NewsLetter 2012 #4

Jan Johnson’s Pole vault Safety and Technique News Letter 2012 #4

This issue:

*More feed back from Americas Vault coaches.

*What a rules change proposal looks like. (Due May 1)

*Do you like the RLZ? Then I suggest you contact your state association ASAP as they have in Missouri. (see below)

*Take a look at the short video clip I posted yesterday at pole vault safety@fb you will see several clips of people clearly making dangerous jumps at all levels of the sport, all would be fouls except for 1.

*Send me your video clips of dangerous looking jumps I want to see them. As we go forward and investigate this plan further it will be important to show examples.

Jan Johnson

Atascadero, Ca

 


From: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.">'+addy_text27925+'<\/a>'; //--> [mailto:This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.]
Sent: Tuesday, April 03, 2012 1:26 PM
To: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.">'+addy_text36939+'<\/a>'; //-->
Subject: Re: Issue # 3 - Jan Johnson�s Pole Vault Safety and Technique News Letter

 

Hey Jan,

 

This is Tinker Hatfield.  I really like your new safety regulation proposal. I personally try really hard to get kids to always land in the existing coaches box. Any rule that forces jumpers to 'lower' their grip and jump with better technique and safety is good by me.

I do however, think the weight rule for poles is misguided. Many jumpers in my program are not fast or overly talented, (those speedy kids are on the year round football or soccer teams). In Oregon the weather is rarely warm and often wet. Most of the kids need to jump on poles that are NOT so stiff. Almost all dangerous landings occur in the front of the pit. Doesn't take a genius to see the correlations.

10 lbs under their weight is reasonable, but 'over bending' can be a judgement call by officials and coaches alike just like take off and landing problems.

 

Additionally, I am considering sponsoring pole vault competitions

that limit the length of poles. Too many vaulters, including elite competitors hold too high and have way too many aborted jumps. It's dangerous, stressful and ultimately makes for a poor spectator experience.

Too many 'no heights' at the Prefontaine Classic, have reduced it's entertainment value.

 

Poles can be restricted in length for various classifications with a possible unrestricted classification. New School, State, Region and even World Records could be established. "On the runway is Jan Johnson Jr. He is the current World Record Holder

In the 4 meter class." big applause !

"Ladies and gentleman, please welcome to Drake Stadium the Current World Record Holder in the men's 5 meter class, Brad Walker !" big applause, ( He should be able to go 6 meters on a 5 meter pole.) Visually it's just as stupendous as holding higher and going a little higher and far more competitive. Headwinds cease to be such a huge deterrent to top notch competition.

 

Just sayin.

 

Tinker

Nike Design

40 + year vaulter and coach

 

On Apr 4, 2012, at 1:38 PM, "Jan Johnson" <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.">'+addy_text89694+'<\/a>'; //--> > wrote:

Tinker,

Thanks for your note. We in fact are working on a number of issues in this regard.

The responses to my news letter have been over whelming. We have many issues in the PV which need fixing. Thanks as always for your support and help.

~jj~

I like your approach and really respect all the leadership you provide for the pole vault community. Make the event safer, simpler and more fun. Save the sport.

 

Thank you, and I think I speak for all the vaulters and coaches

in Oregon.

 

My jumpers have their first meet tomorrow. It's been wet and cold all through March

so the practices have been sub par. It's weird though because despite the weather we always have some good jumpers, all around Oregon.  Still, it's not been much fun standing in the cold coaching kids in 'short run' mode for a month.

Still, I like helping the kids.

 

Take care,

 

Tinker

Sent from my iPhone

 

 

Thanks Jan, for having me on this list. I am really enjoying the reading and the ideas. This proposal has me excited about the future of vaulting being in a positive safer direction, rather than a restrictive direction which actually leads to a higher degree of danger. We all have a difficult time watching athletes participate who are a danger to themselves, as well as to people around them. We have many athletes participating ehre who are not coached at all, or very little by people who do not know anything about the sport.

I want to mention this idea, because your proposal on landing is the missing piece to safety. Until now, even good technique produced dangerous valuting without a landing zone this being stated as safe. I would like to encourage producing a basic set of material - only 1 to 2 pages - that can help new coaches on what to look for during vaults "For safety purposes". Perhaps this material exists, but it is not widely available. Make it available to the coaching clinics in each state, and even have it distributed with the rules handbook to each team. These pages could be made available by officials at meets.

