Pole Vaulting in Phoenix

Did you ever dream of soar­ing through the air at 7+ feet or high­er? I def­i­nite­ly did not, but that is exact­ly what I was doing Fri­day night. How Aaron gets me into these things is beyond me but after last night’s meet, I was real­ly glad he got me into this one.

A lit­tle over a year ago Aaron found out about a pole vault­ing club in Tuc­son. He was pumped — he hadn’t vault­ed since high school and fan­ta­sized about soar­ing over a 14 foot bar again. I was excit­ed for him but nev­er imag­ined myself vault­ing. Hav­ing a lit­tle fear of heights, I don’t think pole vault­ing is some­thing I would grav­i­tate towards. After a few prac­tices Aaron talked me into going to watch. I am not a watch­er — I am a doer. I didn’t last long just watch­ing. That first night I just got on the tram­po­line to “warm up” — it was a cool night for just sit­ting around. The next prac­tice I went to try this pole vault­ing thing.

Jenny Preparing to Vault
Men­tal Prepa­ra­tion

Well learn­ing how to pole vault has been a slow process with a cou­ple of injuries along the way but here I am a year lat­er com­pet­ing in my first meet. It wasn’t as scary as I antic­i­pat­ed, in fact it was rather excit­ing and not scary at all. I was the only female vaulter thus, as long as I cleared some­thing, I would “win”. Well I start­ed at 6 ft. and cleared that with no prob­lems. We bumped it up 6 inch­es and I cleared it again — no prob­lem. Sev­en feet took two attempts to clear and 7′6″ proved too much for me. After every jump I was gid­dy with excite­ment. It was hard to believe that I was actu­al­ly pole vault­ing.

Vaulting at Phoenix Inv.

I am excit­ed about our next meet and look­ing for­ward to prac­tice. I have lots left to learn — in my opin­ion I have only learned half of the vault — I can plant and jump but I don’ t real­ly invert or turn over the bar. It makes clear­ing the bar a lit­tle dif­fi­cult since I go over side­ways. I tend to be a slow method­i­cal learn­er, espe­cial­ly when it comes to sports but you know, the beau­ty of the whole thing is that I can learn this at a grad­ual pace. I am not lim­it­ed to a 3 month track sea­son or even four years of high school. I real­ly have as long as my won­der­ful coach­es are will­ing to coach.

To be quite hon­est, as with most new things I try the vault has real­ly been a life les­son for me. The most impor­tant thing about the vault for me is learn­ing how to step out of my com­fort zone into an area of uncer­tain­ty in order to improve. If I nev­er leave my com­fort zone, I don’t chal­lenge myself to become bet­ter. I put a lot of trust in my coach­es and in myself that I can do what I am asked to do. With each lit­tle suc­cess, a sliv­er of con­fi­dence is gained. That con­fi­dence is crit­i­cal for me. If I don’t believe I can do some­thing I usu­al­ly won’t. How­ev­er if I believe I can, I have a much greater chance of actu­al­ly doing it. So as for me in the vault, nine feet here I come!

Oh yeah, I also did long jump at the meet — it was ugly- enough said!

View the rest of the pic­tures from the meet (includ­ing some of Aaron) .

5 thoughts on “Pole Vaulting in Phoenix

  1. Leah

    Wow! 7′ in your first Offi­cial Meet! You go girl! And don’t let that hus­band of yours fool you either.…It’s been a long time, but I believe that 7′ was his first Offi­cial Height. I am so proud of you and know that your fam­i­ly is too. I love your writ­ing, and hope you con­tin­ue to post. Way to go, Jen!

    Reply
  2. Aaron

    Actu­al­ly, my 7th grade year I no-height­ed at every meet. Then I jumped 9′6″ at the end of my 8th grade sea­son when coach asked me to try it one more time. You may recall that I had writ­ten off the vault and decid­ed I was a dis­cus throw­er.

    It was awe­some watch­ing Jen­ny clear bar after bar. She looked so hap­py and was hav­ing a blast. I can’t wait till our next meet.

    Reply
  3. Pam

    Jen,
    That sounds so excit­ing. I am so glad you are able to over come your fear and do all the things you do. I know you will go far in life just by your will­ing­ness to take risks. I want to come out and see you do 9′ okay.

    Reply
  4. Jason

    Jen,

    That is quite an accom­plish­ment. Please keep us post­ed on your results as you con­tin­ue com­pet­ing. Aaron, you still reach­ing for 14′6″?

    Reply

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