Stuart Weir did this piece on another part of the webinar emceed by Scott Simpson. This is an important series.
Moving to the next level
Another intriguing topic discussed on recent webinar put on by English Athletics, moderated by Scott Simpson, GB National Performance Institute Senior Coach, and featuring Katerina Stefanidi, Holly Bradshaw and Katie Nageotte was how you make progress in your event. It is a very familiar situation for athletes to be stuck at a particular time or distance and to be unsure how to progress. In the webinar, Scott identified the move from 4.50 to 4.70 as one which most women vaulters struggle with at some time and some never manage to progress beyond it. He asked all three to comment on the challenge
“I think youngsters don’t value the consistency of month by month training, thinking ‘this is what I want to do. I want to move up this pole etc’. Instead, it’s all a big rush and while you might get results in the short term, my experience with injury showed me that it’s a long-term journey. You need to change one variable at a time and make the whole thing very progressive. It takes a long time to build a good momentum and good confidence. People underestimate how much a big jump affects someone’s confidence
“People under-estimate how valuable short approach work can be – even four steps, six sets it steps. I’ve done a whole session on four steps. Because I don’t have a lot of speed I have to jump well”.
“What I feel is missing among some of the younger girls is the respect for the sport – specifically respect for the professional part of the sport. I remember at the London 2017 when the bronze medal height was 4.65 – not a great height but it was a World Championship and afterwards I heard people saying “if I had been there and I could’ve won a medal at the World Championship”. Professional sport doesn’t work that way and I think there is massive lack of respect for what we do. We are out there jumping 20 or 30 times a year. And I think more and more this is happening because more girls are jumping higher, younger. They’re breaking age group records; they are breaking high school records. Because of that I think there is a bigger lack of respect being created. There is a massive difference in level from 4.30, 4.40 that you’re jumping when you’re one of the best as a junior to 4.70. But even for the girl jumping 4.50 to get to 4.60. That is a different level and to do it under the conditions that we have to do it”.
“People sometimes think ‘I have improved this much year to year so I naturally going to go this much again’. What people don’t realize is that when you get to a certain height and I would say for women it’s about 4.70 that you are fighting tooth and nail for every centimeter beyond that. And it doesn’t come easily. It comes from every day putting in the work. It is every little thing you’re doing. I didn’t appreciate that when I was younger. I was good when I was young but I had to learn how to work hard. And I had to work really hard for the first time in my life – as opposed to just doing well on talent. And as a female you cannot ‘talent’ your way much beyond 4.60 or 4.70 because of that point we’re all equally gifted and it’s what you are doing that will set you apart.
You can watch the webinar videos on https://www.athleticshub.co.uk/public/
England Athletics twitter – @EnglandAthletic
England Athletics Jumps twitter – @Englandjumps1
Scott Simpson – @Scott_Simpson_