Pole Vault University

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Pole Vault Elementary School

Beginner Pole Vault Drills

A Simple Series of Pole Vault Drills That Teach the Vaulter How Not to Pull, and Rotate the Pole to Vertical

By David Butler

In order to be able to learn to pole vault, the vaulter must utilize the techniques of the great vaulters of past history by straight pole vaulting rather than bending the pole right away. Vaulters must learn to walk before they can run.
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The Straight Line Plant


An extension of the motion of the pole vaulter’s arms and the importance of the correct pole carry in its application to a successful vault

by David Butler

The shortest distance between two points is a straight line. An object (the pole) will reach its destination faster if it is moved in a straight line rather than if traveling in a curved or zigzag line. Continue reading →

The Perfect Pole Vault


A Technical Checklist for Athletes and Coaches

By David Butler and Eric Lobdell

The following is a technical model which covers the basic elements of a successful pole vault.  The methodology is based on the Petrov model of pole vaulting.  Correct execution of these points, with exception to outside factors, invariably results in better pole vaulting. Continue reading →

The Pole Carry and Active Pole Drop


Its importance to the approach, free take-off, and plant

By David Butler

Vitali Petrov, the father of modern pole vaulting and the greatest innovator of our beloved sport, discovered some interesting aspects of technique when he observed two pole vaulters from the bamboo and steel age. He viewed a 1951 film of a one-armed Russian vaulter carrying the pole in a vertical position. Continue reading →

The Three Verticals of the Pole Vault


Perform these three correctly and two more verticals are conquered!

by David Butler

Vertical Line One spans the distance from the top of the vaulter’s top hand to the tip of his toes. It is essentially “taking off ON”. If the Takeoff Toe is in line with any part of the top hand, then the pole can be moved to vertical. Continue reading →

Two Styles of Pole Vaulting: Push or Pull?


A Discussion of the Vaulter’s Reaction to the Plant

By David Butler

How many times have you been at a track meet and heard a coach yell, “PULL!” We are taught to pull in the tug-o-war or as we fish for that whopper with our father. If you were falling off of a cliff, you would reach out to grab that branch to save your life. Continue reading →

PV Terms Explained


We often use multiple cues to describe an action to an athlete in order to convey an idea as vividly as possible.  Some athletes respond well to direct “by the numbers” language, while others respond well to abstract language and … Continue reading →