I really think some of the safety issues that exist now are from over-coaching these young vaulters. I was away from vaulting for some time and when I got back involved, there are indoor facilities and private coaches. Kids travel all over to get information about what seems to be mainly technique based. I listen to them tell there athletes technical, biomechanical type info during a competition and it looks like to me that type of info puts the vaulter in a mind set that negates where he or she actually is during the jump. They are thinking about a biomechanical manuvers and not about where they are in relation to the bar; compounded by being on competition poles at a competition grip, trouble can occur especially in eratic conditions.
All of us that used to jump at a high level, knew pretty much exactly where we were during the jump. Our coaches, those of us who had one, just helped us with step, mid, pole selection, and standards. Technique was analyzed and manipulated in practice sessions and competitions were mainly for letting the jump happen the way it was practiced. In competitions the best advise I can give a vaulter is run tall, plant early and leave the bar on the standards. We will talk about technique in practice. Heck, a bunch of us used to jump 16'+ in high school and all we knew was mainly run good, plant hard, and go get the bar; with no coach, just a Don Hood video committed to memory.
Maybe it is just me, but the kids I watch today are like drug addicts for information about their jump, but I guess that is what makes it profitable. I really think as a coach I can do more for a vaulter by developing the athlete with training than honing a perfect technique with no power. We have all seen vaulters jump really high with completely different types of skills, but the common factor was usually they were trained physically to a high level and most of the time thoses athletes develop more confidence which enhances pole speed and creates a safer vault in my opinion, but there again I have been out of the mainstream for quite a while.