INTERACTION BETWEEN THE POLE AND THE HUMAN BODY AND ITS EFFECT ON THE POLE VAULTING PERFORMANCE

  • A. Arampatzis
  • F. Schade
  • G. P. Brüggemann
Keywords: mechanical energy, strain energy, elasticity, energy conversion

Abstract

The purposes of this study were: (a) to examine the utilization of pole elasticity by the athletes through muscular work and to develope performance criteria throughout the pole vault and (b) to examine the reproducibility and the athlete's specificity of the developed criteria. In the study, 6 athletes performed from 4 to 11 trials each, at 90% of their respective personal best performance. All trials were recorded using four synchronized, genlocked video cameras operating at 50 Hz. The ground reaction forces exerted on the bottom of the pole were measured using a planting box fixed on a kistler force plate (1000 Hz). The interaction between athlete and pole may be split into two parts. During the first part of the interaction, energy is transferred into the pole and the total energy of the athlete decreases. The difference between the energy decrease of the athlete and the pole energy indicates if the athletes are producing additional energy by means of muscular work (criterion 1). In the second part of the interaction, energy is transferred back to the athlete and the total energy of the athlete increases. The difference between the returned pole energy and the amount of energy increase of the athlete defines criterion 2. The criteria are reproducible, specific to each athlete, capable of identifying deficits or strengths of the athlete's performance during his interaction with the pole; they can therefore estimate the quality of the technique during each of the phases of the interaction athlete-pole.