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Old 06-21-17, 09:35 AM
psycho_dad psycho_dad is offline
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Things that puzzled me from District to State

I must first admit that I had 2 pole vaulters qualify to the state meet that both Push the poles instead of carry. They both finished dead last, but getting to the state meet was the goal. My boy vaulter does not handle pressure well and had he been able to just do what he had done the 2 weeks before, he would have scored. He could not handle the pressure he put on himself at the state meet and I found out that he is not a morning person. Worthless before noon. Not sure how he got through school. My girl can handle pressure and did very well. She was clearly the 16th vaulter at the meet, but had very respectable attempts at a height she had never seen before. As an outsider looking in, you might not think much of what we did, but I was happy with it. I've had better school record vaulters not make it to state because they could not handle the pressure to get there. My girl vaulter does nothing from the day after the last meet until the day of our first spring practice, so considering how technical the event is, she does ok.

With all that said and knowing that I have to do certain things with certain athletes because of limitations in their abilities, I'm astonished at some things I see at the top level of our sport.

I watched a team from the District to the State meet hand off in the sprint relays right hand to right hand all 3 exchanges. I saw them working on exchanges at the District and Regional meets and the coach trying to figure out why their spacing was so bad, but never once looked at the fact that they are occupying the same space in the lane because they are going right to right. The only chance we ever have is if we have perfect exchanges and this team was so talented that even messing up every exchange in the 4x200, they still made it to the state. WOW.

I must also note that I saw Buchtel boys use open exhanges in the 4x200 in 2006 or so, but they set a state record and they were just being safe.

Distance kids getting passed on the inside of lane 1 in the last 50 meters. No excuse for that. Not sure where someone has their head to allow that to happen. I see that more and more every year. Drives me crazy.

4x800 and 4x400 exchanges where the outgoing runner is facing the outside of the track taking the stick in their right hand. Drives me nuts.

I have other gripes, but I'll leave it at that for now. I'll add more later.
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Old 06-21-17, 10:39 AM
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Originally Posted by psycho_dad View Post
I must first admit that I had 2 pole vaulters qualify to the state meet that both Push the poles instead of carry. They both finished dead last, but getting to the state meet was the goal. My boy vaulter does not handle pressure well and had he been able to just do what he had done the 2 weeks before, he would have scored. He could not handle the pressure he put on himself at the state meet and I found out that he is not a morning person. Worthless before noon. Not sure how he got through school. My girl can handle pressure and did very well. She was clearly the 16th vaulter at the meet, but had very respectable attempts at a height she had never seen before. As an outsider looking in, you might not think much of what we did, but I was happy with it. I've had better school record vaulters not make it to state because they could not handle the pressure to get there. My girl vaulter does nothing from the day after the last meet until the day of our first spring practice, so considering how technical the event is, she does ok.

With all that said and knowing that I have to do certain things with certain athletes because of limitations in their abilities, I'm astonished at some things I see at the top level of our sport.

I watched a team from the District to the State meet hand off in the sprint relays right hand to right hand all 3 exchanges. I saw them working on exchanges at the District and Regional meets and the coach trying to figure out why their spacing was so bad, but never once looked at the fact that they are occupying the same space in the lane because they are going right to right. The only chance we ever have is if we have perfect exchanges and this team was so talented that even messing up every exchange in the 4x200, they still made it to the state. WOW.

I must also note that I saw Buchtel boys use open exhanges in the 4x200 in 2006 or so, but they set a state record and they were just being safe.

Distance kids getting passed on the inside of lane 1 in the last 50 meters. No excuse for that. Not sure where someone has their head to allow that to happen. I see that more and more every year. Drives me crazy.

4x800 and 4x400 exchanges where the outgoing runner is facing the outside of the track taking the stick in their right hand. Drives me nuts.

