Action Analysis : Analysis and Discussion of Pole Vault and High Jump Action

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From the collection of Hans Perk at A. Film L.A. and reprinted here with his permission.

[...] of the vaulter to the way he holds the pole; then how he manipulates the pole. First the start, then the run - then he has to transfer the pole from a free movement in his arms to a hole in the ground on a dead run. So there must be, then, a change in the direction of the pole. Then there has to be a transition from his run into his jump.

Again, there are two factors in the actual vault; the movement forward, which he has generated in his run, and the actual spring itself which involves the leverage of his arms. At the moment of contact he is at a considerable distance from the hole in the ground, so that due to his momentum and the angle of the pole to the ground, there is a terrific strain which results in a throw forward and up at his end of the pole. In other words, in running forward, there is a tendency, because of the angle of the pole in the ground, for him to be lifted.

There is a point in this action where the momentum caused by the run tends to slow down as the pole raises towards a vertical position. The resulting power from the run is being dissipated. There is a transition point in the action where power from the run is transferred into a whip in the body. There is a point in the vault where the run is no longer important and all movement is resulting from muscular effort on the part of the vaulter. That point is where he goes over the pole.

Then there is the problem of what to do with the pole. He has to dispose of the pole so that it won't hit the bar. He has to throw the pole away from him as he drops over the bar as he prepares for his fall. In the actual fall he has to manage in some way to land so that he won't break his neck. this part of the action shows the most variety of all. None of the vaulters come down the same way except that they all come down feet first.

The action is made up of many different phases, and each phase is overlapped with the preceding action and the following action. No one part of the action is more important that another. All are vitally important and all of them have to be correct.

Then there is the plan of the whole action. This action is laid out on an axis. In other words it is a straight line action. The vaulter starts at one point and follows a straight course to the hole, he goes over the bar and continues in the same direction in which he started. It would be necessary to know how to lay out this scene, whether the vaulter were to come towards the camera, go away from it, or be handled in profile as in this case. And further, the whole plan of action is not only forward, but vertical.

J. Roberts: Isn't the staging controlled somewhat by the preceding and subsequent scenes in a picture?