Sunday February 18, 2018
Written by adele

In a sport that defies gravity, and is performed on equipment that deteriorates in weather, safety is a high priority. While dangers lurk for those running on the track, they are amplified for the daring few who feel a higher calling.

A vocal advocate for pole vault safety, Coach Jose San Miguel recently trained the coaches at the North Carolina Track & Cross Country Coaches Conference.  With an in-depth curricula, Jose instructed high school coaches from North Carolina and Virginia on starting a new athlete, the physics and psyche of the sport, and why a coach should never put an inexperienced vaulter into a meet the day of, just so the team can score points.

One teaching point is that pole vault is an expression of energy.  It is the transmittal of kinetic energy, energy in motioninto the energy needed to overcome gravity – gravitational potential energy.  It takes into consideration the height and mass of the vaulter, and the velocity at which they approach the pit.  It is a scientific equation that Coach solves by saying run fast, grip as tall as you comfortably can while moving the pole past vertical, and jump as high as you can!  The most important factor is one that cannot be measured: determination.  Or, how much does the athlete want it?

Pole vault is not a reactionary sport.   There is no waiting for the pitch or the kick from the backfield.  It is an event of deliberate moves.  The vaulter boldly drives into the box, resolutely swings, thrusts the pole away, and surrenders to the fall.  Pole vault is the athlete, happening.

This event builds young people.  The bar is a daunting physical boundary that is surmounted with simple arithmetic: Proper Coaching + Encouragement + Purposeful Action = Success, the Competitor’s Belief in Self.

Jose coaches other coaches so young athletes can safely  feel limitless.



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