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Get Ready To Soar VAULTER

MAGAZINE

Like Never Before While on the ground, it’s just a pole. But in the hands of a talented vaulter, it’s the tool to SOAR . . . LIKE NEVER BEFORE! If you haven’t vaulted with an ESSX pole, you haven’t reached your full potential.

To celebrate

Photo by Boštjan Kozamurnik

The most advanced computer engineering techniques available to our industry have been applied in the development of our newest range of ESSX Vaulting Poles. Thirty years of research and manufacturing experience ensure the quality of the most economical vaulting poles on the market. To order your pole today, contact the ESSX dealer in your area or call The Pole Maker Expert, Bruce Caldwell— Toll-Free at 877-367-3779. Or fax your order to 855-FAX ESSX (329-3779). Email: bruce@essxpv.com.

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our success the past year with our ESSX POWER-X Vaulting Pole, the most economical pole on the market, we’re giving away a free pole every month. To enter, just identify the mystery vaulter in our monthly video. We will randomly select one winner from the pool of correct answers. www.essxpv.com/win/

WORLD CLASS VAULTING POLES TOLL FREE:

1-877-367-3779 www.essxpv.com


r e COnTEnTS b m Septe

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10 FROM THE EDITOR

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SHawn BaRBER

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JEnn SuHR TakES GOlD!

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REnauD lavIllEnIE SOaRS OvER TOuGH COMpETITIOn In lOnDOn

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SuppORTIvE aTMOSpHERE aT plaCER HIGH SCHOOl

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GET THE SpaRkS STaRTED

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GEORGE BaRBER

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FROM THE EDITOR It’s finally time for some results. This month’s issue brings the much anticipated outcomes of the 2012 London Olympic Games. Pole vaulting had some exciting moments in London. The competition had it all – victory, defeat, drama, challenge between long-time competitors and even tender moments. You won’t want to miss out on reading about what went on in the Men’s and Women’s finals. The United States is celebrating the dramatic gold medal victory of female vaulter Jenn Suhr. She was joined on the podium by Yarisley Silva from Cuba (silver) and her longtime competitor Elena Isinbaeva (bronze). Suhr’s story is certainly an inspirational one worth reading. She went through a lot to get to her golden moment and you can’t help but be right there with her in her joy. The Olympic audience went crazy as France’s Renaud Lavillenie lived up to his potential and beat out strong competition from German vaulters Bjorn Otto (silver) and Raphael Holzdeppe (bronze) and set an Olympic record with his gold-winning jump. Lavillenie may have been the favorite going into the Olympics, but this was no easy win for him and Lavillenie’s response to his gold medal will have you smiling ear to ear. Outside of the Olympics there has been other exciting news in the world of pole vault. From a heart-warming look at father-son vaulters, to exciting and fun advancements in sports science, we have some interesting articles that will excite any pole vault enthusiast.

Shawn Barber set the national high school mark at 18”-3 ½”, beating Tommy Skipper’s 2003 mark by ½”. Barber is one young vaulter to watch out for. After reading about his accomplishments you won’t be able to help feeling proud of what he is achieving at his young age. Also in this issue, read about George Barber. As the father and teacher of Shawn Barber, he is keeping his passion for pole vaulting going strong at fifty-one years of age. George Barber has a lot to be proud of in his time with pole vaulting. The Jordan Scott socks father-son/student-teacher and spikes at the Clovis Street Vault relationship between these two is one that will leave you excited about future vaulting generations. Placer High School, in Auburn, California, is our featured school this month. Coach Rhodes, along with help from some major vaulters, does some amazing work with his team throughout the year. They are training hard and jumping impressive heights. You will enjoy reading about what the young athletes of Placer are up to, their rich history in track and field and their success. For those interested in sports science we have an exciting article on Bubba Sparks. In this article you’ll get a look at some fun uses of pole vault information from a chart at bubbapv.com. We hope you enjoy our post-Olympics issue of Vaulter Magazine. It has been our pleasure to keep you posted on the Games and other aspects of vaulting. Thank you for continuing to read our magazine. Please continue reading next month for more information on our first featured University, San Diego State University, top athletes, schools, events and more. Doug Bouma Editor

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Shawn Barber By: Stuart Kantor

Looking down upon the world from 18-03 ½”, Shawn Barber (Kingwood Park) could finally exhale; he had just set the national high school pole vault mark, raising the bar on Tommy Skipper’s 2003 mark by ½”. “It was a huge weight off my shoulders,” Barber said. “Bout damn time,” his father, George Barber playfully remarked.

