Pole Vault: Reaching New Heights

Imagine flinging your whole body into the air and not having control of it.

One of the hardest events on the Woodland’s Track and Field Team is pole vault. When entered in a pole vault event, a competitor spirits with the pole, puts the pole into the pit while using upper body and core strength to get himself or herself over the bar and to land onto the mat safely.

For some, it is difficult to give up the control required to complete this event successfully.

“My first time pole vaulting I had to get mentally and physically prepare,” says sophomore student athlete Alex Cianciolo.

According to iaaf.com, Pole Vaulting started in the 16th century in Ancient Greece. In the 1850s pole vaulting was embraced by gymnastic association in Germany and in Lake District region of England. As the times have changed so has the pole used in Pole Vaulting. The first pole vaulting pole was made out of bamboo in 1857. After that, the optimum pole vaulters started to use steel poles in the 1940s. Flexible fibreglass and carbon fibre poles were the usual poles in the late 1950s.

Cianciolo said, “The pole is not the actual weight. There is a pole made for your weight and you get weighed in at the begin of the season.The higher you hold the pole the heavier it is.”

The pole is different for everyone, it depends on the highs you clear. For example if you have a 9 foot pole, you wouldn’t have a good chance clearing a 9 foot stander bar height. But if you have a 10 foot pole, you would have a better chance of clearing a 9 foot stander bar height.

“The hardest thing about pole vaulting is the form and clearing a height. You  are basically using a pole to flip your body upside down, go over the stander bar and land on the mat safely, ”said  Cianciolo.

When you run up to attempt to clear a height, you must have a mark. From the pit, a teammate or coach will count 5 steps on your dominate foot while sprinting and holding the pole to your side. Depending on what foot you leave the ground while, depends on what side you hold the pole. For example, if you leave the ground with your right foot you would hold the pole on your left side. From this place that is now “marked” you will have proper steep count to go off of when you put your pole in the pit and leave the ground. After you put your pole in the pit you jump off the ground while using core and arm strength. When you get your body in the air you then thrust your hip up, killing your legs over the stander bar and land on the mat safely.

Emilie Noreika, sophomore student athlete at Woodland also explains the proper way to complete this event.

“For drills we would hold the pole doing A step which is doing strong skips where your foot hits the ground having your at a 90 degree bend and but you don’t jump as much as a regular skip. B step is like A step but you extend your legs after you bring it up to 90 degrees,” said Noreika. C step is a skip also but bring your knee/leg  to the side. We also do high knees and dead legs. Dead legs are you only run with one foot.”

With the proper form, attitude, motivation, attitude, physical and mental strength, pole vaulting could be the most rewarding event on the Woodland Track and Field team.