The pole vault swing, rock back and turn are the transitions that convert horizontal forces generated from the approach to vertical forces applied through the pole.
The swing starts the instant the take-off leg leaves the ground, and it continues until the top arm, back and take-off leg are parallel to the ground. A tall, long body during the swing keeps the pole loaded. The rock back starts at the completion of the swing and continues until the vaulter extends and turns to clear the crossbar. The sign of a good rock back ends with the vaulter upside down, in a ball, with his or her hips above the shoulders. Check out the video player above for a demonstration.
Swing and Rock Back Rope Drill
- Grab the rope with both hands about shoulder-width apart.
- Stand with your take-off foot directly under your top hand.
- Take one step with your free leg and swing up.
- Stay long and rock back until your hips are above your shoulders.
Extend and Turn Rope Drill
- Perform the Swing and Rock Back Rope Drill.
- When your hips are above your shoulders extend your hips straight up the rope.
- At full extension, make a half turn and land on your feet.
Swing and Rock Back Pop-Up Drill
- Use a short run, 6- to 8 steps.
- After a good plant, drive the lead leg and keep the take-off leg long.
- Swing and rock back until your hips are above your shoulders.
- Ride the pole into the pit.
Extend and Turn Pop-Up Drill
- Perform the Swing and Rock Back Pop-Up Drill.
- Instead of riding the pole into the pit, after the rock back is complete, extend your hips straight up the pole.
- At full extension, make a half turn and land in the pit on your stomach.