Three weeks prior to Shawn’s record-setting jump, at the IAAF World Junior Championships in Barcelona, Spain (July 12, 2002), Shawn cleared 18-02 ½”. While this phenomenal effort would vault him past Eric Eshbach’s (Orangefield) 1999 mark of 1802 ¼” to claim Texas supremacy, it would leave him just shy of the national mark.

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On July 28th, at the USATF Regional Championships in Austin, he claimed first place with a clearance of 17’. And then on August 4th, in the aptly named Humble, Texas, Shawn planted and began his drive skyward. ~~~ It’s appropriate that Yoda makes his first film appearance in the Star classic, Shawn Barber Wars The Empire Strikes Back (1980). The renowned Jedi master accepts re s p o n s i b i l i t y for the training of the film’s protagonist, Luke Skywalker. A parallel relationship exists in the Barber household: Shawn, the young studenthero blessed with the skill potential to surpass the venerable master, is taught by his father George, bequeathed with the moniker Yoda by fellow coaches for his vast wisdom on the myriad facets of pole vaulting. While Yoda imbues Luke Skywalker with “the Force,” a mystical by-product of increased self-esteem, mental acuity and physical development, George

inculcates Shawn into the BarberModel, a paradigm shift from the Petrov-Model of vaulting; Barber emphasizes angular velocity and other snippets of applied physics. “I’ve been working on my angle off the ground,” Shawn said, “to get higher at takeoff.” The intricacies evident to Yoda in the split-second transition as plant blends into takeoff have turned Shawn Barber from a 13-03” vaulter in 2009 into the national record holder in 2012. In fact, the curiosity of how things work isn’t reserved for George: “When I was younger, we didn’t have a lot of electronics. Every day, I would try to build stuff and figure out the physics for myself;” hence Shawn’s interest in a Mechanical Engineering degree. In 2012 alone, Shawn surpassed 17’ 14 times (3 indoors) including the August 4th milestone. ~~~ It was his third attempt. His run – a self-professed strength – merged beautifully into his plant. The 16’ 5”, 185lb Altius Carbon pole launched his momentum into perfect trajectory. His drive and subsequent inversion exhibited the traits of a student well-versed in Barber-Model physics. Turn. Push. Clear. “I nicked the bar,” Shawn said, proclaiming the singular reason for possible disappointment. Yet the bar remained, and Shawn’s


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descent to the pit landed him in the record books. “Thank God,” was all he could say. ~~~ Shawn’s interest in the vault began in a barn on the family’s New Mexico farm. Gymnastic rings, an Olympic-sized trampoline and a pole vault pit housed inside a Quonset building occupied family and friends for more than athletic training – water balloon fights were a common pastime. “It was a lot like Kris Allison’s place” (Lone Star Pole Vault’s facility in New Braunfels), Shawn said, “but with more gymnastics equipment.” George Barber, a two-time Olympic Trials competitor in the vault for the Canadian National Team in the 1980s, taught his son to vault, and by age 11, Shawn had cleared 10-06. The son of a military father, George Barber learned how to vault on “cactus sticks” chasing his older brother

while climbing the Franklin Mountains of west Texas. George then attended UTEP where he still ranks 5th on their all-time Outdoor list at 17-04. Shawn’s advantageous beginning has landed him a scholarship to the University of Akron under the guidance of Head Track & Field Coach Dennis Mitchell. The Zips, under Mitchell, have developed a stunning reputation for developing some of the nation’s most outstanding pole vaulters. “I like cold weather, and it’s a cool place to be,” Shawn said, stating that UCLA was the only other school in serious consideration. An April 29th, 2012 University of Akron press release quotes Coach Mitchell on the signing of Shawn: “It’s a great honor for our program that Shawn has decided The University of Akron is the place that can take him to the highest level of competition. He’s an