I have other gripes, but I'll leave it at that for now. I'll add more later.
I can almost live with that since some kids might be more worried about dropping the baton when they switch it from their left to their right hand (as many of us are righties), but what I can't believe is how little some kids move before getting the baton in those 2 relays. I can understand it if the incoming runner is dead (good job by the outgoing runner to read the situation and adjust) or if the outgoing runner is way faster and wants that baton ASAP to maximize their contribution. Under normal conditions though, I'm amazed at how many exchanges occur within the first 5 meters of the "California" zone.
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Old 06-21-17, 05:45 PM
KevinL KevinL is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by psycho_dad View Post
4x800 and 4x400 exchanges where the outgoing runner is facing the outside of the track taking the stick in their right hand. Drives me nuts.
Why? I was trained to carry the baton in my left (4x8) so that no one passing unexpectedly on my right could bump it. So we always took in the right and immediately switched to left. The exchange was left to right, with the outgoing runner facing out just as you describe.
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Old 06-21-17, 06:32 PM
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Originally Posted by psycho_dad View Post
I must first admit that I had 2 pole vaulters qualify to the state meet that both Push the poles instead of carry. They both finished dead last, but getting to the state meet was the goal. My boy vaulter does not handle pressure well and had he been able to just do what he had done the 2 weeks before, he would have scored. He could not handle the pressure he put on himself at the state meet and I found out that he is not a morning person. Worthless before noon. Not sure how he got through school. My girl can handle pressure and did very well. She was clearly the 16th vaulter at the meet, but had very respectable attempts at a height she had never seen before. As an outsider looking in, you might not think much of what we did, but I was happy with it. I've had better school record vaulters not make it to state because they could not handle the pressure to get there. My girl vaulter does nothing from the day after the last meet until the day of our first spring practice, so considering how technical the event is, she does ok.


Nobody is perfect. Maybe your male vaulter is puzzled as to why his coach couldn't come up with exercises in helping to reduce self inflicted pressure.

You say you were happy with their heights, but you list reasons for each as to how they could have done better. From what you wrote, all I get is he choked and she isn't dedicated. Seems to me, as a coach did you do everything in your power to help them succeed? If you did, then you have every right to put this on yappi...If not, then your opinion would have been better suited for a private conversation with each of these athletes. Of course this is just my opinion, which could be completely wrong. Nobody is perfect.
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Old 06-21-17, 09:14 PM
psycho_dad psycho_dad is offline
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Originally Posted by KevinL View Post
Why? I was trained to carry the baton in my left (4x8) so that no one passing unexpectedly on my right could bump it. So we always took in the right and immediately switched to left. The exchange was left to right, with the outgoing runner facing out just as you describe.
You don't control your lane at the exchange if you are facing the outside of the track. You stand on the inside of the lane and the next runner can crowd you and be right in your face. You face the inside of the track and stay at the outside of the lane and control the exchange zone and keep the lane all to yourself.
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Old 06-21-17, 09:23 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by KevinL View Post
Why? I was trained to carry the baton in my left (4x8) so that no one passing unexpectedly on my right could bump it. So we always took in the right and immediately switched to left. The exchange was left to right, with the outgoing runner facing out just as you describe.
If you're fortunate enough to exchange in lane 1 every time, it's not a big deal. Otherwise, it's nice to be able to see what's to the inside of your position on the track if you're receiving the baton outside of lane 1.

I can appreciate the reasoning for why you were coached to exchange that way, but in a large meet, I'm most concerned about congestion in the exchange zone. The most congestion is going to be to the inside of the track where the majority of the teams ahead of yours have already handed off or are about to hand off. It's a bit more difficult to avoid it if you can't see it.
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Old 06-22-17, 08:51 AM
coachwhitman coachwhitman is offline
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Yep

As usual, PD, you and I share gripes. When I watch exchanges at District and Regional, I often have to walk away shaking my head and wondering why coaches allow some of the things their kids do. My guess is that they just don't know any better.

The 4x2 has been the bane of my sprint coach existence forever because the exchanges are so difficult to simulate on practice. I've told my kids that the best way to practice 4x2 exchanges is to run a 4x2 in a meet. In the 4x1, it's just go full speed and adjust takeoff marks according to conditions (primarily wind). I've always found 4x4/4x8 exchanges to be simple-drive and look the stick into your left hand and then switch the stick to the right hand after it's secured in the left. But, back to the 4x2. I favor a modified Cali exchange where the outgoing runner drives from the beginning of the fly zone to the exchange zone where they turn and take the open exchange. I watched Warren JFK execute it to perfection 3 years ago and come to find out that many top collegiate sprint programs such at Texas A&M do the same thing. That's not an indictment of using blind exchanges if you have the time and personnel to do so.

The pet peeve I'd add is how many times I watch kids butcher drills-most notably the Mach drills and look up to see now coach in sight. When I see kids doing them correctly, I make my kids watch and point out how good those kids look at that point. Keep up the good work, PD. You guys rocked as usual this year.
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Old 06-22-17, 09:38 AM
coachwhitman coachwhitman is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by KevinL View Post
Why? I was trained to carry the baton in my left (4x8) so that no one passing unexpectedly on my right could bump it. So we always took in the right and immediately switched to left. The exchange was left to right, with the outgoing runner facing out just as you describe.
My college coach would say that same thing. He would say that back in the day, competitors would try to knock batons out of hands by hitting them on the knuckles. I politely explained that anyone purposely hitting me with their baton better be protecting their teeth as that's where my fist would be heading. Also, I never saw anyone knocking any sticks out in the 4x4.

