Mental Health Tools for On and Off the Pole Vault Runway
In pole vault (or high jump), If you really break it down, it's only ever you vs the bar. I've even seen Mondo say the same thing in an interview when asked who his biggest competition is.
The beautiful thing about our sport is that your biggest competition is the next bar!
I had a big meet at the prestigious Drake Relays. To say I was nervous was an understatement since I was competing against the German Record holder, American record holder, and French record holder who at the time was the World freaking record holder.
I felt way out of my league and it must have shown on my face because my Bahamas Buddy Trev, a world-class high jumper who was also competing at the meet came up to me and asked what was wrong.
I told him the situation and he interrupted me and said "Shawn man, It's only ever you vs the bar."
He then turned and walked away like an action star walking away from an explosion. "Man, he's cool."
I went to the meet and was surprisingly calm as I focused on competing against the bar vs these world-class guys. It helped!
When the meet was over, I found myself placed somewhere in the middle of a loaded field. I held my own with the best vaulters in the world.
Over the years I've heard some amazing coaches and athletes use the same phrase. It's something I preach at my camps and I hope it helps you and your athletes too.
- Use the band as a reminder that its only ever you vs the bar.
Besides looking awesome here are three ways to use this band as a tool to vault higher
1. Give it a snap!
As pole vaulters, we get in our heads a lot. After talking to many sports psychologists and mental health experts,keeping the mind and the body in the same place can improve performance.
When you notice your mind in the future or the past, give the band a little snap to bring the mind and body back together, take a deep breath and focus on the sensation for 15-30 seconds. The mind and body work best when they're working together!
2. Switch Wrists
This one comes from Sports Psychology guru Robert Andrews. As athletes, we can be incredibly self-critical. One way to help with negative or critical thoughts is by bringing awareness to these thoughts.
When you notice negative self-talk, switch the band to the other wrist. You might find yourself doing this 100 times on the first day, which is good!
Over time you'll develop more awareness of these thoughts which breaks the stream and lessons the negative chatter. As you can imagine, your performance will improve as you lessen the chatter of the bully in your mind.
A common PTSD technique to help “Get out of your head” when we have big emotions and difficult thoughts that create an internal storm. This can be especially true when moving up poles, competing at big meets, or attempting something you've never done.
The technique is to find 5 things you can see, 4 you can feel, 3 you can hear, 2 you can smell, 1 you can taste. You can use the bands colors, patterns, and textures to help.
Grounding can help calm the storm. It's easier to vault in the sun with a killer tailwind!
Keep your focus and stay on track with this Pole Vault band. Made with a cloth elastic for a comfortable fit. Perfect for pole vaulters of all levels, this bracelet is a great way to show your passion for the sport or to send as a gift.
Suitable for all levels
Sizing - S/M fits 80% of all people.
Shipping: Free shipping on all domestic orders over $60