exceptional athlete and individual, and I’m excited for his future as an Akron Zip.” The ‘highest level of competition’ means “more jumps and a lot higher heights,” according to Shawn. But he doesn’t set goals. In homage to Yoda, he echoes a similar sentiment: “Don’t set goals – they limit you.” Yet it won’t come as a surprise, that as Shawn’s athletic development continues to mature and he continues to hone the innate physics applied from his early career, that he will one day be called NCAA Champion or even Olympic Champion. When this happens, the Yodastudent relationship will have been fulfilled; the 2012 UIL State Champion and 2012 Canada Games contender will have left his mark upon the Barber Empire.

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VAULTER

MAGAZINE Elena Isinbayeva Image by Victah Photorun.net

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www.thevaultermag.com Yarisley Silva Image by Victah Photorun.net

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Jenn Suhr Takes Gold! By: Michelle Walthall

In only three years from the moment when her coach, and now husband, Rick Suhr convinced her to take up pole vaulting Jenn Suhr was able to make her way to being ranked the number two female vaulter in the world under Russia’s Elena Isinbaeva, according to the Inquisitr. Rick Suhr found her at Roberts Wesleyan College in Rochester, N.Y. The two of them have been together ever since. It has taken longer than the three years it took to become second in the world for Suhr to come in ahead of Isinbaeva, but Isinbaeva will have to settle for finishing behind her for now – and it happened at the Olympics of all places. What an exciting end to Olympic female pole vaulting in 2012! In this year’s London Olympic Games Jenn Suhr took the gold with a height of 4.8m. Her height tied with Yarisley Silva from Cuba, but Suhr had less misses and was given the win. Isinbaeva took bronze with a jump of 4.7m. No U.S. female vaulter has brought home the gold since Stacy Dragila did it in 2000. Suhr is most definitely celebrating this victory as it has come with much turmoil and difficulty through much of her athletic career. There are so many things, other than the fact that it is an Olympic gold medal, that make this gold medal a major victory for Suhr. She has faced many obstacles to get to the Olympic podium and managed to come through on top. Suhr is even quoted by NBC Olympics reporter Joe Battaglia as

Jenn Suhr

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saying, “Rick and I have worked so hard for this. I don’t think people understand the turmoil and the battles and everything we fought to get here.” One main reason Suhr’s road to Olympic gold has been so rough is that, as reported by the Denver Post, Isinbaeva has won Olympic gold twice and the world championships twice as well as breaking the world record a total of 28 times. Isinbaeva has been a formidable competitor for Suhr for years and even finished ahead of Suhr at the 2008 Olympic Games in Beijing. So going into this Games Suhr knew she had to be at her best to win the gold. The Inquisitr even quoted Suhr as saying, “When Elena’s in the field, you know the bar is risen, literally and figuratively. She’s that great of a competitor, and you know you have to be on your game. You have to compete, and you have to execute. I knew that anything’s possible when she’s in there.”

diet, Suhr has been able to keep the symptoms away and continue training and competing. Of course it paid off. The weather conditions in London created another problem for Suhr and the other vaulters. “The design of Olympic Stadium here [London] is more low-slung than the Bird’s Nest was four years ago, leaving it suspect to swirling winds, a pole vaulter’s worst nightmare,” says Joe Battaglia, NBC Olympics, in his article at www.nbcolympics.

com. Battaglia also quotes Suhr’s comments on the weather in Beijing and London in the article. He writes that she says, “Beijing was perfect pole vault conditions. It was absolutely perfect. We had a little bit of a tailwind. It was warm out. Everything was great, and here [London] everything was a battle. You had to be tough, and you had to jump in it and deal with winds.” It may have been tough for the female vaulters to deal with the weather, but it sure made for an