I agree with the poster who referenced outgoing positions and wanting to see the teams in front of you so that you could adequately slide down. Nearly all the problems I've observed with that have come from teams whose outgoing runner faced the outside of the track.
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Old 06-22-17, 11:47 AM
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In a California exchange, if you face out and take in your right hand, then when you turn to run you are swinging the baton into other teams that are going to be trying to move down into you. It increases the risk of something going wrong. In addition, it is harder to manage moving down as teams hand off. Finally, if the exchange takes longer to execute then you will be reaching and turning the (long) wrong way on the curve. So yeah, if you are completely alone in front it probably doesn't matter. But there is no physical edge to outward facing, right hand taking even in that case, so why practice for something you won't do all the time?
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Old 06-22-17, 03:12 PM
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I would after with Psycho....lots of poor track skills out there.
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Old 06-22-17, 08:06 PM
fanofrunning fanofrunning is offline
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I notice many, many 4x800 exchanges occurring in the first 3 meters of a 20 meters exchange zone. I often think a team could run a faster time by managing those exchanges better. For instance, the faster runner would want to give up the baton as late as possible in the zone to a teammate who has a slower time at that distance. Most teams don't run their slowest runner first, so why do they give up the baton so early in the zone? Or am I overthinking it?
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Old 06-22-17, 08:25 PM
psycho_dad psycho_dad is offline
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This is how it should look for the 4x800

http://www.flotrack.org/video/494263...d#.WUxrZzY2zmQ

Notice the second leg passes on the inside. Should not have been allowed to happen.
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Old 06-22-17, 10:05 PM
mathking mathking is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by fanofrunning View Post
I notice many, many 4x800 exchanges occurring in the first 3 meters of a 20 meters exchange zone. I often think a team could run a faster time by managing those exchanges better. For instance, the faster runner would want to give up the baton as late as possible in the zone to a teammate who has a slower time at that distance. Most teams don't run their slowest runner first, so why do they give up the baton so early in the zone? Or am I overthinking it?
The thing about the 4x800 is that you want to look at how fast each runner starts and ends their race, not necessarily how fast they run the whole 800. The fatigue difference in an 800 between 795 and 805 is probably not significant. The outgoing runner is almost always going to be running faster than the incoming runner unless there is a huge difference in talent. Far more important than where the exchange takes place is whether the outgoing runner is moving at least as fast as the incoming runner when receiving the baton and whether they are able to stay clear of obstacles (runners who have already handed off) that might force him or her to slow down.
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Old 06-22-17, 11:29 PM
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Originally Posted by psycho_dad View Post
This is how it should look for the 4x800

http://www.flotrack.org/video/494263...d#.WUxrZzY2zmQ

Notice the second leg passes on the inside. Should not have been allowed to happen.
Gee, how did I know which video this was going to be without even reading the url?

Seriously though, that was a heck of a run that gets more impressive every time I watch it. It's too bad I missed prelim day that year to see it in person.

That 2nd leg (Sulzer, no?) passed on the inside both on the backstretch (on Dunbar) and the frontstretch (on St. V.).
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Old 06-23-17, 09:33 AM
yj_runfan yj_runfan is offline
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Originally Posted by Mr. Slippery View Post
Gee, how did I know which video this was going to be without even reading the url?
I was expecting this one:

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Old 06-23-17, 12:31 PM
madman madman is offline
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I enjoyed the comments by the parents as much as the race.
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Old 07-07-17, 02:28 PM
psycho_dad psycho_dad is offline
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Not sure how many follow the pole vault, but there is way too much PDA between male coaches and female athletes. I have had kids of mine that I have wanted to stay and watch other better vaulters after my vaulters were out and have my kids say no way coach, I'm not watching that girl and her coach anymore. I have to agree. No need for coaches helping their girls stretch. No need for hugging. No need for many other things I don't even feel comfortable stating here that I see. Has anyone else involved in the vault come across this? It's uncomfortable.
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Old 07-07-17, 11:39 PM
CoventryTrackXCguy CoventryTrackXCguy is offline
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Originally Posted by psycho_dad View Post
Not sure how many follow the pole vault, but there is way too much PDA between male coaches and female athletes. I have had kids of mine that I have wanted to stay and watch other better vaulters after my vaulters were out and have my kids say no way coach, I'm not watching that girl and her coach anymore. I have to agree. No need for coaches helping their girls stretch. No need for hugging. No need for many other things I don't even feel comfortable stating here that I see. Has anyone else involved in the vault come across this? It's uncomfortable.
Don't really follow the pole vault much, but this behavior does sound disturbing, and quite out of line. Is there any other spectators at your meets that are concerned?
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Old 07-08-17, 07:13 AM
Newton's Third Newton's Third is offline
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I was a teacher and coach for 35 years. I tried to treat coaching the same as my classroom whenever possible. I did not hug students when they did well on tests. I think most educators follow common sense. More coaches are coming from outside education without the same emphasis on physical boundaries. The pole vault is such a specific event that it seems most coaches come from outside educational training. I am not implying that they are not as good of coaches or that there are not positive and negative exceptions on both sides. Many from outside education approach coaching from a different angle and possibly different boundaries. I see a lot at track meets that would make me uncomfortable if it were my daughter.
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Old 07-08-17, 03:01 PM
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Newton's Law, I'm also a teacher and I've said the same thing quite often. One key component of our warm up is PNF (partner) stretching. I have simple rules regarding this. One is that boys stretch boys and girls stretch girls. The other is that Coach Whitman does not under any circumstances PNF any female athletes and rarely would partner stretch male athletes only if there weren't another male athlete available. I've seen too many male coaches touching female athletes-whether it be stretching or hugging them all the time. I *might* hug my female athletes at our banquet once in a blue moon, but it's definitely not a regular thing.
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Old 07-08-17, 04:25 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Newton's Third View Post
The pole vault is such a specific event that it seems most coaches come from outside educational training. I am not implying that they are not as good of coaches or that there are not positive and negative exceptions on both sides. Many from outside education approach coaching from a different angle and possibly different boundaries. I see a lot at track meets that would make me uncomfortable if it were my daughter.
Some vaulting coaches also have a background in gymnastics. If what you see around the vaulting pit between male coaches and female athletes makes you uncomfortable, you would be absolutely queasy at a gymnastics meet. Coincidentally, some of the coaches and trainers connected with US Gymnastics have been getting into a lot of trouble lately.
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Old 07-10-17, 02:22 PM
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I'm not sure what makes different people uncomfortable, but agree and enforce the stretching guidelines. I'm always surprised there is nothing about this in the formal coaching certifications. I have seen some strange stuff, girls running and jumping into the coaches arms comes to mind.

Think there are two different actions being mentioned, 1) coaches hugging kids and 2) coaches touching kids during coaching.

The only hugs I can think of is where pictures are being taken. I think most are were you side to side anyway, not front to front (whether they be with a boy or girl), which is something different and shouldn't happen IMHO.

Coaching PV does seem to require more contact with the kids. Discus does to some smaller extent.

As an aside, I always ask them (boy or girl) if its okay if I need to touch them for some reason. 99% of the time its to check there shoe fit.
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Old 07-10-17, 03:07 PM
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In somewhat of a defense of gymnastics coaches, some physical contact is often necessary when spotting some movements-particularly on bars and floor exercise. I've often observed similar spotting necessary in Pole Vault as well. I would not consider that to be different from the safety spotting we would all do and teach in the weight room. But, I think there is a clear difference between things done for physical safety and crossing emotional/excessive touching lines.

I will reiterate that a male coach should take great care to avoid any perception of impropriety (and yes I realize that it could happen in female coach/male athlete or even same gender coach/athlete situations as well) for the protection of both the athlete and their career. All it takes anymore is to be accused of wrong doing and you're done, even if you're eventually proved to be innocent.
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Old 07-10-17, 03:28 PM
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I am not a touchy/feely person, but I also think touch can be an important part of almost all relationships and have gone too far when we say we should get prior approval before we provide an encouraging pat on the back.

Here's an interesting article on the topic of teacher-student touch:

https://www.theatlantic.com/educatio...-touch/384706/

I am acutely aware of the dangers of not maintaining appropriate boundaries, but I also don't think the answer is going touchless. I think the article above provides some important vignettes of "safe" touch that are crucially important for those who have been harmed in the past.

