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About staying on the pole

Ah… a harder task than it sounds.  It seems several psychological flaws must be overcome, each of which seems to be harder than I thought.

One problem is fear:  One must not be afraid of falling backward onto the runway.  The literature will tell you that is a major benefit of fiberglass pole vaulting.  It helped the vaulter to not have to focus as much on the safety concern when going upside down near the top of the vault.  The vaulter “should” have the confidence to know that momentum will carry him or her into the pit.  This confidence allows the vaulter to rotate the body to or beyond vertical (except in my brain’s case).

Another problem, slightly related, is perception:  Is my arm straight?  Am I vertical?  Is my left hand (I’m a right handed vaulter) all the way to my chest.  Apparently I have flawed perception on each of these points.  My left arm is bent during the vault, creating a bit of an effect of being under.  I could swear to you that I am completely vertical upside down until you show me the video of me flagging off.  My left arm is very traditional – it stays near my hip or, if I’m lucky, almost to my shoulder, causing me to go off the pole sideways.

Ah well, a journey is not completed in a day, though one would think I could learn a little faster. I am fully convinced that I have sufficient speed and strength to go higher, but the mental challenges are quite daunting.

We’ll see how much I can change as the summer progresses.


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