Physical issues also threatened to end Suhr’s dream, but she fought through it all. She has made it through an Achilles injury, a torn quadriceps muscle and physical weakness caused by Celiac disease which the U.S. National Library of Medicine describes as a condition that damages the lining of the small intestine and prevents it from absorbing parts of food that are important for staying healthy. The damage is due to a reaction to eating gluten, which is found in wheat, barley, rye, and possibly oats. Thankfully with a gluten-free Jenn Suhr, Image by Victah, Photorun.net

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exciting and intense competition. Joe Battaglia of NBC Olympics gives an exciting account of the battle for pole vaulting gold:

come out shining in the worst of circumstances. Olympic track and field enthusiasts probably remember the scolding Suhr got from Rick Suhr (thought they were not yet married

“It wasn’t until the vaulters reached 4.70m/15- Jenn Suhr, Image by Victah, Photorun.net 5 that the wind really impacted the standings,” he writes, “It is where German contenders Silke Spiegelburg and Martina Strutz bowed out of the competition, leaving just Suhr, Silva and Isinbayeva in the medal hunt. Suhr and Silva missed first attempts at 4.75m/15-7 before clearing it on the second. Isinbayeva, who has returned to competitive form after disastrous 2009 and 2010 seasons by her standards and nearly year’s hiatus, missed twice at the bar, passed her final attempt and moved to 4.80m/159 and one shot at a third consecutive gold medal, which she missed.” To put things in at the time) after collecting her perspective, Isinbayeva’s world- Olympic silver medal in 2008 as record clearance in Beijing was well. This drama brought some light 5.05m – much higher than to her struggle and served as one Suhr’s 2012 gold medal win. It’s more set-back she had to endure nothing short of amazing. It seems on her journey. Nobody knew the Suhr’s fight and determination two were a couple back then and all these years made her ready to it caused quite a stir. However, the

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two seemed to have worked things out as most might have gathered from the beautiful exchange of affection between them after Suhr was announced the gold medalist. The U.S. can be proud of our female Olympic pole vault gold medalist Jenn Suhr. And it would be difficult not to share in her happiness with her triumph after reading the famous Facebook post Suhr wrote after her win: “It’s very emotional. It’s something that you work so hard for, for four years, and heartbreak and joy, and then some more heartbreak,” she posted, “To overcome it and come out on top is something that whenever I thought of I started crying, so I knew it was just going to be emotional, whenever I thought about how it would feel to win gold. Then I would think of how it would feel to be fourth, and I’d cry over that too. It was definitely something that I’ve wanted, I don’t think I’ve ever wanted anything so bad.” Well, you got it Jenn Suhr! Congratulations and much success to you!


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www.thevaultermag.com Bjorn Otto

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Renaud lavillenie Soars over Tough Competition in london By: Michelle Walthall Fans of Renaud Lavillenie of France are rejoicing with him after his exciting gold medal win at the 2012 London Olympics. Lavillenie has been bringing extraordinary

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height with his jumps and has been the source of a lot of talk in men’s pole vaulting. Lavillenie, who went into the Games as the world leader, was a gold medal favorite. With his intimidating Outdoor PR

of 6.01m (which earned him first place at the 1st SPAR European Team Championships in Leiria in 2009) and an equally impressive Indoor PR of 6.03m (which earned him first place at the 31st European Athletics Indoor Championships


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Bjorn Otto, Raphael Holzeppe and Renaud Lavillenie at the 2012 London Olympics Image by Victah, Photorun.net

in Paris in 2011) he brought the ability to soar over his competition and certainly lived up to the hype. In addition to his indoor and outdoor PRs, which are enough by themselves to strike nerves in his competitors, Lavillenie has won the 2012 European Championships with jumps of 5.92m and 5.97m and had his fourth win in a row this year at AREVA Paris where he started his jumping at 5.62m (while others started at 5.32m) and then passed at 5.72m. In 2009 Lavillenie took first place at the 30th European Athletics Indoor Championships with a jump of 5.81m. He also took first place at the 20th European Athletics Championships in Barcelona in 2010, the IAAF World Indoor Championships in Istanbul in 2012 and the 21st European Athletics Championships in Helsinki in 2012 with jumps of 5.85m, 5.95m and 5.97m respectively.

