polevaulter08nw wrote: ... Three, how narrow are you talking about Kirk? Would there not come a point where it is too narrow? Bubka being pretty much the greatest technician and clearly following the Petrov model, did not have a super narrow grip, in fact his grip became wider as he grew older. ...
To me, the grip width wasn't a factor during the downswing part of my vault. There, I just used the bottom arm for balance.
It IS a factor ... (a) during the carry (narrower is more difficult) ... and (b) during the plant (a bit narrower is a bit easier) ... and (c) during the upswing (narrower gets you a little higher).
I think shoulder width should be the absolute widest, but slightly narrower than that is probably more ideal ... if you can handle the pole carry during the run ... which can only be done with a high carry.
I don't know Bubka's rationale for his grip width. I just know that if the bottom arm is too low then it interferes with the optimal plant and the optimal upswing.
To better understand these 2 vault parts, imagine the "balance" of work done by the top arm and the bottom arm if your grip is extremely wide. I think it would negatively affect you plant (reaching too far forward and not far enough up) ... and your release after the upswing (you would have to rely much more on only your top arm, else you're releasing from a point where your CoM is lower than it could be with a narrower grip).
Now imagine the "balance" of work done by the top and bottom arms if your grip is extremely narrow. There comes a point where even with a "weightless" pole carry, the run and plant become too problematic.
I think the exact width will vary according to each athlete's strength and what they're comfortable with. I don't think you need to copy Bubka's EXACT width (in proportion to his height). I should also mention that all of my vaulting was done on 1970s-era poles, which were significantly heavier than today's poles. With modern poles, I'm quite sure that I would have NARROWED my grip even more ... which would have benefitted my plant and the upswing (especially the release). This admittedly makes my opinion about grip width rather extreme, so if you're looking for the "average" grip width, then take my opinion with a grain of salt.