A couple of quick points I got out of the discussions.

The landing area as first contact will definitely increase athlete's safety. I would be happy to watch high school meets here in Ohio which my team is participating and provide data. There is an interesting argument for any vault outside the zone being a miss, however, I do think the three strike idea will work effectively as well. I do not agree with any warnings being given during warmups as this is the time to see what they are capable of that day.

The weight restriction on poles does not increase safety, in fact, just the opposite. It likely does reduce pole breakage.

David DeWitt

Brush High School Pole Vault Coach

Memorial Jr. High Math Teacher

David,

Thanks so much for your words! You obviously have a deep understanding of the problems and potential solutions. Look at this video of dangerous jumps which would test the RLZ rule. Let me know your thoughts....

~jan~


From: Tate Cobb [mailto:This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.]
Sent: Sunday, April 15, 2012 5:51 AM
To: Jan Johnson
Subject: Re: Issue # 3 - Jan Johnson's Pole Vault Safety and Technique News Letter

 

We had a big meet friday night with 14 teams. I marked the mats with chalk and kept track of cautions. There would've been 3 total cautions with 3 different boys one to the right one to the left and on came up short landing in the box. There was one caution on the girls side she did a full vault in front of the bar attempting 9'6" this on scared me but she managed to land on the front buns. This girl had a strange approach where she drug her pole all the way down the runway swinging her left arm while running the putting her left hand on the pole right at the plant, she came up way short cuz she never got her arms up. there was also one boy that slid his hands a few feet down the pole and kinda bailed if you wanna consider that a caution. Overall very few cautions for the number of kids. No one would've been dismissed from competition.

 

Tate

On Apr 6, 2012, at 3:52 PM, Jan Johnson wrote:

Nice job Tate,

Thanks so much for taking the time and care to share your observations. I think that my opinions represent those of the RLZ group when I say that “if the vauter leaves the runway with the intentions of making a jump” (in other words: he is not trying to stop his take off)…. then it is a jump. However, if he or she is trying to slow down and not take off it is not a jump.

Thanks

U my main man in OH-10

See ya in June

~jan~

Jan,

By coming straight up where the bright yellow is you decrease the size of the area at the back of the box in half where a vaulter upside down can strike their head coming in backwards.

I would NOT include the slanted white area around the box because it would throw the vaulter into the direction of the box. Landing on the gray next to this area is okay because it doesn't give like the edges on the perimeter of the pit that would tend to throw the vaulter out of the pit or into the box.

I would still include any area in the back section of the pit inside 12" as a safe landing.  That area is safe and much safer than the front landing section that you have chalked because a vaulter cannot possibly make a crossbar and land in the pit less than 40cm from the back of the box.  However, they can clear a crossbar and land safely where I described.

As a professional stuntman for over 30 years landing in pads, boxes, airbags and water from much higher than 20' I would suggest making the safe landing zone:

  • Starting from 40cm behind the back of the box
  • Do NOT include any slanted section of the pit around the box.
  • Inside 12" from the perimeter of the back of the pit no matter what the size the pit.
  • This area can be one solid contrasting color or a 3" wide line in contrasting color easily spotted by the vaulter.

To make that rule clear cut I suggest something like this:

  • The vaulter's entire body must land inside the safe landing zone.
  • The vaulter must leave that safe landing zone under control.
  • Miss that safe landing zone or leave the safe landing zone out of control 2 vaults in a row and you are out of the competition.
  • All attempts prior to that are still counted in competition.
  • A vaulter must be given a warning by the pole vault official after missing the safe landing zone or leaving the safe landing zone out of control.

Writing the rule that way gives the vaulter a chance to change poles or adjust their vault as needed and the ability to adjust throughout a long competition.  It makes landing on your feet in the safe landing zone and bouncing out of the pit a penalty. We must remember that climate changes can cause havoc on a vaulter too.  It's not always a bad vault or choosing the wrong pole that causes a vaulter to miss the safe landing zone.

See you this summer at Sky Jumpers Camp.