With stats like these it is no wonder Lavillenie was the favorite. However this Olympic win was by no means an easy victory for this exceptional vaulter. He may have the ability to be above the rest, but he went through a lot to get to this golden moment and beat out some strong competition. Lavillenie certainly deserves his achievement and respect for working through all the obstacles to get to this point. In pole vaulting, like all other sporting events, the outcomes are never guaranteed and hopes are easily taken away in an instant. Lavillenie knows this all too well as he had a setback in 2011 when he broke his left hand in training and had to undergo surgery to fix it. However, he managed to overcome the injury and the odds were in Lavillenie’s favor at the pole vault Olympic finals. Not only did he bring home the gold, but he set an Olympic pole vault record with a jump of 5.97m. Excitement was in the air with each of

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Lavillenie’s attempts and the crowd went crazy for him. This Olympic favorite lived up to his reputation and gave pole vaulting fans a great show. Overjoyed is probably an understatement for how the gold medalist felt after reaching the dream he had been working toward for a long time. He had trouble even believing it. Neil Maidment of Reuters quotes Lavillenie as telling reporters, “I can’t really believe it. Maybe tomorrow I will wake up and realize that I am an Olympic champion. The Germans were very strong and they pushed me to my limits. This has to be the best thing in my life.”

Renaud LaVillenie at the 2012 London Olympics Image by Victah, Photorun.net

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Bjorn Otto of Germany, one of the Germans Lavillenie was talking about in his dazed response to his victory, also lived up to his potential by taking the silver with a jump of 5.91m. He jumped his best of 5.92m in Helsinki and Potsdam so he definitely brought his all in the London Olympic Games with being so close to reaching his best again. His jump was not too far behind Lavillenie and it tied with his fellow German competitor Raphael Holzdeppe (the other German who gave Lavillenie a run for his money and who made his personal best with his 5.91m jump) – Otto got the silver based on having less misses.


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Image by Victah, Photorun.net

What is amazing is that Otto has also been the source of a lot of talk in men’s pole vault. He has been jumping right up there with Lavillenie at competitions and keeping things very exciting. Otto took third at AREVA Paris with a jump of 5.72m, and took the silver at the World Indoor Championships, the World Athletics Final and the European Championships. He also took the bronze medal at the European Indoor Championships and was a finalist at the World Championships. What are the chances that two favored vaulters would have such a great Olympic experience and finish so strong? What an exciting end for these two men. The success of Otto’s German teammate Raphael Holzdeppe also added an exciting element to the men’s pole vault in this Olympic Games. Not only did he tie with Otto’s silver medal winning jump in the final, but he managed to

finish first in the qualification round with a jump of 5.65m. With an outdoor PR of 5.72m at Bremen last year he certainly outdid himself and at 22 he seems to have a promising future as his marks have been rising steadily. Holzdeppe will probably continue to keep Lavillenie working hard with the way he is going.

went Lavillenie’s way. He pulled through and came out a winner in spite of everything in his way. “Renaud Lavillenie broke the men’s Olympic pole vault record 19.58 feet (5.97 meters) to take gold for France after an captivating competition.” It’s going to be exciting to see what’s next for him. Since he first started pole vaulting with a curtain rod at four years old (as recorded by london2012.com) and his passion does not seem to be going away we will most likely see him around the sport for a long time to come. He may even end up like his hero Sergei Bubka, as is a goal of Lavillenie’s (also according to london2012.com), and be so successful in his sport that a statue of him is erected in his honor. Congrats to our 2012 male pole vault Olympic gold medalist, Renaud Lavillenie. The hard work paid off.

