Lavillenie vs Bubka

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Wan
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Re: Lavillenie vs Bubka

Unread postby Wan » Sun Feb 16, 2014 7:29 am

I'm not a coach in pole vault and I'm not an expert in athletics techniques. But I'm a passionate for that discipline since 1981 with the first WR of Vigneron (Mâcon, France, 5.80 m).
Since that date, I have seen hundreds of competitions as a spectator, from local ones (f.e. at Nantes 4 weeks ago) to international ones (as in Paris for the World Championships, 2003) and on TV of course. So I have seen thousands of jumps and hundreds of jumpers, like many ones on this message board.
Now that Lavillenie made it, I can go shameless further here in my analisys of his technique and its evolution, even if I'm not a coach. Hope you let me say some words...
I think what we're aiming for in debating something is not to force the others agreeing your personnal ideas, but to show them that you're understanding what they are saying, and so to be recognized by them to be able to give some arguments back. The intermingling of ideas should drive to a best understanding of what we debate, not to a competition. It does not have to be a winner, but just a personnal improvement for every one... hopefully.
But it's just a personnal point of view, please don't blame me. ;)

To go back to Lavillenie's technique... just to share my experience in watching Lavillenie competiting for 6 years now.
I follow him since 2008, and when he made 6.01 at Leiria in 2009, I didn't understand how he could do this with a so poor technique (compared with other elite's vaulters of course...). Was it a single miraculous jump ? Of course not, because he made 5.96 a week ago... So, some specific components in his jumps should be the source of the performance.
It wasn't the run-up, though it was already pretty fast. It wasn't the takeoff, very far from a free one, even quite the opposite at this time. But in the first part of the takeoff, just after his foot quit the ground, was unique. Never saw that before. He transformed himself into a sort of "compact ball" during the bend of the pole, driving through it, and then extanded his body with two legs at the same time, then being like ejected by the pole over the bar. A real tuck/shooter, even a caricature of it... miles away from Petrov model. So it was unique, and made me think he found something.
But we had to wait almost two years to confirm that this technique was perhaps a good way for him, even if specialists were sceptic yet at this time.
So what happenned since ?
He had to improve. So what did he ? In 2012, a unique goal... OG. Because he was yet the best in the world at this time, he did'nt change a lot of things, just concentrated on his aim. But maybe, if you look at his jumps at this time, you will note a small evolution in his run-up and in his...
... takeoff ! And that's when Petrov's model is back. He slowly got closer to a free takeoff ! And his run-ups were very much more cadenced, and shoulders very high before plant. But he really stayed a pure tuck/shooter...
What did then d'Encausse when Lavillenie came to train with him ? He changed the training, yes, to make him more powerfull, but technically he just emphisized those two points :
- A P/B model during the first part : cadenced run-up, high shoulders, up to the plant, and free take-off (now Lavillenie becomes a model of it if you watch him in details)
- A tuck/shooter model during the second part, with grouping, forcing the pole to bend in waiting to lift up, then an explosion in extanding... he only have to be in the same timing with the natural coiling of the pole.
A last difference with the P/B model during the run-up : the lower of the pole. P/B model says a controlled lowering during all the run-up (pole almost vertical at the start and progressivly lowered, up to the plant). Lavillenie starts with an already leaning pole, runs almost with the same angle and lowers his pole at the last moment (during his last 4 steps)... may be to anticipate the tuck/shooter style he will have to apply.

Results ?
Relating to current performances... now equivalence between Bubka and Lavillenie to me, just waiting Lavillenie to jump over 6.00 m as often as Bubka did.
Relating to efficiency of the style... both came up at the top efficiency with their own.
Relating to the "look" of the style... a pure and smooth rythmed gesture for Bubka who looked effortless in jumping at those big heights... and an incredible gesture for Lavillenie wich makes his jumps very spectacular, asking what makes him succeeding in jumping those big heights.
But don't forget, for both, fondamentals of pole vault are purely respected (Lavillenie didn't yesterday at 6.21 and got hurt...)

So, that was my words about Lavillenie's style, its evolution and comparaison with Bubka's. I'll be very happy to read your comments, and remember, I'm not a specialist and I don't either want to oblige anyone here to agree all the parts of my analysis. However, I would be happy to find opposite opinions : I'll read them, trying to understand them and hoping they bring me more knowledge about this enthralling discipline (also improving my english if I can... ;))
Last edited by Wan on Sun Feb 16, 2014 3:41 pm, edited 17 times in total.

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Re: Lavillenie vs Bubka

Unread postby dj » Sun Feb 16, 2014 9:15 am

Wan... You have said what needs to be said...

