By Agustina Singh & Alex Yeo (LSE)
Pole vaulting is not a sport for the faint-hearted. Besides requiring a certain amount of courage to charge down the runway holding a really long piece of fibre glass, pole vaulters have to combine the speed of a sprinter, power of a jumper, and the grace of a gymnast, in order to make a successful jump.
Last Sunday, athletes made their way to the world-class Lee Valley Athletics Centre for the very first LUCA pole vault training session. This is part of a 6-session long training programme that lasts until the 19th of November organised by LUCA. Due to the specialised nature of the event and high coaching fees, this was an opportunity that novice and experienced vaulters alike could not pass up. For all of us who went, it was our first time picking up a pole in years and we were excited to face the pole vault pit once again.
With a warm welcome from Coach John, we first started with simple pole drills. This included the right way to grip and plant the pole, followed by some gymnastics. We learnt how gymnastics is important in pole vault because it helps to develop one’s sense of body awareness, upper-body strength, and level of coordination. Coach John explained to us the basics of each drill so that we could perform them well and safely.
After the drills session, we moved to the runway to finally get some jumping done. For the novice jumpers, this was the chance to practice all they learnt in the short span of time, and they did not disappoint. For the experienced jumpers who have been unable to find a training venue in London, the feeling of soaring through the air again was one sorely missed. As the training progressed, we became more confident, and moved on to jumping over a bungee. This was extremely fun and made all of us feel like true pole vaulters as we attempted to jump over the bungee without hitting it.
While there are many elements to coordinate and get right, pole vaulting is a sport where the process and end-result are extremely satisfying because of the thrill and challenge it brings. With a qualified coach running the training sessions, this is definitely a great opportunity for London students to learn a sport that one would not even normally have a chance of trying. We highly recommend anyone looking for something unique and fun to come try the pole vault- we promise you will not be disappointed.
The next pole vault training session is next Sunday, 22nd, 10:30 – 12:30. All athletes are welcome, but please get confirmation from your club captain first.