Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 91.djvu/157

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Winning an Athlete's Laurels

IV. — Pole vault and potato races By Albert B. Wegener

A technical instructor and director of athletics of twenty-seven years' experience

��THE pole vault is the most spectacular and at the same time the most exacting of athletic events, requiring strength, speed, and skill. A left-footed jumper should grasp the pole with the ordinary left-hand grasp and the right hand reverse grasp, hands 30 in. apart. For the usual vaulter the right hand grasps the pole according to the following instruc- tions: When the bar is placed 9 ft. high, the right hand is at 9 ft. on the pole; for each foot that the bar is raised the right hand is lowered 4 in. Carry the pole on the right side with the point directly forward and raised a little. Run squarely to the front, avoiding a twist.

The take-off or jumping spot should be directly under the right hand when the pole is planted ready for the spring and the striding marks placed accurately at about 40 and 80 ft. from the stands. These marks must be placed so as to help produce accurate running, as described in the high jump. During the run, look at these marks. Start to run at about 100 ft.

Taking the Jump

Plant the pole lightly by thrusting the end into the hole just before the left foot strikes the take-off. At the same time throw the arms forward up and slide the left hand up close to the right. The arms at this point should be almost straight, the hands above the left foot or a few inches in front of that spot. Any other spot for the take-off will strain the chest or back muscles, and if the arms are too straight or too much bent you cannot rise well. The left foot should be placed upon the take- off a couple of inches to the right of a line drawn directly back of the point of the pole. The hole for planting the point of the pole should be 6 in. toward the runway from a point just under the bar.

In the rise, swing the body forward at arm's length to the right of the pole, facing directly forward. When half-way up to the bar flex the thighs and legs so that they are above the head and the bar. Now

��straighten out, turn to the left, pull up and push up strongly with the arms. This brings the hips above the bar and facing it in an arched position with thighs flexed. Now push over the bar and release the grasp, with the left hand first, allowing the pole to drop back. Alight facing the bar or with an additional turn to the left.

Training Hints

For several weeks before attempting to vault, practice the following developing exercises: On the horizontal bar, chin several times; then do the same and circle backward over the bar. Circle forward over bar. Hang and raise feet to the bar. Free backward circle. Pull up and shoot over a cross-bar placed 2 ft. in front of and as high as the bar. Practice walking on the hands. Do the hand balance against the wall, then bend and straighten the arms. Practice the rope vault. Prac- tice sprinting and jogging.

When starting to use the pole do not try to vault over a cross-bar for a few weeks, or until the movement is thoroughly learned. Preliminary practice with the pole should be, planting the pole and using the grasp at about 8 ft. high. Plant the pole and swing forward. Plant, swing, and rise. Plant, swing, rise, and pull up, etc. Introduce the bar only when able to do about 8 ft. without it. Do not vault more than ten times a day. Give much attention to massage. If sore and stiff, rest and massage.

Other Styles of Vaulting

For those who have not the time to devote to learning the exacting shift-hand style, and especially for boys, the no-shift style is recommended. In this the hands are held about 2 ft. apart and neither of them is moved from that position until after the rise, swing, pull up, and shoot over are made. It is impossible to go high with this, but it is much easier and safer than the other style. The Vault for Distance is an event seldom, if evfr, now used in

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