Form follows Function....

You Run, you plant and you Swing.... Create the most "force" through each phase.. With the right grip and right pole and you have a great chance to PR or even set a world record..

My greatest respect goes to RL (and his support)

this mark can be compared to Powell breaking Beamans' LJ record.. Who was the better jumper?

No need to even ask.

Same here..

Dj

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Re: Lavillenie vs Bubka

Unread postby vaulterpunk » Sun Feb 16, 2014 11:54 am

altius wrote:Had to happen - great jumping -but let the dust settle before you start claiming his technique is superior to SB. Just a thought - and spare one also for Petrov. He was always encouraging Sergey to go higher when he had the chance but as Sergei said the money was too tempting. He had to look after his family's future and so did not take his chances when he had them. Always a sore point with Petrov who was only ever interested in Olympic/ world golds and the world record.

I know Bubbys last WC jump will be discounted, but I will believe Lavelenie has something better to offer from a technical perspective when I see him clear a 6.00m bar by 40 cm!


Hahahaha hahahaha. Lavelenie has made the highest bar ever. This is the goal in pole vault and high jump. No one should care how high over it you were. They don't document this as heavily in HJ. If Bubka chose to jump 1-5cm at a time breaking his record for the money that is something he will have to live with, as now he is second best.

Also Renaud is subject to better drug testing
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Wan
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Re: Lavillenie vs Bubka

Unread postby Wan » Sun Feb 16, 2014 12:32 pm

vaulterpunk wrote:Also Renaud is subject to better drug testing

He always is (thank goodness !)... and asks for it sometimes when it doesn't come quick enough...
His last 6.04 m performance is not recorded due to a lack of administrative efficiency with drug test, though Renaud asked for it !
Besides, Renaud is particulary concerned with the past potential of Bubka. He knows that Bubka could have jump maybe 6.25 m. For that reason he won't do as Bubka did (with 100.000 dollars for every WR) because he isn't in the same conditions. He just wants to go higher and knows he's not a legend yet. He doesn't want to stop as a "simple Powell" just beating a WR as achievement... in my mind.
Now, just waiting for the issues of his bad jump at 6.21 m (talking about such attempt at this height still remains an abstract thing to me... but it's real)... Renaud is interviewed here in France in just an hour. Will tell you. World indoor championships or not ?

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Re: Lavillenie vs Bubka

Unread postby david bussabarger » Sun Feb 16, 2014 1:58 pm

Kirk,
Giving you the benifit of the doubt, even scientists often disagree about their theories. For instance In the 1980 ed of the M. of the PV Ganslen sights a study which concluded that taking off under INCREASED TAKEOFF VELOCITY ( see page 21 ). I do not put much stock in these studies because there may be other factors which are more important than takeoff velocity determining the effectiveness of the takeoff. And yes I have good reason to believe that there are possible advantages to taking off under which I will go into in my upcoming post.
From my point of view I am not only fighting against the claim that the B/P model is ideal but also the attitude behind it. So I feel it necessary to confront that attitude as well as the theory. The difference between me and you ( and other B/P advocates ) is, to use a religious metaphor, you are a monotheist and I am a polytheist. Like monotheists you have no doubt that your view is the one and only correct one and all others are false. As I've said before, certainty is an anti-scientific attitude. My ideas on the other hand, have always been evolving throughout my many years of involvement in the vault and continue to do so to this day, because I'm always willing to doubt and change my own ideas.
Sometime back you wrote me that you believed that your college technique, which was inspired by Jon Vaughn, was near optimum. Later, when you encountered the B/P model it dovetailed nicely with your thinking. In effect you have been thinking along the same single minded lines about vault technique for decades. In addition you have been surrounded by like a circle of like minded thinkers on PVP your years ( exact amount of time just a guess ) which undoubtably reinforced your thinking even further. In my view the result is you have inculcated your thinking to the point that you see everything through the prism of the B/P model ( something like always seeing the world through tinted glass ).

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Re: Lavillenie vs Bubka

Unread postby david bussabarger » Sun Feb 16, 2014 2:46 pm

Further thoughts:
For many years I also become conivinced that the vaulter should takeoff out and use a free-takeoff. Then several years ago out of curiosity I happened to start examining the takeoff points of dozens of elite vaulters I have on video. To my suprise the great majority of them took off under ( anywhere from a 6" to 18" measuring from the toe of the takeoff foot ) and therefore did not employ a free takeoff. Even Bubka only successfully exexcuted a free takeoff about 50% of the time.
A definition of the scientific method is: A method of research in which a problem is identified, relevant data is gathered. A hypothesis is formulated from the data and then is tested empirically. In otherwords the validity of all scientific theories is based on the support of emprical evidence. When it it comes to the takeoff, empirical evidence ( real world observational evidence ) does not support the free-takeoff theory. This is a very big problem with the B/P model in general. That is there is very little observational evidence to support it.

