Here we go again...hey, at least PVP isn't boring anymore, right Altius?!
Let me start by saying that I don't pretend to know everything about pv. I am still learning all the time, and I hope that never ends, because it is what keeps me interested in the sport! I thought I had it all figured out when I was 19 and jumped my PR (even though I took off a foot under, blocked, and tucked). I quit college after one year and didn't vault again until a few years ago, after 12 years off. When I started vaulting again, I found that there was a great deal more information available about the event than when I was younger, thanks to the internet (and this website). Of course I bought Alan's book and memorized it. I also talked with the many great coaches here in Oregon, some of whom have forgotten more about the vault than most will ever know. As I have begun vaulting again, I have tried different techniques, and my form has changed a lot from what it once was.
I am lucky enough to vault with Scott twice a week, and although our techniques are very different, we share a passion for vaulting and helping young vaulters. The only area regarding technique in which we have a small disagreement is the bottom arm, and it is a friendly disagreement! I am jumping into this discussion with the hopes that we can keep it that way! I look at these discussions as a path to learning, not arguments, so everybody keep that in mind. In all fairness Scott is just learning how to swing...he will improve a lot as he learns the movement better on his new rings. The kid is the only person I've ever known more obsessed with PV than I am! I can guarantee you that no matter what technique he uses, he will jump very high in the future!
Having said all this, I lean strongly toward what Alan and superpipe are saying. After all my research and trial/error, I believe that the bottom arm should be extended as far as possible above the head at the plant as the hands are punched upward (the level of extension varies depending on grip height/pole angle), then it will bend during the drive (elbow out, hands back & up, shoulders relax), then extend again as the swing is snapped through the chord and the shoulders "re-engage". I believe that if you are rigid with the bottom arm during the drive, you will end up having to pull with it during the swing, and you are also much more likely to tuck to catch up to the recoil. Instead, if you get a little more elastic, you can "press it back out," keep pressure on the top hand, and keep the hips moving upward fluidly. This is what I see in Hooker's vaulting, and it helps dramatically with covering the pole! Watch Petrov's speech where he is analyzing the various vaulters during the drive phase!
Just for comparison's sake I am putting a video of my own jumps from Monday's practice here, which my friend Scott was kind enough to put together for me. We film each other each practice and work together coaching kids, so proving that both sides of the viscious "bottom arm debate" can coexist! I agree that there is more than one way to vault, but I am always striving to learn the best way. Gravity dictates that my technique be efficient when I vault on poles below my weight!
I never anticipated posting any videos of my own vaulting on this website, but because my technique is so different from Scott's, perhaps it applies to this discussion. Keep in mind the following before commenting:
1. I weigh 195 lbs. The pole I am jumping on from 5 lefts from 65'6" is a 14'3 185, gripping 13'3.
2. This was my first practice this year jumping successfully from 5 lefts...confidence is still an issue
3. I have a few more years of training the swing than Scott does!
4. I have 3 kids (you can see them in the video!), a job, and am a full time student at the university of Oregon (GO DUCKS!) as well as coaching. This means that I am not able to train as much as I would like (fat, slow, etc.) I am not a great athlete at this point. But I can still jump well enough to enjoy it! http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HszLAAglSOY
Ok, lets keep it friendly. Just hoping for some engaging discussion. Scott, thanks again for the video, that camera is bad-a#$