WHY DO YOU JUMP HIGHER WITH A FLEXIBLE VAULTING POLE?

  • N. Linthorne
Keywords: athletics, computer simulation, pole vault, takeoff

Abstract

A computer simulation study revealed why athletes are able to vault higher with a flexible fibre glass pole than with the old-style bamboo poles and steel poles. The crucial feature of the pole vault model was the inclusion of the energy losses associated with the pole plant and takeoff. The simulations showed that a flexible pole reduces the energy dissipated in the vaulter's body when the pole is planted into the takeoff box (as had been suggested previously). Also, a flexible pole lowers the optimum takeoff angle, and so the athlete loses less energy in jumping off the ground. This pole vault model could be combined with previous models to produce a computer simulation program that would allow sports scientists to provide correct biomechanical advice to athletes and coaches.