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What is your correct takeoff point?

Posted: Mon Mar 04, 2013 11:43 pm
by agapit
This is a simple question right? Let me show you that the answer is not as simple as it seems and perhaps, I would go as far as to say that there is no single correct answer.

When people ask this question do they assume the takeoff point at the highest competition grip, the highest run up speed and the best takeoff jump performance by an athlete? Do they consider the athlete's plant style and the rest of the jump? Does athletic’s jump style and ability allows her to cope with resisting pole while on the ground or do they have a free takeoff?

These and many other questions make the answer difficult if not impossible to define with a single number!

Let me illustrate my point. Let's take a female athlete whose highest competition grip is 14'6" and who's highest approach speed is 8.5 m/s and who can long jump 19'4". So lets assume that her takeoff at the best physical performance is 11'8".

read more here

Re: What is your correct takeoff point?

Posted: Tue Mar 05, 2013 12:19 am
by Branko720
How do we become members?

Re: What is your correct takeoff point?

Posted: Tue Mar 05, 2013 2:58 am
by golfdane

"We will enable membership functions and content when we prepare minimum amount of content to make your membership worthwhile. Please, be patient little bit left to do to open the doors."

Re: What is your correct takeoff point?

Posted: Tue Mar 05, 2013 9:17 am
by agapit
Branko720 wrote:How do we become members?

I am working on the membership section now. It should no be too long maybe a week or so

Re: What is your correct takeoff point?

Posted: Tue Mar 05, 2013 9:19 am
by agapit
Branko720 wrote:How do we become members?

Re: What is your correct takeoff point?

Posted: Mon Jun 10, 2013 5:55 pm
by david bussabarger
In response to Botcharnikov's post,
Finally someone on pvp is talking sense about the take off point.The specific take off point ( given it falls within "functional" limits ) is the biggest red herring in the fibergass vault. That is, based on real world empirical evidence, oustanding results can be achieved taking off under ( within functional limits ) or taking off out ( within functional limits ). I have been saying this for years, but very few people would take me seriously. For proof see my article in Track Coach 199, spring 2012. Note, I used the term free take off in the article when I should have used the term pre jump.

Re: What is your correct takeoff point?

Posted: Tue Jun 11, 2013 8:15 am
by IAmTheWalrus

I don't want to resurrect an old argument, but I would like to comment.

There is a difference between what works, and what is best. In my opinion, one of the fundamental aspects of pole vault training is the attempt to attain perfection. Perfection is never attained of course, but by having a technical model to strive for, one can achieve a higher level of focus and discipline in their training, and ultimately achieve better results. I recall that you are a fan of observation, and I would not dispute what is observed (Bjorn Otto is one of my favorite vaulters, he jumps relatively high, and he takes off inside), however, looking back to some of your past posts, I must disagree with your conclusions.

1) You can jump high taking off inside (or outside), but that does not mean you don't want to take off "on." If I can jump 6m taking off a foot inside, why should I be content with that when I could likely jump higher with a better takeoff.

2) If a vaulter deviates from the "ideal" model early in the jump (e.g. an inside takeoff) the "ideal" sequence of actions will change for the remainder of the vault. This is where you encounter what is in my opinion the biggest red herring: the vertical position. Many vaulters will sacrifice time on the pole to achieve a vertical position on jumps where they are behind the pole, and ultimately end up jumping lower as a result. Better swing fast and continuously and not get vertical, then to get vertical after the pole has recoiled.

3) Trying to determine ideal technique by observation is dangerous for several reasons. First, how does one determine what constitutes good? As you've mentioned in previous posts, several vaulters have cleared 6m with various technical models and styles, but how do we know that is as high as they can jump? It is easy to speculate, but impossible to know how high they could have jumped if they had done things differently. Jumping 6m is a huge achievement that few have accomplished, but in the 1970's, so was jumping 5.50. Agapit has always had a strong opinion that we should not strive for 6m, but for 6.20,6.30,6.40. I agree. Bubka jumped over 6m more times then all other vaulters combined, and I don't believe he felt that 6.15 was anywhere near the best height he could accomplish. The other reason I think that determining ideal technique from observation is dangerous is because it is so difficult to discern what the vaulter is actually doing, and it becomes incredibly easy to get hung up on certain positions and try to make the jump look pretty. A quick browsing of PvP topics would illustrate my point: does Bubka pull, does he push, is this vaulter trying to tuck, is that vaulter trying to do this or that? It's too easy to fall into the trap of trying to coach athletes based on dozens of complex movements that ends up feeling like a game of twister. The reality is that, in general, a much simpler set of instructions can be used to coach a vaulter, and many of those positions that one sees when watching video will occur naturally without the vaulter consciously focusing on them.

