, if any 6m. vaulter had Bubka's athletic talents, it is certainly???? possible that they could or could have vaulted as high or even higher than Bubka using thier own technical style.
A PRETTY POWERFUL STATEMENT OF OPINION –NOT FACT - AND YOU WOULD NOT BE SAYING THAT IF YOU REALLY UNDERSTOOD THE BIOMECHANICS OF THE PETROV MODEL.

5. The fiberglass vault dates back to the early 60's. Since it's inception individual stylistic variations have always been the norm.
YES AND THESE ‘STYLISTIC VARIATIONS’ HAVE INVARIABLY HELD THE EVENT BACK – AND MAY EVEN HAVE CONTRIBUTED TO THE SERIOUS INJURIES AND DEATHS IN THIS EVENT.

PERHAPS YOU SHOULD CONSIDER THE FOLLOWING FACTS ABOUT THE WORLD RECORD PERFORMANCES FROM THIS PERIOD OF ‘INDIVIDUAL STYLISTIC VARIATIONS’ AND COMPARE THEM WITH THOSE OF A SMALL GROUP OF YOUNG AND VERY AMATEUR VAULTERS IN SOUTH AUSTRALIA – WHO WERE ALL INTRODUCED TO THE PETROV BUBKA MODEL FROM THE FIRST TIME THEY PICKED UP A POLE. HERE I THINK IT FAIR TO ASSUME THAT THE WORLD RECORD HOLDERS IN QUESTION WERE ALL PRETTY MATURE AND TALENTED ATHLETES, WHO TOOK THEIR TRAINING SERIOUSLY. SO WHAT DO WE FIND
1963 Brian Sternberg WR 5.00M - 2000 Tom and Chris Lovell (aged 18) 5.00m . Both boys around 5’6 and 140 pounds – playing other sports at school and trained a maximum of three sessions a week in the summer of that year, much less previously.
1964 Fred Hansen wr 5.28 1988 Adam Steinhart 5.26 age 18
1966 Bob Seagren wr 5.32 1995 Matt Filsell 5.30 age 17
1967 Paul Wilson wr 5.38 2000 Patrick Jesser 5.40 age 18
1971 John. Pennel wr 5.44 1998 Matt Filsell 5.45 age 20
Note that Matt left school at 16 and was working a full time job during this period – he was not a superior athletic talent. HOPE THE LACK OF CAPITALS HERE DOES NOT CONFUSE ANYONE!!!


Of course you can claim I am cherry picking but the full list of junior vaulters in this group between 1986 and 2000 is provided in BTB2.
SO WHAT IS THE MESSAGE? THAT VERY ORDINARY YOUNGSTERS TRAINING PART TIME IN THE BACK OF BEYOND WITH AN AMATEUR COACH AND ALWAYS DEALING WITH THE TYRANNY OF DISTANCE IN OZ - BUT USING THE PETROV BUBKA MODEL - COULD MATCH THE PERFORMANCES OF TALENTED AND COMMITTED ATHLETES – PRESUMABLY USING THE INDIVIDUAL STYLES YOU MENTION.

This fact continues to this day and is even evident in the super elite 6m. club where every vaulter has a distinctive individual style (this true even for russian 6m. vaulters ).
YES INDEED THEY DO, BECAUSE THEY ARE UNIQUE INDIVIDUALS BUT ALSO BECAUSE IN SOME CASES – EVEN WHERE THEY ARE USING THE SOVIET TECHNICAL MODEL E.G. TARASOV/MARKOV.GIBILISICO/FEOFANOVA (ALTHOUGH IT DID NOT STOP HER –AT 5’4” - JUMPING 4.90M. CF GEORGE DAVIES WR RECORD OF 4.88) THEY HAVE MINOR TECHNICAL WEAKNESSES – WHICH I HAVE OUTLINED IN CHAPTER 28 BTB2

WITHOUT BEING TOO BUMPTIOUS I SUGGEST YOU CONSIDER READING CHAPTER 7 0F BTB – “BIOMECHANICS, TECHNICAL MODELS AND STYLE”.

The fact that these variations continue to persist at this late date in the history of the event ( note, some variations, such as the "underneath" take off, date back to beginning of the fiberglass era )
TAKING OFF UNDER IS NOT A ‘VARIATION” – IT IS A MAJOR FAULT AND THERE IS PLENTY OF EVIDENCE CONFIRMING THE RAPID DECELERATION OF ANY VAULTER WHO TAKES OFF UNDER.

….is a kind of proof.
EXCUSE ME – “A KIND OF PROOF” - I THOUGHT YOU WERE PRESENTING THIS AS A ‘SORT’ OF SCIENTIFIC CRITIQUE OF THE PETROV MODEL !that there is no one ideal technical stlye or model. I SINCERELY TRUST THAT NO ONE WHO READS THIS IS GOING TO GO OUT AND TEACH FOLK TO TAKE OFF UNDER.

ANY STUDY OF THOSE EARLY FLEXIBLE POLE VAULTERS SUGGESTS THAT THEY SIMPLY HAD NO IDEA WHAT THEY WERE DOING –EXCEPT TRY TO BEND THE POLE – AND TAKING OFF UNDER CERTAINLY HELPS YOU TO DO THAT!! THE REAL PROBLEM AT THAT TIME WAS THAT COACHES DID NOT KNOW EITHER! IMHO IF THEY HAD SIMPLY STAYED WITH THE STIFF POLE TECHNICAL MODEL OF WARMERDAM FOR EXAMPLE – VAULTING WOULD HAVE PROGRESSED MUCH FASTER. AS IT WAS THOSE VAULTERS DEVELOPED DEAD END TECHNIQUES - SOME OF WHICH UNFORTUNATELY PERSIST TO THIS DAY..

Based on the broadest possible visual analysis of elite male vaulters, it is possible to isolate many elements of technique that, with few exceptions, are universally practiced.
THAT IS IF YOU REALLY KNOW WHAT TO LOOK FOR!
SO WHAT ARE THESE ELEMENTS OF TECHNIQUE THAT ARE UNIVERSALLY PRACTISED IN YOUR OPINION???

On the other hand, this method should also make it clear that there also are many aspects of technique that remain subject to individual interpretation.
SORRY TO CONTRADICT, YOU BUT THE ONLY – AND I MEAN ONLY! – ISSUE THAT REALLY NEEDS TO BE RESOLVED –TO EVERYONES SATISFACTION – NOT MINE, BECAUSE I AM ALREADY A CONVERT – IS ROMAN BOTCHARNIKOV’S NOTION OF PULLING WITH THE BOTTOM ARM IMMEDIATELY AFTER TAKE OFF TO FURTHER ACCELERATE THE WHIP SWING OF THE BODY INTO INVERSION.
Last edited by altius on Fri Aug 31, 2012 5:57 pm, edited 4 times in total.
Its what you learn after you know it all that counts. John Wooden


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