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Re: Lavillenie vs Bubka

Unread postby Tim McMichael » Sun Feb 16, 2014 3:18 pm

The free takeoff is, to my mind, non-negotiable at this point. It's just flat out better than being under. But I'm far from certain a double leg tuck doesn't put enough energy into the vault to be a valid technique. Lavellenie seems to be bearing this out. I know Alan is not fond of the, "more than one way to skin a cat" trope. But perhaps it's valid if the cat is skinned equally well. Regardless, I think it is not accurate to say that we have a world record with a radically different technique from that which Bubka used. The free takeoff IS the Petrov model. Or at least the most important part of it. What Lavellenie is doing after that is what is different. Bubka created power by swinging his trail leg. Lavillenie creates power by dropping his lead knee and thereby lowering his center of mass while he is swinging. Then he has to tuck because increasing the distance between his hands and his center of mass slows his rotation. Both swinging and dropping the lead leg add energy to the bottom of the vault. The question is which one does more. Or perhaps they are equal. How could this be measured?

One more note on the Petrov model as it applies to Lavillenie's vault. Petrov's fundamental insight was that fiberglass vaulting and steel pole vaulting are essentially the same thing, that it was a mistake to assume that the flexible pole required a different technique. The fact that it was both easier (in terms of execution) and possible (for a couple of decades) to jump a world record with a fiberglass pole while taking off under held the sport back. This is something that caused the great vaulters of the former era to look on the early pioneers with fiberglass with a measure of contempt. The attitude of men like Richards and Warmerdam was that the fiberlass vaulters may have been jumping higher, but they were not better pole vaulters. It is a historical fact that every successful vaulter of the stiff pole era employed the equivalent of a free takeoff and almost none of the fiberglass vaulters prior to Bubka did so. (I little known historical footnote: this may have all changed if Casey Carrigan had not gotten hurt.) I would like to add to this discussion the observation that all the greatest vauters of the stiff pole area also used a double leg swing. So perhaps Lavillenie is a continuation of Petrov's revolution, not a contradiction of it.

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Re: Lavillenie vs Bubka

Unread postby botakatobi » Sun Feb 16, 2014 9:54 pm

A significant number (if not most) of the elite wood/steel/early glass vaulters from 1900 to early 1960's held both their arms very bent during the plant and takeoff. Although the concept "free take-off" was thought of by both Jim Graham and John Uelses, I cannot find any film of pictures of them employing this technique.

Specifically which elite vaulters of this era used the free take-off?

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Re: Lavillenie vs Bubka

Unread postby KirkB » Sun Feb 16, 2014 11:11 pm

vaulterpunk wrote: Also Renaud is subject to better drug testing

I really detest what amounts to false accusations against Bubka re drug tests for Performance Enhancing Drugs. Drug testing was in place when he set his WRs, and he passed all tests. There was never any controversy or suspicions of PEDs back then (none that had any substance). End of story. It is unfair to his legacy to falsely accuse him of something that is entirely unproven. Just because he vaulted higher than anyone else (until yesterday)? Gimme a break!

While I'm ranting about this, I also think it's totally unfair for Steve Smith's 5 WRs in 1974-75 to have an asterisk after them, unrecognized as an OFFICIAL WR because he was a so-called professional. Gimme a break!

Wan wrote: Renaud is particulary concerned with the past potential of Bubka. He knows that Bubka could have jumped maybe 6.25 m. For that reason he won't do as Bubka did (with 100.000 dollars for every WR) because he isn't in the same conditions.

In the US and Canada, we use a comma instead of a period to separate the thousands. Thus, Bubka made $100,000 for each WR.

Does that make him a professional or an amateur? I don't see any asterisks after his WRs! But I'm fine with this. I don't think any fiberglass vaulters should have any asterisks after their WRs!

I wonder how much Smith made for each of his WRs? I'm guessing a very small fraction of what Bubka made.

I'm 100% happy for Bubka to have made a good living from his sport, just as elite athletes make in other professional sports. And I'm 100% happy that Smith made some money by pole vaulting.

I'm just not happy about Smith being unrecognized for his WRs in the "official" listings because of his pro status (e.g. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Men's_pole_vault_indoor_world_record_progression), and I don't like false accusations of PEDs when there is no basis for them. It just sounds like sour grapes.