Yes, you can takeoff inside and jump high. How high, I do not know. I will certainly agree that an inside takeoff is not a "deal breaker" that will invalidate an entire jump, and I'm sure that there are many coaches and athletes who focus WAY too much on their takeoff location, and don't focus on the other parts of the vault, like the run (which is where the work needs to be if a vaulter wants a free takeoff) or the swing. The takeoff is only one aspect of the vault, and the takeoff location is an even smaller part,but that does not mean that it does not matter. Vaulters can jump high taking off inside, on and outside, but Bubka jump highest, and it was his goal to have a free takeoff on every jump, that's why it's my goal too.

Re: What is your correct takeoff point?

Posted: Tue Jun 11, 2013 11:11 am
by david bussabarger
In response to I am the Walrus,
You, like so many others believe that there is only one ideal way to vault. But what is this belief based on? It is my contention that the Petrov/Bubka "style" is based mainly on conjecture and the isolated success of one vaulter, Bubka. Although I think Bubka's technique was quite good you have to take into account his truely exceptional athletic talents to explain his success. It is documented that he was a 10th of a second faster over the last 5m.s of his run vs. the second fastest 6m. vaulter ( which is a pretty significant advantage ). And , in my view, he had unmatched explosive power in the execution of his vault. This is particularly evident in his execution of the vertical extention.
If you want to develop a truely scientific understanding of fiberglass vaulting technique you must study the largest group possible of technically accomplished vaulters. I include all vaulters who have vaulted 5.80 or better in this group ( 94 vaulters cleared 5.80 by 2006 ). Then you look for and identify all the aspects of technique that are as close to universally practiced as possible. Note that there will always be a few exceptions to the rule. These aspects make up the technical foundation of the vault. All other aspects of technique naturally vary from vaulter to vaulter. Variable aspects of technique include the specific take off point, specific lead leg action and positioning during the take off, specific lead arm action and positioning during the bottom phases, specific rock-back style and so on. Allowing for variable aspects of technique permits each vaulter to accommodate his /her natural tendencies ( the exact same technical style will simply not work well for all vaulters ). In addition, variable aspects of technique also allow for the posslble development of new and possibly superior technical execution. I believe that fiberglass technique is so complex it can be refined and improved indefinately. Where as if you believe there is one ideal style ( I prefer the term style to model as I think it is a more accurate discription ) and you know every thing about it, technique comes to a dead end. This type of thinking has been the biggest problem in vaulting for the last 20 years or more.

Re: What is your correct takeoff point?

Posted: Tue Jun 11, 2013 12:50 pm
by IAmTheWalrus

I believe in optimization in the vault and the maximization of energy. I believe that there are biomechanically superior methods for most sport, including the vault, and I believe that the methods used by Bubka were superior to all others used during his time. It is my opinion that there exists (in theory) a sequence of movements which will produce the highest performance possible in the pole vault. It is likely that for each athlete, this differs, but I cannot say by how much. It is clear at least that given the different strengths and weaknesses of vaulters (Height, speed, ability to jump) that pole selection (grip height and stiffness) varies by vaulter. I certainly feel that for each particular jump (let's say that the jump begins as soon as the vaulter leaves the ground for the purposes of this discussion) there is a biomechanically superior method to execute the jump. Depending on the initial conditions of the jump this may vary drastically, and it is this which causes the variations in style between vaulters, and between jumps performed by the same vaulter. A vaulter that is greatly inside cannot, and should not go through the same sequence of movements as one who is "on" or outside. The time in which to complete the swing is shortened by the inside takeoff, the pole is in a vastly different position, the athlete's body is subject to different stresses than a vaulter who takes off from further away.

Despite what I say above, I do not begrudge you or anyone else for thinking that there is, or may be a better method than the petrov/bubka model. I do. I feel that Agapit's 640 model is superior (if you consider them to be different models). It is my opinion, but it is grounded in physics, and more importantly it is a simple model that allows for the athlete to put more emphasis on increasing the transfer of athletic qualities to the vault. I cannot say for sure that this is the best model for sure, but I think that it is the best model available. I think it is excellent to challenge the model, and I have no issue with you or anyone else doing so. I think we need to work to develop vaulters who can hold higher without sacrificing swing speed, and get 1.5m push off (as Agapit has stated numerous times). I don't care what the model is that accomplishes this.