Tim Werner

Advantage Athletics

This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.">'+addy_text43728+'<\/a>'; //-->

Tim,

Thanks for your analysis and input. As I explained on the phone I think there are two kinds of bailouts. One is where the vaulter is not close to getting the pole to vertical and either lets go and lands on the buns, or in the box, or holds on and rides it back out on to the runway. In my mind this is clearly a foul. The second type is where the vaulter does not feel right and does not turn up side down on the pole, and lands on the base unit sections. This scenario should in my mind not be called a foul. I think by having the front of the RLZ between 3” and 9” behind zero it can simplify the enforcement and allow the pit to move around a little bit. Under these circumstances clearly a bar can be made with the standards on 40cm behind the zero (note the make on the sample RLZ clips on pole vault safety @ face book with several come up short jumps by the same guy in blue and white . BTW, pushing the standards further to the rear disallows perfect jumps whereby the vaulter pushes off straight down the vertical pole with his or her body in perfect hand stand position in the pushing phase…this can only be accomplished with the standards at less than 50cm.

..just sayin,

~jan~

 

Jan,

Another issue that is coming up is the mats sliding on turf. This will also affect the 3”-9” inch floating zone. When I tried to submit the change with the floating zone, I was told we had to have a set number.

At this point I my suggestion would be to focus on the getting the caution zone and removing the weight label rules. These will go a lot further towards the safety of the athletes. We have had 3 concussions in the past two weeks from coaches coaching for the bend and longest run possible. 8 out of 10 jumps on these vaulters were in the right standard. I have seen some of the work on the plant box padding, and I’m not opposed to the safetymax collar (which is what we use) or the skydex box (which I wish we had), but schools will not make the change. We still have school’s using the old pit size, standards that are falling inward with bolts, unbolted/unweighted standards, and out of the three surrounding counties, only my school uses a box collar.

--Andrew

From: Jan Johnson [mailto:This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.]
Sent: Wednesday, April 04, 2012 10:35 AM
To: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
Subject: RE: Issue # 3 - Jan Johnson's Pole Vault Safety and Technique News Letter

 

Andrew,

Nice work. Looks good !!

I think it is probably best if the front line of the required landing zone be allowed to float between 3” and 9” behind zero. Since we all know that many landing pads move around a bit its better to have some leeway. This will help to reduce enforcement objections regarding close calls on the front line.

This might also be a good time to introduce my work on plant box padding. Have you seen any of this work? It is in the final stages of the ASTM approval. Here is a doc that explains how we went about the design process and how much protection is gained. Soon I will publish them in my newsletter.

~jan~

 

I've never met you as far as I know, so seeing this pop up in my inbox was rather surprising. I'm a rather new coach in central Ohio and I only have one comment on this rule. Making rules to promote safe jumping is all well and good, but isn't it the coach's job to teach the vaulters the proper technique to jump safely? In my experience in coaching as well as being coached, regulating a students grip to match their technique, and teaching them a proper plant is more than enough to make them safe vaulters. A proper plant and drive phase also promotes much higher heights by itself. Adding a "safety zone" to a competition mat does little to develop good vaulting and removes the reward for someone who can keep their head in the jump when something is a little off. I feel a better solution to wild jumps isn't adding rules to competition, but promoting proper coaching. As a coach of pole vault my first responsibility is to keep my kids safe, and my second is to have them jump high. If I cannot develop them into safe vaulters, then I need to find someone who can, or tell them they can't vault. I'm sorry for being a bit long winded on my "one comment", but that's my opinion as someone who's straddles the fence of both coach and athlete.

~ John , Central Ohio

 

All,

I am fortunate to coach in the NCAA were this rule does not exist:) When I have a vaulter who has been hampered with the weight restriction rule and has not learned the muscle memory to successfully manage the take off energy, I will "de-pole" them. Go to a lighter and shorter pole so they can build confidence on small successful drills while bending the pole. It may take a season, but I know the vaulter will learn that vaulting can be fun again. I officiated a high school meet were a vaulter was over bending the pole which met the weight rule. I told him to get his coach to the vault area.

I explained the max a pole should bend is slightly over 90 degrees. and had his vaulter jump while I explained this. Unfortunately this is a judgment call as it did not violate any rule. Bottom line is good coaching can't be replaced by rules.

