By Brian Hendrickson
The NCAA Sport Science Institute, the National Federation of State High School Associations and USA Track and Field have partnered to develop a new online pole vault skill development program for both coaches and athletes.
The program, “Pole Vault: Successful Skill Development,” is available at nfhslearn.com. The program aims to help coaches better instruct introductory skills of pole vaulting to their athletes. It also provides athletes with step-by-step instruction about basic concepts and drills to enhance their knowledge of the sport.
The program is the Sport Science Institute’s most recent initiative to improve safety in pole vaulting.
The NCAA also previously hosted a meeting with representatives from NFHS, USATF and expert coaches in the sport. One of the meeting outcomes was to provide additional education for a coaches and athletes.
“Learning the basic skills and safety requirements for the event are key prevention strategies in pole vault,” said NCAA Sport Science Institute Director David Klossner. “All pole vault coaches, athletes and parents are encouraged to complete this free online sport education course.”
The NCAA has also taken steps beyond education to increase safety in the event.
The pole vault pit was expanded in 2002 in an effort to reduce injuries from missing the pit both off the back and on the sides, a common factor in many injuries. The change resulted in a reduction of catastrophic injuries.
That change will be augmented by a new padded box collar that will be required effective December 2013.
The NCAA Sport Science Institute recommends coaches and athletes review the online program, which focuses on skills development for beginners, drills and coaching techniques, instructions for maintaining a safe practice and competition environment, and other exercises and information elements to help athletes understand the science behind pole vaulting.