This is part 3 of the series on Coach Scott Simpson, who coaches Holly Bradshaw and Harry Coppell among others. In this piece, he speaks of the collegiality of vaulters and how he will help athletes other than his own in competitions. It is a fascinating dialectic.
Scott Simpson part 3 The fraternity of vaulters
I am always fascinated by the fraternity of the pole vault, the camaraderie of the vaulters, how the fierce competition is balanced with real friendships, also among the coaches, with a pole vault coach helping not only his athlete but her opponents! While the vaulters are competitors, they are also often friends. Watch Mondo and Sam. I was struck by Katie Nageotte’s behavior at the 2018 World Championships in Birmingham. A medal prospect, it just wasn’t her day but when she was out, she transformed herself into Sandi Morris’s assistant coach. She sat with Sandi, kept her relaxed between jumps encouraged her through the rest of the competition. In part three of my series with The British National Performance Institute Senior Coach for pole-vaulting, Scott Simpson, we discussed the friendships within the discipline.
“It’s a fascinating dynamic”, Simpson admits, “and I am really proud to be part of it. The only thing that comes close is the multi-eventers and of course, they are put together for two days and they have this brotherhood or sisterhood that we’re in this together and it’s going to be a real slog. Pole-vault is not too dissimilar with all the logistics of getting their poles around and sometimes we are in a minibus together going from one event to the next. And a pole-vault competition can last three or 4 hours. And all that brings people together plus, I think, there is something magical about the event. At a Diamond League, we would happily sit around the lunch table together and talk just about pole-vault and the nuances of it and look at each other’s jumps. I think it’s unique in that way and it seems to attract a certain type of person. And once a part of it just snowballs. In a way that culture has been set by the previous generation and we will set the tone for the next generation so it just carries on.
“As for helping people during the competition, that is an interesting one. I have a sort of agreement with Holly that I will help other athletes in a non-championship event. And, of course, it also means that if ever I cannot get to an event, I can pick up the telephone, call a coach and asked him to help Holly. It’s just an unspoken agreement that that is what is done. But, of course, it’s different at a championship, because I’m not going to sit there at the World Championships and help Katie Nageotte or someone beat Holly!”
I need to give a huge thank you to @Scott_Simpson_ for coaching me today. It speaks volumes about who he is as a person helping a competitor, and I’m just grateful â¤ï¸.
— Katie Nageotte (@ktnago13) May 28, 2021