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Pole Vault's Education Initiative.

As a track and field coach for 26 years and a member of the National Pole Vault Educational Development Committee (NPVEDC) for 14 years, I am convinced that the key to safe, high-level pole vaulting is an immaculate education on techniques.

That is precisely what the USA Pole Vault Education Initiative (USAPVEI) a sub-committee of the USA Track & Field's National & Olympic Committee (USATFNOC), is currently engaged in doing.

Phase 1 is the establishment of a web site library ( of conservatively screened pole-vault literature and legitimate research, with the support of the USATFNOC. It will offer a source of meticulously correct material of coaches and athletes seeking definitive information on the pole event.

Phase 2 will develop a national database to serve as a national register for every scholastic and collegiate pole-vault coach and AD of every pole-vault-active school listed.

The database will include each school's address and phone number and the e-mail address of the head track coach, pole-vault coach(es), and AD. Instantaneous e-mail communications and interactions on a national scale will be possible.

The contacts will be limited to educational information and communications. No commercial contact will be permitted.

Phase 3 is an educational program that will be a trouble-shooting program for the pole vault. It will show approximately 40 of the most common mistakes in the event, based on landing zones--an indicator of serious technical problems.

The computer will allow the coach or athlete to determine the zone in which the vaulter landed and decide the most common errors that may have caused the problem. After the error choice has been made, the program will move to a video of a vaulter actually performing the same error, allowing the coach to visually compare his vaulter's error to that of the video vaulter in error.

On the same computer page, a video will show the proper technique of an ideal vault and a video of the corrected vaulter in a stick-figure kinetic view performing the same vault. All three videos will run simultaneously in slow motion, and can be placed in stop-action or run one at a time. An audio description of the key points as well as the correction of each problem will also be given.

This CD will be produced in mass quantities (approx. 18,000 copies) and distributed to every high school, college, and university that participates in the pole vault within the US free of charge.

The three-year project is well underway. The committee assistants have been appointed, the computer program has been completed, the web site is in development, and the database is currently in the design phase. All the work and efforts of the committee members have been pro bono to date.

We currently have secured half of the funding and we hope the other half will be forthcoming. We hope to have the entire initiative operating by the 2004 outdoor season.

As a professional educator and teacher, I have long dreamed of playing a major role in an educational endeavor. I believe that the educational value of our Internet pole-vault library and the ability to nationalize the communication and interactions of the entire coaching and administrative base is the US will give our coaches an immense tool in identifying technical errors.


Asst. Coach, SLippery Rock University

National Chairman, USA Pole Vault

Education Initiative
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Title Annotation:Track & Field
Author:Hannay, Mark
Publication:Coach and Athletic Director
Article Type:Letter to the Editor
Date:Aug 1, 2003
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