I am certain that I could be a better coach if I didn't refrain from touching as much as I do. Other than a high five, or fist bump, I probably don't touch most of my athletes at all during a typical season. If I were coaching girls, I would almost certainly limit it to a high five or fist bump, but I don't think that's optimal.
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Old 07-11-17, 01:41 PM
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I coach boys and girls vaulters and throwers. Vaulters are much more body aware than most athletes. I can tell them I want their knee to drive a little harder or that they need to drag their take-off leg a fraction longer and they can usually do it. especially if we have video and go through it quickly. I typically do not video during a meet, just practice. Fist bumps, high fives and maybe a pat on the shoulder at a meet is all I ever do or see from 90% of other vault coaches. But at meets, I'm seeing girls jumping into a coaches arms and wrapping her legs around him. I've seen coaches and girls sharing a rain coat at the same time. I've seen coaches hugging a girl and lifting her off the ground. I've seen stretching and drills involving coach and vaulter that honestly made me think "I can't believe they are comfortable doing that in front of anyone." I had a vaulter say to me last year " Wonder what they do when there aren't 100 people watching them"? I've said stuff to coaches that I don't think they are being appropriate, but then I was wondering if I was just getting old. Our boys sprints coach is certified in the vault so that he can run it at our invites. He commented to me this year that he cannot believe what he sees at that event between male coaches and female athletes. Just shook his head and I agreed.

Even in practice, I very rarely have to touch a girl. Sometimes a hand in the small of the back if we have her hang from a pole in the take off position to get used to what it will feel like when the pole bends.

In the throws, I find I have to grab some hands and sometimes have to help a kid get into a position they don't think they can get to or just don't understand. My throwers are not nearly as athletic or body aware as my vaulters though. I don't see throws coaches at meets touching their girls while stretching and warming up or pulling them off to the side and touching them and putting them in positions they want to see their athlete get to. They use their words and video or demonstrate themselves just like 90% do at the vault.

There should be some sort of code of conduct when we get certified to coach pole vault. Never in the classes that I've taken, has the instructor touched anyone in anyway that crossed the line that I draw, so I'm not sure how these few coaches are allowed to do it at meets.
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Old 07-12-17, 02:11 PM
Running Man 101 Running Man 101 is offline
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Originally Posted by psycho_dad View Post
I coach boys and girls vaulters and throwers. Vaulters are much more body aware than most athletes. I can tell them I want their knee to drive a little harder or that they need to drag their take-off leg a fraction longer and they can usually do it. especially if we have video and go through it quickly. I typically do not video during a meet, just practice. Fist bumps, high fives and maybe a pat on the shoulder at a meet is all I ever do or see from 90% of other vault coaches. But at meets, I'm seeing girls jumping into a coaches arms and wrapping her legs around him. I've seen coaches and girls sharing a rain coat at the same time. I've seen coaches hugging a girl and lifting her off the ground. I've seen stretching and drills involving coach and vaulter that honestly made me think "I can't believe they are comfortable doing that in front of anyone." I had a vaulter say to me last year " Wonder what they do when there aren't 100 people watching them"? I've said stuff to coaches that I don't think they are being appropriate, but then I was wondering if I was just getting old. Our boys sprints coach is certified in the vault so that he can run it at our invites. He commented to me this year that he cannot believe what he sees at that event between male coaches and female athletes. Just shook his head and I agreed.

Even in practice, I very rarely have to touch a girl. Sometimes a hand in the small of the back if we have her hang from a pole in the take off position to get used to what it will feel like when the pole bends.

In the throws, I find I have to grab some hands and sometimes have to help a kid get into a position they don't think they can get to or just don't understand. My throwers are not nearly as athletic or body aware as my vaulters though. I don't see throws coaches at meets touching their girls while stretching and warming up or pulling them off to the side and touching them and putting them in positions they want to see their athlete get to. They use their words and video or demonstrate themselves just like 90% do at the vault.

There should be some sort of code of conduct when we get certified to coach pole vault. Never in the classes that I've taken, has the instructor touched anyone in anyway that crossed the line that I draw, so I'm not sure how these few coaches are allowed to do it at meets.
I think you and I are 100% aligned on the observations and the reactions. Before I became the head coach I coached PV and discus (these were my primary events in HS), so understand completely what is required very well.

I've seen the jumping in arms and wrapping legs around the coach to and makes me cringe. I would be livid if it were my daughter.

The times I find the hardest is when they are crying after a big disappointment. Just want to wrap your arm around them and tell it will be alright. I have more problems with some boys respecting the touching boundaries of coaches. It's especially bad if they play football or wrestle.
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