Kirk
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Re: Lavillenie vs Bubka

Unread postby KirkB » Sun Feb 16, 2014 11:40 pm

david bussabarger wrote:Kirk,
Giving you the benifit of the doubt, even scientists often disagree about their theories.

Thanks David. Cheers! :yes:

david bussabarger wrote: For instance In the 1980 ed of the M. of the PV Ganslen sights a study which concluded that taking off under INCREASED TAKEOFF VELOCITY ( see page 21 ). I do not put much stock in these studies because there may be other factors which are more important than takeoff velocity determining the effectiveness of the takeoff.

Me neither, but for different reasons. I don't have that version of the book, but it sounds like bunk to me. But I would be willing to read the paper (the study that Ganslen quoted) and make a more scientific decision on whether it's bunk or not. On the surface, it sounds like bunk simply because it is contrary to what we all know today (if we buy PVStudent's 18 posts on the topic).

david bussabarger wrote: And yes I have good reason to believe that there are possible advantages to taking off under which I will go into in my upcoming post.

As previously stated, I'm waiting patiently and willing to keep an open mind to these possible advantages. I am not the monotheist that you think I am.

david bussabarger wrote: Sometime back you wrote me that you believed that your college technique, which was inspired by Jon Vaughn, was near optimum. Later, when you encountered the B/P model it dovetailed nicely with your thinking.

This is all true - optimum in comparison with other vaulters at the time, with the exception of my runup, and with the caveat that I still had much more to learn (my career as an elite vaulter was only 2 years old when I retired due to injury). And as I already mentioned, some of what I learned was thru the school of hard knocks. I was a terrible sprinter, but I (partially) made up for it in my takeoff technique.

david bussabarger wrote: In effect you have been thinking along the same single minded lines about vault technique for decades. In addition you have been surrounded by like a circle of like minded thinkers on PVP ... which undoubtably reinforced your thinking even further ...

This is where you're totally off base. It may surprise you to know that I was totally unconnected to PV in the 1980s and 1990s and up until about 2005 when Brad Walker cleared 5.80. Since he was from my alma mater, I became reconnected to PV by a chance encounter with his coach Pat Licari. So my recent knowledge of Bubka's technique was only acquired in the past 10 years. I had no clue prior to then what technique he was using. I only saw from newspaper headlines that he was breaking the WR quite often!

It was only in about 2005 when I read Agapit's superlative paper re Continuous Chain of Motion Theory. It was there that I recognized some flaws that I had in my technique. But I have not been swayed by all the (unscientific) banter over the past decade. ;)

It may also surprise you to know that my premise (now a decade old) has always been related to my perceived INEFFICIENCIES of the bottom arm press (to bend the pole), the LACK of a free takeoff, and the tuck/shoot technique, rather than my perceived EFFICIENCIES of the Petrov Model. Now that Lavillenie has broken the WR with clearly a tuck/shoot, I need to take a second look at this. I will be interested to hear what you think he's doing with his bottom arm, and if he's under or not (and by intent or not). I assume that you think Otto is under by intent?

I only alter my technical theories in the face of facts or scientific evidence!

Now enough about your bias towards me. I'm not going to comment on it any more, as it's taking time away from you writing your technical analysis. Let's have it!

Kirk
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Re: Lavillenie vs Bubka

Unread postby Tim McMichael » Mon Feb 17, 2014 5:11 am

botakatobi wrote:A significant number (if not most) of the elite wood/steel/early glass vaulters from 1900 to early 1960's held both their arms very bent during the plant and takeoff. Although the concept "free take-off" was thought of by both Jim Graham and John Uelses, I cannot find any film of pictures of them employing this technique.

Specifically which elite vaulters of this era used the free take-off?


I would say all of them. But that's with the understanding that a free takeoff means the pole and the vaulter are both rising up at the takeoff with no attempt to make the pole bend. It appears to me that the stiff pole vaulters had their arms bent when the pole hit the back of the box and then straightened them as they left the ground. But the fundamental action is still one of rising up onto the pole, not running through it.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LKfdIDdt67Q

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Re: Lavillenie vs Bubka

Unread postby botakatobi » Mon Feb 17, 2014 10:23 am

You are correct that early vaulters did not try to bend the pole. Their focus was to swing very quickly and forcefully at a higher angle then todays vaulters.

Any bend their got from their wood, steel or glass poles was the result of their speed, grip height and pole rating. Yes, Gill rated poles from the early 1930's with the goal of pairing the correct size pole to the vaulter.

Coaches and vaulter did realize the whipping benefit of a flexible pole early on.

I think of a free take off as the vaulter being high on his or her toes while leaving the ground and pole tip hitting the planting box. Clearly this was not the goal or achieved by early vaulters.


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