Here is where I do take issue:

Your conclusions are not supported by your analysis. You are taking a sample of 94 vaulters who have jumped 35cm below the WR and comparing them to a sample of 1 vaulter who has jumped the WR, and then you are throwing him out as an outlier. Tell me this, how high would Bubka have had to jump for you to consider his technique superior despite his additional .1m/s? Furthermore, 5.80m, despite being impressive, and a goal beyond reach for myself, is an arbitrary height. What if we chose 5m as the sample. The amount of technical variations that could accommodate a 5m clearance would be numerous and potentially hilarious (I'm sure Lavillenie could find a funny way to clear it). How is examining the technique of a collection of vaulters who jump over 5.80 and calling their technique good going to help anyone clear 6.20m or 6.40m, or at least 6.16m? You are not using the scientific method, and your continued claim is insulting to the scientific community. If you wish to utilize the scientific method to compare pole vault technique, you need to utilize experiments and controls. If you can compare vaulters with nearly identical physical characteristics, then you maybe able to be able to make an informed conclusion, but as it stands your hypothesis should read "Can variations in technique be used to clear 5.80m" and the conclusion would be "yes."

You also said that this thinking has held vaulting back for 20 years? I was under the opposite impression. I think there were more free, or near free takeoffs in the 80s/90s than there are now, and I think the reason is because of lack of stiff poling in high school, but that's a discussion for a different time. I think that what has held the pole vault back for 20 years is having 300 vault coaches with 300 different opinions. I've always gotten the opposite impression, that vaulting peaked during the Bubka, Tully, Gautalin, Tarasov, Markov years, and it has been the obsession with using bigger poles vs. improving the vaulter that has held us back.

It is true that are many ways to vault, and many ways to vault very high, I will not argue that point. Humans are imperfect by nature, and the pole vault is an unforgiving sport. An athlete could hit "perfect" technique over 5.70m, and have the height to clear 6.20, but they don't give out world records for hip height. However as the height increases beyond 6m and 6.10m, and if we ever want to approach 6.40m, a focused approach is necessary. Maybe that technical model doesn't exist yet, and maybe it can only be performed by superior athletes. I don't disagree with you completely, and I'm not sitting here worshiping petrov, I just think that you are jumping to a conclusion. YES: you can vault high without [insert petrov technical element here], but that doesn't mean that those two technical models or styles are equivalent.

Re: What is your correct takeoff point?

Posted: Tue Jun 11, 2013 9:04 pm
by altius
Here we go again – marching backwards into the future?? And still throwing in the old chestnut about Bubka’s superior athletic qualities when he himself as said that his technique was the critical factor in his success and indeed has asked the question – why don’t all serious athletes copy it?

Is it mere coincidence that the top four jumpers in history - Bubka, Hooker, Tarasov and Markov were all coached by Russian coaches? Of course they all had their own personal style –indeed if you understand the nature of techniques in track and field you know that is inevitable - In fact the latter two certainly had technical weaknesses that prevented them from complete mastery of the model and so even getting close to the world record - a topic incidentally that I have discussed one on one with Dima. But whatever - the fact is these four –along with other vaulters along with some elite women - are all using the same technical model – which is based on biomechanics, or as dj would say ‘science’.

To choose 5.80 as the beginning of elite vaulting at this point in time is definitely going backwards – although I understand that it was a very significant performance in the past. Remember that Bubka vaulted 5.80 to win his first world title in 1983 at the age of 20 before clearing 6.00m for the first time two years later - while Tarasov jumped 5.80 as a junior in 1988. So why set the bar so low?? On a personal – and a tad unhappy note - I worked closely enough with Victor Chystiakov to know that had he brought his ‘personal style’ more into line with the Petrov/Bubka model he could have broken the world record. Petrov certainly thought so.

What I have continued to ask of those who believe that every athlete should be allowed to develop their own ‘style’ (technical model) based on their personal characteristics – is – HOW DO YOU DECIDE WHAT THEY ARE DOING EFFICIENTLY –IE. IN LINE WITH BIOMECHANICAL PRINCIPLES - AND WHAT THEY ARE NOT DOING IN LINE WITH THOSE PRINCIPLES? Is a technique acceptable no matter how far it deviates from those principles simply because it ‘suits that athlete”? At what point and on what basis does a coach intervene to improve performance - simply telling them to run faster seems a common option. I have never had an answer to this question.