Wayne

Hi Jan,

Thanks for including me on your news letter. Don't know how you got my address. I don't coach and they won't let me on the field at the local high school without a fist full of certificates - so screwm. I guess 66 years of vaulting and being ranked 3rd in the world in March 1952 does not count with the lawyers.

I do compete from time to time in masters competition and my jumping buddy, Norm Cyprus, told me he helped with identifying folks pictured in your book. He complained to me that he hasn't heard from you since. His telno is 845-831-9516.

All this safety talk is good. But if I was in charge I would change the event's name to "catapult launch". And then I would go back to old fashioned vaulting with stiff poles and pits made with pitch forks.

Bye the bye. I haven't seen Uelses since the National All Around Championship in 1960 at University of Maryland. Could you please send me his email address?

Hope to hear more from you.

Chuck Stevenson  This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Chuck the video called 50th anniversary at Sky Jumpers Vertical Sports club @ fb show John Uelses in the flesh…

~jj~

Hey Jan,

 

Thanks for keeping me in the loop with these email forums on the rules in IL. My two cents? Bryan Carrell taught me how to coach and even though I've only been coaching 4 years, no matter if the vaulter is a beginner or more advanced, NONE of them has ever landed outside of the PLZ on a completed jump. I read one coach from the last set of emails that said it's part of the coaching and learning process that sometimes you wont land in what would be the RLZ and as such it shouldn't be implemented... what is he coaching??? There is no excuse. If a kid is learning to bend the pole and can't make a 15' wide landing zone, you better believe I'm going to take the kid back a few steps. I LOVE this sport and it angers me to see such negligent coaching. It's about the kids, them having fun, and they/their families are TRUSTING us to keep them safe. This rule will encourage more attentive coaching than just holding high.

 

In fact, some of the "best" female vaulters in IL are coached in this fashion and time after time through out the season they would land on the pit so close to the box, that their feet were in it!!! There is something seriously wrong when I have to hold my breath for fear this kid isn't going to make the pit next time. In this case the issue is with the coach having questionable motives. Any one coaching in IL will tell you he is a) unsafe and b) knows better but doesn't care because that what gets him the "win." This rule would stop this kind of behavior.

 

In response to one of the california vaulters that responded saying if a vaulter can't get on a pole for their weight they shouldn't be jumping... dude, you train in a place where you can jump year round. On top of having a nice series of poles to work with. Many schools in IL get their pits out mid march, that gives coaches/vaulters 2 or 2.5 months to learn. We all know the weight rating needs to be done with. Who in their right mind is going to get on a pole thats too small anyways? Thats redundant, it kills your jump.

 

What I want to say about some peoples suggestions of simply empowering the official to pull an athlete if they are "out of control" is that is too vague for officials to actually feel empowered. I'm 24 but often asked if I'm a competitor and because I look young, people argue with me. In fact, 2 years ago at conference I was officiating vault and we had the worst wind ever, i'm talking 50 mph gusts, a crosswind at that. From the start I felt it was too dangerous to vault at all and I resent the head official for not caring when I approached them. I cant tell you how many times pole tips didn't make it in to the box because of the cross wind. I called it as soon as we had a winner and didn't let her continue jumping. This raised a hell storm not only from her but from family and her head coach to the point where I had to threaten her to be DQ'ed if they didn't back off and respect my decision. (Honestly I couldn't believe I was getting such bad behavior from someone who just won conference.) Thus I won't as an official enforce something unless the rule is clear cut.

 

THANKS JAN!!!!

 

n
Dana Schlake

 

Jan,

I love the idea! It will force coaches, that don't know any better or refuse to recognize, to learn proper technique and grip height. I will try to mark some pits and keep track of cautions and forward the info to you. I would also like to see the pole knocking the cross bar off rule go away. If an official can judge where a kid lands and if he steadies the bar etc. they can also judge that a kid didn't touch the bar and his pole dislodged it. The proper release in the vault is pushing down, not throwing the pole out away from the pit. I've seen too many kids given misses for a great jump when the wind blew their pole into the crossbar and the official said it wasn't a "proper release." I even had one miss going to state because of it. Just an idea while all the brainstorming is going on. Thanks for all you do to make this sport great and safer! See ya in cville in June!

