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Washington State Senior Games 2012

Well, today was more of a grind.  I felt that I had a pretty good warmup session, then a long wait until I started vaulting at 9 feet.  I started on my 12’6″ 150 pole and was kind of blowing through it, so I went to my 13’0″ 160 pole at 9’6″.  I couldn’t get on it the first vault, the second was better, but still a miss, so I went back to the 12’6″ pole for the third jump and cleared it.  I was still blowing through it a bit, so I went to the 13’0″ pole for 10’0″.  I cleared 10’0″ the first jump and thought all was OK, but still worried about takeoff and getting sufficient speed.  I ended up missing all three vaults at 10’6″ even though my takeoff was better.  On looking at video after the meet, I found that I had been focusing so hard on just getting off the ground that I had lost all verticality, just flagging off almost immediately.  That was a good example of what a lack of confidence can to to you.  I was so focused in the left arm that I forgot to drive the shoulders and drive to the pole, partly for fear of not having sufficient penetration to be safe.  Bummer!

I have some poles that, while not optimal, can simulate intermediate poles from the 12’6″ 150 to the 13’0″ 160, which is a bit of a jump.  My 14’0″ 130 pole is about 145 pounds at 13 feet and the 14’0″ 140 pole is about 155 pounds at 13 feet, which would have provided me with a little more confidence working through the poles.  I did that at Alki beach with the 13’130″ pole and had some success.  I’m going to work on this in preparation for the Olympic Peninsula Senior Games and see if I can adjust to competition day conditions with a little more flexibility.  Having the confidence to know I’m not going to land in the box is critical to me, since I seem to be lacking some of the courage or reckless abandon that some other vaulters seem to have.

All in all, it was not a bad day.  I came in first in my age group, third overall, and qualified for Nationals.  High jump was similar.  I was 4 inches below the Northwest Senior Games at 4’5″, came in first in my age group (easy because I was the only one), and qualified for nationals.  I hope to have more quality practice time coming up, as the past few weeks were pretty dicey here in the Northwest and I was sick for a few days.  Oh for an indoor pit close by!

Chuck had another good day — the bum!  He went 7’0″ in the pole vault, which was great, considering he hasn’t practiced much at all this year since he has been training for 80 miles on his eightieth birthday.  He only got one gold medal, while I got two, so I have bragging rights, but he earned 6 total medals today, so he is definitely the all around athlete of the family.  If he could actually train consistently for the pole vault with his speed I think he could be one of the top vaulters, if not the highest, in the world in his age group.  He would have to change his form dramatically, but he has a bunch of people, including me, who line up to give him advice 🙂

Back to my vaulting today.  I am doing much better at getting vertical on straight pole vaults in early practice.  Translating that to bent pole vaulting is hit or miss still, but much much better than a few years ago.   With continued hard work and conditioning, I believe I can start consistently hitting 11+ feet.  In my age group that’s a pretty good height.  Of course, a whole new generation of top quality vaulters are just behind me to erase anything I have done.  The quest for excellence is never ending.

Phil is not staying tight to the pole

Phil flagging off pole at 10-6

Phil's body is going flat, not up

If your body is not going up, then you are losing a foot or more of height


Phil is hitting cross bar because he went flat

If you don’t go up, then you will go down faster — knocking off the cross bar


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