This past week I drove to Concordia, Kansas to Jonesboro, Arkansas and back home, and put about 2200 miles on Amanda's '95 Chevy Corsica, all with the poles strapped to the side of the car. I went to Kansas for the Tailwind pole vault club's Doctoberfest competition. It was an awesome short run competition where we all ended up jumping from 4 or 5 lefts, Jeremy Scott ended up winning with 17'. I ended up making 16'6" after a couple of mulligan attempts, but had a great time at Doc's club. Tailwind Pole Vault Club is is the tiny town of Jamestown, Kansas but the coach Mark Breault brings in over 150 kids each year and teaches them to pole vault correctly and safely, what a great guy and great place that I will hopefully visit again in the future.
After Doctoberfest I drove down to Jonesboro, Arkansas home of Bell Athletics and famous pole vault coach Earl Bell. I drove down with Paul Litchfield and stayed at Daniel Rylands house while there. What a great time of being around like minded friends all with goals of competing to be the best. Waking up training, eating right all the while being accountable to great friends who are also competitors. Seeing the things that others are doing on a daily basis really made me think about the things that I needed to be doing at home to make sure I am the best that I can be.
I know that there has been a lot of talk going around about my recent coaching change and who I am working with now. I started working with Danny Wilkerson back at the start of 2008 and can not give enough credit to him as a coach and the improvements I have made because of him. Danny is one of if not the smartest guy I have ever had the opportunity to talk to and work with. His insight is not only on the mechanics of the vault but everything that goes into being a successful athlete at any level. For the better part of 3 years he wrote every workout I did, and was at 99.9 percent of those workouts and practices. I have no doubt that I am the athlete I am today because of his expertise, knowledge and hard work, and Danny I cant thank you enough for all youve done your are a great coach and friend. In the past year Danny and I have had differences in opinions on a few things, maybe just a disconnect between the model in his head and my understanding of that model. I was struggling in competitions, having some of the greatest opportunities of my life and not being able to capitalize, even make bars that I could of blindfolded in the past. Frustration mounted and finally peaked with me making the decision that I needed to go in a different direction. At the time I didnt know where that was but made the decision that it was ultimately up to me to improve and get to the place I want to be.
For the past month and a half Ive been searching, asking, and studying to find that breakthrough and if youve read my last couple of posts you know that Im excited about the improvements Ive made already. So to clear the air, I am my own coach, I am utilizing the knowledge of every coach I know but at the end of the day I am the decision maker and thats the way its going to be for the duration of this year.
Now that is out the way I can tell you I didnt discover a magical secret while down in Jonesboro in my jump, if there is one it is the group of people working together to push towards a shared goal. One thing that was really cool about Earl was he didnt try to change anything drastically in my jump, he fed off of what I was feeling and added his opinion. Which was cool because I think Ive already got a great start on what I need to do and changing that would have just been a step backward. I jumped twice while there and on my second session I was able to put a few things together and on my last jump I made a 5.20m/ 17' bar from 4 lefts! I have never really jumped at bars from that run so it was definitly a new PR for me which was a really cool way to end up a great week of training.
I drove back to Mishawaka Thursday night and started my training monday. Im sore today but know that soreness just means its the start of a new season. Im looking ahead to a great year and many more great opportunities. So I'l leave you tonight with video of that PR jump and Im sure Ill have many more to post in the near future.