Issue #1 Suggested Safe Zone 2012

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Jan Johnson's Pole Vault Safety and Technique News Letter - Issue 2012 #1

Sky Jumpers Vertical Sports Club

Pole Vault Safety Certification Board

Atascadero, Ca

Pole Vault Caution Zone Proposal

By using the following system for practice and meets we can bring greater attention to landing in the center of the pads. Associations and schools which choose to enforce such a rule will bring more safety to their programs and facilities.


To improve pole vault safety by bringing greater attention to landing in or near the middle of the landing system by penalizing vaulters who land too close to the edges or in front of the zero line. This rule effectively minimizes most of the classic dangerous jumps as outlined below.


*This rule would help to reduce wild and out of control jumps by penalizing the participant.

*Simple and easy to enforce.

*Low cost

*The markings we recommend will also allow coaches and vaulters to better judge the position of the landing system in relation to the plant box, and also allows a general view of the position of the standards relative to the zero line.


Any landing system may be marked with a tape measure and a can of spray paint in about 10 minutes time. (see example below)

Below: Suggested Caution Zone markings (red outside lines) 15’ wide and 14.5’ deep starting at zero. In fact the caution box is approximately the same size as the old minimum pole vault landing system specification pre 2003.

Suggested wording for safe landing zone rules

During the course of competition, In the completion of a pole vault jump, the vaulter must land so that upon first contact of his or her body including head, arms, hands, legs and feet must be within a 15’ wide x 14.5” caution zone box clearly marked on top of the landing surface. It is suggested that the box is marked using 2-3” wide lines of a contrasting color, so that the inside dimensions of the zone meet the 15’x14’6” standard safety zone dimensions. The size of the safety zone area should be standard for all landing pads. The front edge of the safety zone shall be between 3” and 6” behind the zero line as defined by the top of the strike plate at the back of the planting box.

We recommend that vaulters who during the course of making an attempt must land within the boundaries of the safe zone, or be awarded a caution flag, and a miss. The score keeper shall in make a record of all caution flags on the score board. The vaulter must land within the safety zone as described above for a successful clearance. Vaulters who land on or outside of the safety zone after clearing the bar shall be awarded a caution flag and a miss for the attempt. Additionally, the vaulter must exit the front of the landing pads between the standards under control for the completion of a successful attempt, or be awarded a caution flag and a miss. .

A maximum of two caution flags are allowed during the course of a contest with elimination from the contest on the third. The vaulters best height cleared will be used as his/her final mark.

Three consecutive misses will remain as the other way the vaulter may be eliminated from a contest.

Examples of dangerous vaults which would result in caution flags…

* Any vaulter landing on or in front of the front edge of the safety line nearest the plant box.

* Any vaulter landing where first contact with the pads is touching any portion of the safety zone lines, with any body part.

* All vaulters landing in the plant box.

* All vaulter landings upon the standard base padding.

* All hand slips resulting in landings in or around the plant box area, where the vaulter makes contact in front of, or on the front line of the safety zone


Broken poles will not be awarded caution flags and are not counted as attempts as has always been the case in the rules.

It is suggest that standard placement and cross bar personnel should participate as front line observers and confer with the head official. The head official will have final approval of any cautions entered on to the score card.