Nor incidentally have I seen any attempts to show why the Petrov/Bubka technical model is NOT the most efficient model. Then as a teacher by profession and long experience I find it to be completely logical, it is easy for athletes to understand and it is easy for coaches to introduce elements of the model even to young athletes. Come to one of the clinics I hope to lead in California or Texas and you will see what I mean – although it must be said at this point the enrollments in Cal are not proceeding too well. Must be the worry of a foreign language. Fortunately the good folks Minneapolis St Paul are rushing in to get involved – 10 coaches already signed up. Sorry about that but I have been told that it pays to advertise

Re Bubka’s speed into take off. Could it be that -as both he and Petrov believed - that Bubka was faster over the last five metres because of his highly efficient pole carry and especially a planting action that allowed him to continue to accelerate into take off---- not because he had greater natural speed that other athletes.

Borrow a copy on the BTB and take a look at the table prepared by Nikonov and reproduced on page 227 which shows that not only Bubka, but other athletes who used the specific planting action Petrov recommended, all continued to accelerate into take off while other athletes with less efficient planting actions slowed down.. If I may I would quote Petrov – reprinted from page 227 of BTB in which states, “A pole vaulter is born in the last steps if the run up; the ability to perform the concluding part of the run up determines the ability of the vaulter to perform the vault”. Because surprising as it may seem to some, the run and plant are also elements of pole vault technique and as Petrov suggests are crucial to success in the event. Yet even this critical but relatively simple element of technique is ignored by many; it will certainly be ignored if coaches do not understand how important it is and that it must be executed as precisely as possible ----- and so allow their athletes to plant the pole in any manner that ‘feels’ right to them.

Incidentally I realize that I am p-----g into the wind with this for my old gran taught me many years ago that “a man convinced against his will remains of the same opinion still”. But there may be someone out there who sees the sense in what I am saying.

Re: What is your correct takeoff point?

Posted: Wed Jun 12, 2013 2:07 am
by KirkB
altius wrote: Here we go again ...

This is an interesting discussion, and despite debating this every couple of years, there is always fresh ideas and perspectives - such as David's - which I welcome!

I agree that a 5.80 bar is too low, but why not 6.00? I would be very interested in a scientific analysis of what got each member of the 6 meter club over that bar, and what their flaws might have been - even tho they cleared that bar.

I'm a big believer in the Principles of Physics, and that's why I'm such a strong proponent of the Petrov Model (even before Petrov)!

But if someone can explain the scientific merits of some other model (the American Model?), then I'm all ears.

May the best model win!!!

altius wrote: Re Bubka’s speed into take off. Could it be that ... Bubka was faster over the last five metres because of his highly efficient pole carry and especially a planting action that allowed him to continue to accelerate into take off---- not because he had greater natural speed that other athletes.

... “A pole vaulter is born in the last steps if the run up; the ability to perform the concluding part of the run up determines the ability of the vaulter to perform the vault”. ... the run and plant are also elements of pole vault technique and as Petrov suggests are crucial to success in the event. ...

I absolutely believe that Bubka's last few strides were better than almost anyone else's. And the only reason I say "almost" is that I haven't studied every single elite vaulter's last few strides.

I have always asserted that it doesn't matter how fast you run - it just matters how fast you run in the last few strides! Think about that for a moment!

As slow as I was down the runway (11.4s for 100m), I honestly believe that my takeoff speed was almost as fast as some 9.0+ m/s vaulters. And add to the speed of the last few strides the force by which you JUMP off the runway at takeoff!

This technique is key to the Petrov Model, and key to jumping high (even without much sprinting ability). Why? Because it's the efficient application of PHYSICS! :idea:

... Bubka was faster over the last five metres because of his highly efficient pole carry and especially a planting action that allowed him to continue to accelerate into take off ...

I must say tho, that even between Agapit and Altius, there's disagreement in whether or not you can actually accelerate into the takeoff. I remember Agapit telling me that accelerating into takeoff was a pipe dream. I could dig up that thread if pressed - it was about 6 years ago. Again, I think a scientific analysis (real measurements with scientific instruments - not just theories or opinions) of this would prove the true physics of acceleration/deceleration on takeoff. :idea:


Re: What is your correct takeoff point?

Posted: Wed Jun 12, 2013 5:10 am
by IAmTheWalrus
Can we agree that just watching videos does not count as scientific analysis? You need some data as well, and in all honesty, you need to be able to control for some variables as well.