With such a small Olympic team coming from Germany this time around in London, Otto and Holzdeppe brought much needed acknowledgement to their country with their silver and bronze medals. For Germany’s team of only 391 athletes the recognition these two amazing competitors have brought certainly is something they can be proud of. It may not be first place, but being placed second or third in the Olympics is far from failure and Otto and Holzdeppe competed well. So the 2012 London Olympics Image by Victah, Photorun.net

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VAULTER

MAGAZINE Yarisley Silva Image by Victah, Photorun.net

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www.thevaultermag.com Elena Isinbayeva Image by Victah, Photorun.net

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VAULTER

MAGAZINE Raphael Holzeppe Image by Victah, Photorun.net

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www.thevaultermag.com Renaud LaVillenie Image by Victah, Photorun.net

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athletes Find a Supportive atmosphere at placer High School By: Michelle Walthall

Placer High School, known as the Home of the Hillmen, in Auburn, California may be small, but Coach Kent Rhodes is turning out some successful vaulters with the help of the rest of the team of eight track and field coaches, a group of master vaulters who train with the team at times and parents. Coach Rhodes tells us that the inspirational Paul Lichfield, known as the Tuxedo Vaulter, has helped him this year when he was not training for the Trials. He also says that Stacy Dragila, who trains Lichfield, stops by now and then when she is in town and talks and gives advice to the group, which makes sense as the stadium at Placer High School is named after her - their 2000 Olympic gold medalist alumni and record holder for hurdles. Paul Lichfield and his fellow Olympian Tye Harvey have also conducted clinics at Placer and at the home of Coach Rhodes.

Ring Drills with Shelby Crider 11’6” PR incoming senior PHS being helped by Paul Lichfield “The Tuxedo Man” at Coach Rhodes home training center.

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The Auburn community helps make Placer’s pole vault program so noteworthy. “We have a very active vault community with many club programs as well as an indoor facility within an hour of our place that we use regularly,” says Coach Rhodes. This community involvement together with the involvement of famous track and

field athletes is a good combination for keeping up the enthusiasm and drive at Placer. What athlete wouldn’t appreciate so much support and learning from top athletes? A spirit of community and sportsmanship is something that Coach Rhodes strives to keep going

with his vaulters. He appreciates the importance of connections in the sport – between team mates as well as other athletes from all over. Journal Sports Writer Joshua Ansley quotes Coach Rhodes in an article for the Auburn Journal as saying, “Pole Vaulting has a tremendous communal aspect to it because poles are so expensive

PHS Team Shot Sitting: Bou Babcock 1st row: Coach Adam Fry, Lea Fong, Sarah Holt and Andrew Wong 2nd row: Pat Dellwo, Gavin Royce, James Vaughn, Shelby Crider and Coach Kent Rhodes

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Rope, Pullover and Ring Drills at Coach Rhodes home training center Left to Right: Shelby Crider, Lea Fong, Sarah Holt, John Hodge, Hayley Carbullido and Thomas Harari

there is often a lot of trading and loaning that takes place between teams. We try to offer support for those that want to improve all year long.” It seems Rhodes truly understands the needs of pole vaulters, and that he wants his vaulters, and all young athletes, to have what they need and be afforded every opportunity to shine and it shows by how well his team is doing. What a positive attitude to be passed down in the vaulting world. Placer has managed to get a nice facility set up also. Coach Rhodes

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says, “We have a UCS 1900 Pit and UCS 21’ standards long with an inventory of about 70 poles made up of UCS, Pacer and a few others that I have acquired over the years. I also have a Rick Attig swing up machine, rings, rope swing, high bar and a number of other equipment to aide in our training. I also have a full training facility at my house that we use for most of our off-season training.” With its famous helpers, Coach Rhode’s year-round dedication and such support from the community and parents it’s no wonder Placer has made a name for itself.

Coach Rhodes started his involvement with Placer eleven years ago as a parent helper and spent five years in that role. He moved on to become the Head Pole Vault Coach at Placer, and in his six years in this role Coach Rhodes has trained Tawny Lambert, class of 2008, who jumped 12’2” at the Air Force Academy, Dylan Swisley, class of 2009, who jumped 11’3” and is currently vaulting at UNR, Deric Hinch, class of 2010, who jumped 15’10” and is currently at ASU and David Rhodes, class of 2006, who jumped 15’9” at Cal Poly.


