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A proven step-by-step approach to learn and teach the pole vault – so you can progress safely with solid technique.
Everything you need to learn proper vaulting technique. From essential mechanics and progressive drills to deep insight from one of the country’s top vaulting coaches.
Experience a smarter way to learn. Lessons designed to rapidly convert your knowledge into increased performance. Learn more
Coach Kevin Brown reveals his proven approach to guiding athletes that have never held a pole to safely taking vaults and clearing bars. You’ll learn the principles and mechanics that make up the foundation of elite vaulting. The technical elements and skills taught in the course are the same ones used by world class vaulters and propelled Coach Brown to two Olympic trials and an 18’- 6’ personal best. If an athlete’s technical foundation is strong, the higher bars will naturally come with greater speed and higher grips.
Of all the events in track and field, the pole vault takes the crown for the most intimidating.The prerequisites commonly thrown around for an athlete to become a vaulter can seem daunting. They need the speed of a sprinter, the upper body strength of a thrower, the jumping ability and coordination of a high jumper and tremendous amounts of courage. And that’s before you get into the technical elements of the vault.
While there is some truth to the physical and mental aspects of the sport, it’s actually not as difficult as it appears. By utilizing a proven progression of skill development, an athlete can learn the critical elements of the vault step by step at their own pace. The system that coach Brown has developed ensures an optimal progression to vaulting that is safe and highly effective. Each phase of the vault is broken down in easy to understand detail with specific drills that reinforce the technique. You’ll learn the key technical elements that an athlete must demonstrate prior to moving on to the next phase.
Whether you are new to pole vaulting or have a few years of experience and are looking for an optimal progression to learning and teaching the vault – this course will provide you with the technique and drills that are at the core of great pole vaulting technique.
The track and field wisdom Kevin Brown carries is built from a lifetime of experience in the sport. A pole vault All-American, Olympic trials qualifier and Atlantic Coast Conference scorer in five different events, his knowledge is rooted in direct training, struggle and performance.
After concluding his own athletic pursuits as the most decorated vaulter in school history at the University of North Carolina, Brown began his coaching career in 1995 at his alma mater. Through his personal athletic training and working with literally thousands of athletes in his career, he has developed a coaching system that has resulted in numerous SEC Championships, All-American honors, NCAA champions and record holders. Brown is currently an Assistant Track and Field Coach at the University of South Carolina where he coaches pole vault, relays, sprints and hurdles.
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Coach Brown shares what a great vault feels like and the sensations he experienced as a vaulter. He also dispels some of the myths about pole vaulting and breaks down the mechanics into their simplest form.
Coach Brown goes over the premise of the pole vault and covers overarching principles that are at the core of successful vaulting.
Technical elements include: Establishing a proper grip, dropping the pole and introduction to proper hand movement.
Plant mechanics are at the core of pole-vaulting technique. The technical elements of the plant are the same whether you are a beginner or a world-class vaulter. This chapter covers each of the 3 phases of the plant and drills to begin developing proper technique.
Plant mechanics occur in the last three steps of the approach. The first step is curling your hand up to your ear to put you in an open position. Then you press your hands up to move the pole to the vertical position and then you jump off the ground. In this chapter Coach Brown reiterates plant and swing initiation mechanics.
Coach Brown has seen many vaulters take off from the wrong leg. Learn how to determine which leg a vaulter should take off from and why using the incorrect leg can cause several technical issues in the vault.
Now that we’ve gone through the three-step plant mechanics – curl, press and jump, we’ll progress that into running and jumping. As always, the most important focus is moving the top end of the pole to the vertical position. Coach Brown shares some helpful drills to begin this progression.
In order to effectively coach the pole vault you need to understand what’s occurring throughout the vault. In this lesson Coach Brown discusses the similarities of coaching the pole vault and coaching the long jump.
In the second phase of progressing plant mechanics, we’ll move to the long jump pit. The premise is always the same – to move the top end of the pole to vertical. In this chapter, Coach Brown shares drills that work anticipation of take off, jumping off the ground and pole movement.
The pole vault can be dangerous if the athlete progresses before they are ready. A common error is moving the grip height up before a vaulter is prepared – this creates safety issues. Moving the pole to the vertical position and moving into the pit safely are required before progressing to a higher grip or longer approach. Coach Brown shares his philosophy on this and how to safely get vaulters to a longer approach and higher grip.
And now the fun part! This chapter covers the next progression in learning the vault, which is actually taking vaults. Building on the drills, progression and technique from the previous chapters, in this lesson, you’ll learn how to apply what you’ve learned to start vaulting into the pit.
Now that you’ve learned how to progress to taking vaults, Coach Brown teaches you how to dial-in your approach so your takeoff is in the right position on the runway. As the grip is raised, you move back on the runway. In this chapter, you’ll learn the right way to adjust as you progress and the technique to look for as you do so.
All the previous drills and progressions have led to the top end of the pole moving to the vertical position, getting in the right position and the right step for the take off. Now you’re ready to initiate the swing. Coach Brown covers how to begin this phase, queues to use to ensure correct technique and common errors in the swing phase.
The drop step, when the pole begins to drop down in the approach, may be different based on each vaulter. This is determined based on grip height, length of the pole, stride length and speed of the vaulter. Coach Brown shares how this is determined and provides examples of drop step number for vaulters he has worked with.
In this chapter, Coach Brown goes into further detail on approach technique. The tip of the pole should start high and stay high until you reach the drop point. He reiterates how this drop point is determined and how to ensure you have a consistent approach even in competition, where you may run harder or faster.
After plant mechanics, takeoff and swing have been developed you’ll progress to raising the grip and begin to focus on dropping the pole at the right moment. In this chapter, Coach Brown explains how to identify the step at which the pole should drop.
Coordination and posture are vital to a successful vault. In order to execute the fundamentals of pole vault, you must understand the correct movement and coordination of your arms and legs as you run your approach. Timing and position of your arms and legs as well as an upright, tall posture lead to more effective vaulting. In this chapter, Coach Brown discusses the important elements of coordination and posture, drills to achieve correct technique and common errors to watch for. He also shares wisdom on maximum controllable speed and how to achieve this.
The pole vault requires constant movement and work throughout the vault – you can’t just plant the pole and ride it over the bar. In this chapter, Coach Brown shares some the most helpful queues he uses throughout the vault to help focus on the technique of each phase. These queues should be adapted to fit how each athlete understands the concepts of vaulting. Communicating and teaching the mechanics in the way that connects with an athlete determines the usefulness of the queue.
Additionally, Coach Brown discusses the universal versus the individual elements of technique.
Coach Brown discusses pole-vaulting studies that examine the determining factors that influence height. Other topics in this chapter include the importance of developing spatial awareness and drills he uses to help vaulters get comfortable being upside down.
Coach Brown shares the advice he would give himself if he could travel back in time and speak to his high school self.
He also gives general advice for beginning vaulters and what makes the pole-vaulting community so unique.