Home > Athletics > Field Events: Pole Vault

Field Events: Pole Vault

By: Scott McBride - Updated: 6 Nov 2010 | comments*Discuss
Track And Field Pole Vault Run-up

As well as being one of the most spectacular of all track and field events, the pole vault is one of the most technically demanding. A successful pole vaulter is able to learn complex skills and apply them at the end of a speedy run-up and powerful take-off. The best are fast, brave, strong, tall and agile athletes with great jumping ability.

It is a sport with a long tradition too, as the men’s event has featured at the Olympics since the inception of the modern Games in 1896. The women’s event was added to the Olympic programme in 2000.

The importance of safety in the pole vault cannot be overemphasised. Sand pits, when used for teaching purposes with straight poles, should be well dug and free of dangerous objects, poles checked for damage and handled carefully to prevent damage. Landing areas must meet the minimum requirements in terms of size and must be securely fastened together at all times. Pole vaulting should not take place in adverse weather conditions.

Pick a Pole

All athletes now use fibre glass vaulting poles for both training and competition. Poles vary in length from 3.10 metres to 5.20 metres and are manufactured to suit athletes’ body weights from 40 kilograms to 100 kilograms. Selecting the right pole specification is vital. An athlete should choose a pole he can grip in the top 15 centimetres of and one that is the right weight to allow a successful vault.

If the pole is too long or too stiff, the athlete may fail to reach the landing area, possibly sustaining serious injury. If the pole is too soft the athlete will either fail to carry out an effective vault or break the pole.

Poles must be properly cared for. They must not be allowed to fall against hard or sharp objects and should not be left lying on the ground in case an athlete wearing spiked shoes treads on them. The bottom 15 centimetres must be bound with protective tape to prevent damage to the pole when it bends and strikes the back of the plant box.

Happy Landing

The landing area must measure not less than 5 metres by 5 metres and be at least 80 centimetres deep behind the box. The two protection pads on either side of the box must measure less than 2 metres from the back of the box and the stands may be moved to a maximum of 80 centimetres away from the back of the box.

The runway must be level, between 1.22 metres and 1.25 metres wide and must measure not less than 40 metres long. It should be swept regularly to remove any excess water or sand and examined to ensure there are no worn or damaged areas. If a wind sock is available, site it off the runway but near to the take-off point to indicate the wind direction and strength at the point of take-off.

Visible Box

The plant box should be adequately maintained and regularly inspected and must meet the correct specification. It has to be is clearly visible with good drainage to prevent it filling with water and should be covered when not in use.

Pole vaulters should be sufficiently competent to avoid injury to themselves and others and athletes should not wear jewellery or other objects which might cause injury.

You might also like...
Share Your Story, Join the Discussion or Seek Advice..
Why not be the first to leave a comment for discussion, ask for advice or share your story...

If you'd like to ask a question one of our experts (workload permitting) or a helpful reader hopefully can help you... We also love comments and interesting stories

(never shown)
(never shown)
(never shown)
(never shown)
Enter word:
Latest Comments
  • Mary
    Re: Using The Gym Safely: Equipment
    I am looking for signage to put up on the use of gym equipment for the gym we have built as part of our property…
    22 August 2019
  • Jems Born
    Re: Benefits of Joining an Athletics Club
    Sir.. I Want to joined atheletic in runing.. How can i joined this course..
    24 July 2019
  • Young Poor
    Re: Paragliding Safety
    I keep asking advice for over half Century; people in my age group, smart and polite have obviously died out. Undisturbed, they watch pilots…
    24 October 2018
  • Pat
    Re: What Are the Rules on Children and Gym Equipment?
    we are in a bit of a quandary...we are a charity, voluntarily run community based sports facility. we…
    14 October 2018
  • Damzy
    Re: Gym Induction: What to Expect
    Thanks the well-articulated article on gym induction. I find it very refreshing in offering inductions to clients.
    26 September 2018
  • Pinky
    Re: Bungee Jumping Safety
    I think that the bungee jumping is a very good extreme sports which I have also experience of doing bungee jumping. THIS IS ONLY MY COMMENT
    18 April 2018
  • snipa
    Re: Technical Ability in Football
    good information for semi professional footballers.
    28 December 2017
  • Crashed
    Re: Go Karting Safety
    In a public karting venue is there a regulation for seatbelts/ harness to be worn ? Or just helmet /suit/ gloves
    26 December 2017
  • Kaz
    Re: Darts Safety
    Is it safe for students of 14 to 16 years old to play darts in a pupil referral unit. Is there any health and safety rules
    20 November 2017
  • zozo
    Re: Training For Competitive Sports
    This articale can really help people with losing weight.
    27 October 2017