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And the success continues this year for the Placer team - incoming seniors Shelby Crider and Bou Babcock hold impressive PRs of 11’6” and 14’ respectively. Competition has gone pretty well for Placer this year as well. “We did the JOs both Regionals this year with our girls and won first, second and 4th in both meets,” says Rhodes, “Shelby Crider was our only vaulter to make it to State this year - she was 16th.” The amount of time Coach Rhodes puts into his pole vault team is surely another major reason they are accomplishing so much height. And, in his communal spirit, he stretches his teaching to more than just the Placer students. Coach Rhodes says, “I run a year-round program for both my vaulters from Placer [and] for a number of other vaulters from around the area. My high school group this last year was 13 vaulters - 6 girls and 7 boys. We are a small school with only 1300 students and are in division 4 because [of our] size. My group of vaulters that go year- round averages about 6 plus outside vaulters of other [schools average about] 5. I run my summer program not as an open pit, but as a very organized training program designed around each athlete. We also do a number of meets as well as the JOs keeping them focused on competing until late summer and then we go into our short run and off-runway work outs until we start preparing for the Vault Summit.” In addition to Coach Rhode’s dedication to their athletic training, his concern for his athletes as people is another reason Placer’s vaulters thrive and make a name for their school. The education athletes need to succeed in life is also important to Coach Rhodes. He says, “I have tried to help these vaulters to become not only great vaulters but getting them a great education and a strong work ethic in both areas.” With this wellrounded training, dedication and outside support from its community Placer will surely continue to make a name for itself in the world of pole vault and pave the way for future athletes. Good luck to Coach Rhodes, the Placer staff and the athletes they train. We hope to continue to see great things from Placer High School.

Bar drills at the home training with Shelby Crider PHS and Paul Lichfield “The Tuxedo Man” giving instruction.

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Peter Chapman

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www.thevaultermag.com Image by Victah, Photorun.net

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Get the Sparks Started FUN POLE VAULT GAME! By: Bubba Sparks Here is a great starting point for an offseason, as well as a good way to stimulate conversation. Dave Johnston is obsessive about a six step mid mark in this chart - http://www.bubbapv.com/Pages/dj.htm. Dave worked with Mike Tully for the 1984 Olympics and was active in the Arkansas State program when Earl Bell was coming up. I consider him a great sport scientist as you can tell by this chart. I have used this as my “go to” tool for most every vaulter of all levels, but not the way DJ likes it used.

the grip was 9’ 10”. In this case 33’ was the start of the run. You stay there until you can make 8’. Once you do, you get three attempts at 8’ 6” with the 8’ set up to see if you can “beat the list”. I’ve had vaulters beat the list by 3-4 heights after they got the timing. Next you move the start (mid) to 34’, the takeoff mat to 9’ and the grip to 10’ 2”. It takes most vaulters 2-3 sessions to get back up around their PRs but they are a lot more efficient when they get there and probably gripping lower on a bigger pole because their swing is better.

Long story short, I had a guy who could jump 15’ from 10 and 12 steps but only 15’ 3” from his long run. Another guy could jump 16’ from a short run and 16’ 1” from his long run. My theory was that SOME PLACE along the way they were losing efficiency and by using this chart I would find out where. My solution was to make all vaulters, 10’, 13’ 15’, or 18’, start the list at 8’ and jump every height so they could locate at what point their vault broke down. The 15’ 3” guy jumped 17’ 7” that year and the 16’ 1” guy jumped 18’ 4” within two years.