 

Tate Cobb

Ohio pole vault coach for 17 years and vaulter for 27 years!

 

Jan,

I’ve been talking with our state T&F director and NFHS, to get this procedure through we have to submit a rules change form to the state directors. There would be two rules changes taking place. I have attached what I turned into Missouri.

Thanks,

Andrew

(see below for what is proposed via Missouri)

National Federation of State High School Associations

NFHS Rule Change Proposal Form (Track/CC)

 

Deadline for Proposal: May 1, 2012

 

E-mail or FAX Form to: Harvey Richards, E-mail: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it., FAX: 573-875-1450

 

Proposal submitted by Andrew Amsden

 

Executive Director’s Signature Is Required

 

Daytime Phone 314-315-0396 Evening Phone 314-315-0396

 

Address 42 Fairview Drive City Hillsboro State MO Zip 63050

 

Directions:

1. Only one proposal per page. If additional sheets are needed, please copy.

2. All proposals must be stated clearly and concisely.

3. Word the proposal exactly as you want it to appear in the rules book.

4. Write a short rationale stating the problem, why the rule should be changed/added, etc.

Page 20 Rule 3 Section 10 Article 8

 

Suggested Change: TYPE or PRINT exactly as you wish the rule to read

(Underlining shows additions; strikethrough shows deletions)

The event judge may remove a pole vaulter who has not mastered the technical skills for the pole vault after the

pole vaulter has received three caution flags during the course of the competition.

Rationale (Be very clear in your explanation):

This rule change allows the event judge to exercise preventative officiating and remove a pole vaulter who is

landing too close to the edges of the landing system or in front of the zero line.

Other Rules Affected

Page 61-62 Rule 7 Section 5 Article 29

Page Rule Section Article

Page Rule Section Article

 

 

National Federation of State High School Associations

NFHS Rule Change Proposal Form (Track/CC)

 

Deadline for Proposal: May 1, 2012

 

E-mail or FAX Form to: Harvey Richards, E-mail: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it., FAX: 573-875-1450

 

Proposal submitted by Andrew Amsden

 

Executive Director’s Signature Is Required

 

Daytime Phone 314-315-0396 Evening Phone 314-315-0396

 

Address 42 Fairview Drive City Hillsboro State MO Zip 63050

 

Directions:

1. Only one proposal per page. If additional sheets are needed, please copy.

2. All proposals must be stated clearly and concisely.

3. Word the proposal exactly as you want it to appear in the rules book.

4. Write a short rationale stating the problem, why the rule should be changed/added, etc.

Page 61-62 Rule 7 Section 5 Article 29

 

Suggested Change: TYPE or PRINT exactly as you wish the rule to read

(Underlining shows additions; strikethrough shows deletions)

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 entire body including head, arms, hands, legs and feet must be within a 15' wide x 14’6" deep caution zone sector clearly marked on top of the landing surface. It is suggested that the sector be 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 shall be standard for all landing pads. The front edge of the safety zone shall be between 6” behind the zero line as defined by the top of the strike plate at the back of the planting box. Vaulters who do not land within this area will be awarded a yellow caution flag; the score keeper shall make a record of all caution flags on the score board. 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.

Rationale (Be very clear in your explanation):

This rule change will 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 will effectively minimize

wild and out of control jumps which often result in the athlete landing in the area outside of the proposed caution zone.

Other Rules Affected

Page 20 Rule 3 Section 10 Article 8

Page Rule Section Article

Page Rule Section Article

 

Thanks for the video. I really like the variety you show, from the beginner to the expert. I saw some of those jumps this weekend. One athlete would have committed 3 fouls in this meet and have been removed from competition. And it would have been awesome if the official(or one of us coaches) could have explained to the athlete that the cause of that infraction was planting inside, or holding too high, or as I saw jumping off the wrong foot.

Every meet we can usually sit there and say, "There is the person with the highest potential to hurt themself during this meet because of where they are landing."

I was thinking again about a page of vaulting tips. Instead, that page could be a list of reasons why they vaulted out of the marked area and received an infraction warning. Group it on the page by where they landed.

David DeWitt

Brush High Pole Vault Coach

Math Teacher Memorial Jr. High

 

 

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