Just a few months ago, the man responsible for 4 of our top rate pieces on pole vault education was Scott Simpson. Stuart Weir enjoyed his webinar so much, Stuart put together some excellent pieces on the webinar and our readers went nuts!
Scott Simpson and Holly Bradshawn, photo by Stuart Weir
This is a 4 part chance to learn more about Mr Pole-Vault in the UK: Scott Simpson. Special thanks to Stuart Weir.
Holly Bradshaw and Mrs. Sally Simpson, photo by Stuart Weir
Scott Simpson Mr Pole-vault
Scott Simpson is passionate about pole-vaulting! He competed internationally. He is now a highly respected coach. He even married to an elite pole-vaulter, Sally Peake.
As a young teenager he was a national-level gymnast when a teacher who was a pole-vault coach and “incredibly passionate about pole-vault” suggested to Scott that he try pole-vault. “Coincidentally, and isn’t it interesting how often these things seem to be coincidental, at around that time my gymnastics coach left my local club and I was left with that ‘what should I do now?’ situation. And at exactly the same time, this teacher approached me and asked me if I’d like to try pole-vault. And I went along.
“I was reasonably fast, always doing well at school sports, particularly sprints”, he recalls. “So that combination of the gymnastics background and speed led to me picking up pole-vault skills quite quickly. I made progress fairly fast and went to English schools as a 15 year-old and did quite well and my love for the event snowballed from there”.
His PR was 5.42m and he represented Wales in the Commonwealth Games in Melbourne 2006, as well as winning the GB Championship in 2001 and representing GB a number of times. When he was a student in Cardiff he started coaching in parallel with his own vaulting. It started with a children’s athletics academy for kids aged 10-14.
Two female athletes, he was coaching, were selected for the European Under 23 Championships in 2007. “Getting two women on a Great Britain team was a real motivation to me, after only working with them a couple years. They both made the final and did a brilliant job. But at the same time I was still ambitious, still hoping to make the Olympic team in 2008 so I was equally driven and motivated by that. Ultimately, I came up short. I was 29 and that spelt the end of my attempt to be a high-level athlete”.
His early successes made him want to do more coaching as he explains: “The experiences that I had had as a coach drove me into a more serious coaching role from 2008 onwards. I took a lot of fulfillment and enjoyment out of my own sporting endeavors but coaching, and helping other people to achieve their goals and the satisfaction of seeing athletes being better people and better athletes and achieving their objectives is truly amazing”.
Based at Loughborough, he has what he calls the longest job title in the world, The National Performance Institute Senior Coach for pole-vault. He explains: “I have three core objectives. The first one is to help pole-vault athletes who are on the world class programme to win global medals. That is probably 80% of my job. The other two objectives are to support the talent pathway, working with athletes just below the global level like Molly Caudrey, Sophie Cook, Charlie Myers and Jade Ive – making sure that they’re supported and get what they need. The third bit is helping to performance manage and liaise with other athletes on the world class program, for which I’m a designated point of contact. At the moment I work with Tim Duckworth, the decathlete and his coach, just providing them with what they need”. He is personal coach to several athletes including Holly Bradshaw, Harry Coppell and Sophie Cook.
Harry Coppell, British NR, pole vault, photo by British Athletics
In part 2 Scott will explain more of his approach to coaching.
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