Coach Rick Suhr has quickly become one of the world’s top pole vault coaches, coaching his wife Jenn Suhr to Olympic Silver in 2008 and Olympic Gold in 2012. Jenn has been ranked #1 in the World for the last two years and the #1 American pole vaulter since 2006. She holds the American women’s pole vault records both indoors and outdoors, and is the current world indoor record holder at 5.02m.
In this week’s edition of All Access we take you to the campus of Texas A&M for a in-depth look into The Aggies Pole Vault Program. Coach Jim VanHootegem and Assistant jumps coach Mike Bina take you through drills & progressions that help make their vaulters some of the best in the country. From their beginning multi jump series, sprint mechanics with the pole, pole plant progression, and specific pole vault strength training with a clear progression will be given to aid even the most advanced pole vaulter.
Multi Jump Progression with stubby:
The progression is started with a single leg bound, and progresses to a double-double. From here the bounding sequence is done both medially and laterally. This series of multi jumps helps the vaulter work the shoulders as well as the legs.
Tips: While doing this progression let the ground come to you. If done correctly the shoulders should counter the hip movement. The movement should be harmonious from the hips to the ankle, and continuously maintaining tall posture.
Sprint Mechanics with Pole:
The progression begins with jogging in place, and progressively adding more speed to the motion. From there a slow jog down the runway can be utilized still focusing on the cues given in the earlier progression. Once this progression is mastered the lowering and plant of the pole can be added, and can eventually lead to the build up with the pole.
Tips: The movement of the knees and hips must act as one unit. As the athlete jogs in place they should focus on relaxing their shoulders, and pushing their hips up. When completing the buildups the cues from earlier in the progression must still be emphasized.
In this crucial portion of the vault the correct timing of the plant timing is everything. Working from the “Shift-Lift-Push” or as it’s commonly known as the curl to press this progression helps the vaulter get into the proper position. From here walking plant drills from a 5 step thru 9 step is demonstrated, and transitions the vaulter into a jogging progression utilizing the same step pattern. Next the wall plants come into play where the pole bend can be utilized while working on the plant fundamentals.
Tips: When setting your plant keep your top hand above your toes. A visual cue to begin the pole plant is when the pole is at eye level.
Specific Strength Training for the Pole Vault:
The strength training begins with static Bubka’s, and progresses to swing Bubkas which are all preformed from a high bar or raised squat rack. From there you progress to L-ups, V-Ups, J-Ups, Wipers, and Muscle ups which are all performed on a high bar.
Tips: For the Bubka’s keep feet above the bar, and roll the shoulders back while extending your hips towards the bar. For the wipers keep your feet above the bar with the hips above the shoulders.
See additional clips on the product page of “Texas A&M Track & Field Series – Drills and Progressions for Championship Pole Vault.” Check out more high quality Pole Vault DVDs from our large selection of Track & Field DVDs.
We have recently added new DVDs to our World Class Track & Field Technique Series. This series has been labeled as the world’s preeminent Track & Field DVD Series as it features Olympic athletes and coaches! The DVDs are broken down by event to allow you to learn tips, techniques, and drills from the best in the world. Check out the DVDs below and start improving your performances!
World Class Sprints & Relays
World Class 110M Hurdles
World Class 300/400 Hurdles
World Class High Jump
World Class Long Jump
World Class Shot Put
World Class Discus Throw
World Class Javelin Throw
World Class Pole Vault