At some point you can’t get to the box with your first step at the mid so you move back a stride, but the rubber strip at the mid stays put. Your foot must hit behind the mid mat and the takeoff matt. If you make the bar but hit the rubber strips then it›s a miss. What you really learn is that with this method, at some point if you don’t run to the box you flat

DJ thinks you just catch the mid and that tells you about the jump. What I found was that the run didn’t really start until the athlete hit the mid. Many jumpers were too fast too early, reaching, chopping down, etc. So to me the first of the vault was like the ramp to the freeway and the mid in WAS the freeway. This chart just told you when to run. How did we do this? For 8’ I put a rubber mat at 33’ (mid) and at 8’ 8” for the takeoff, and

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won’t get there. This makes you run the last 1/3 of your run instead of the middle 1/3. The next thing is that the list works basically for everyone with a little variation for takeoff based on how tall/short you are. I like to point out that if you look at the start of a high hurdle race, all of the athletes are different heights yet the hurdles are in the same place for everyone. Some people have to work harder to get to the box from a mid than another, but they can always move back a stride. NOW the fun begins. One day I’ll start as list beater which

means you have the set up for 8” but you start at 8’6”. On another day I leave the grip but move the mid and take off out one setting to assure a giant free take off. These exaggerations come surprisingly easy for the vaulters after a few jumps. If nothing else it’s a heck of a lot of fun and you get a ton of jumps in while “Facing Your Demons”. Thinks about it; at a regular practice by the time you have to challenge your technique with your grip up and run back you may have 2-5 jumps left in the day. With this method

you have 15-25 and all of the energy in the world to mentally make yourself make the needed adjustments. Throughout the season if an athlete is coming off on an injury or just in a slump, I’ll have them go back and work their way through the list. This takes a lot of pressure off and reviews the fundamentals that made them successful. The bottom line – a guy went from 15’ 3” to 17’ 7” in one year after being stuck at 15’, and the guy stuck at 16’ went to 18’ 4” in two years. That’s all I needed to see to become a believer.

2012 the vaulter magazine

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VAULTER

MAGAZINE Elena Isinbayeva Image by Victah, Photorun.net

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www.thevaultermag.com Yarisley Silva Image by Victah, Photorun.net

2012 the vaulter magazine

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VAULTER

MAGAZINE Raphael Holzeppe Image by Victah, Photorun.net

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www.thevaultermag.com Anna Isinbayeva Image by Victah, Photorun.net

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George Barber lifelong Student By: Stuart Kantor

A lifelong student of the art and science of pole vaulting, George Barber, at age 51, embodies the same passion for his craft now as he did growing up in El Paso. While he may not approach his personal best of 17-10 ¾ (set in 1983), he recently cleared 14-00 at the San Marcos River vault (June 9, 2012). Born in Kincardine, Ontario, Canada on the shores of Lake Huron, Barber, a military son, moved to West Texas and learned to vault by default: “I vaulted on cactus sticks trying to keep up with my older brother mountain climbing in the Franklin Mountains.”

Barber’s keen eye for detail mixed with a scientific approach to vault mechanics and most importantly, the ability to transfer this information so that young vaulters understand expectations, has earned him the moniker Yoda. This collective wisdom has morphed into the Barber Model – a technique steeped in applied physics, emphasizing angular velocity, a philosophical break from (Vitaly) Petrov’s ‘pre-jump’ takeoff model. The Barber Model’s finest hour occurred August 4, 2012 at the

AAU Junior Olympics in Humble, Texas. Shawn Barber, George’s 18year old son and graduate of Kingwood Park, skied to a new United States high school record of 1803.50, surpassing Tommy Skipper’s 2003 mark by a half-inch. Does this metaphorical ‘raising of the bar’ validate decade’s worth of honing one’s philosophy? Perhaps. More importantly, George Barber’s meticulous attention to and implementation of applied physics has allowed him to continue involvement in a sport for which he’s never lost passion as a coach or participant.

At the University of Texas-El Paso, Barber earned Conference Champion honors in 1982-83, and he still ranks 5th on UTEP’s alltime Outdoor list at 17-04. A two-time competitor at the Canadian Olympic Trials, Barber also jumped against the legendary Sergei Bubka five times. “I always studied what his coaches told him.” George Barber

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www.thevaultermag.com Dylan Duvio

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VAULTER Magazine September Issue  

The Spetember Post Olympic Issue of VAULTER Magazine.

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