Club Information FAQ

Who can participate?
Where and when do you practice?
How do I start practicing with the Patriot Pole Vault Club?
How do I continue practicing with the Patriot Pole Vault Club?
What is USATF and why do we need to be a member?
Are coaches and parents allowed to attend?
What is the cost?
How do we pay?
Where does the money go
What do I need to bring?
Do I need to bring my own poles?
What is the practice format?
How do I communicate with the club & how does the club communicate with me?
How often should I vault?
Should I commit full time to vaulting? Should I stop doing other sports?

 

Who can participate?

The Patriot Pole Vault Club is an open club – athletes of any skill level ages 10 and up are eligible to participate. We do allow athletes younger than 10 if they show they can handle the physical and mental stresses of the event and follow the club practice routines.

If you are a brand new vaulter AWESOME! We welcome and encourage beginners – it means you can learn things correctly from the start :-)

 

Where and when do you practice?

Our current practice facilities are:

OUTDOORS

Westborough High School 90 West Main Street, Westborough MA 01581
East Longmeadow High School 180 Maple Street, East Longmeadow MA 01028
Merrimack College 315 Turnpike Street, North Andover MA 01845
Tufts University Ellis Oval on Lower Campus Road, Somerville MA 02144
Snyder Pole Vault Compound 36 Franklin Street, Saco ME 04072

INDOORS
Brandeis University Gosman Sports & Convocation Center, Waltham MA 02453

Check out our Practice Facilities page to see more details on where we practice

Each facility maintains their own schedule. Check out our Online Calendar for available practice times

All practices are weather & meet dependent. In case of high heat (90° and above) may be delayed until at least 5pm. All postponements and cancellations will be posted to our Facebook page, our Twitter feed and our Online Calendar

 

How do I start practicing with the Patriot Pole Vault Club?

A free trial session is available to any athlete who wishes to try out our program. Contact us via e-mail (polevault[at]patriotpv.com) or phone (617-302-PPVC) to set up a practice time. After your trial session you can decide or not whether you want to continue practicing with us and then we can discuss scheduling future practices and payment options. Please note that during the indoor season our space is limited and we have a set limit on the number of athletes that can attend each practice. Weekend practices are the best option for brand new vaulters.

 

How do I continue practicing with the Patriot Pole Vault Club?

Once you decide to continue practicing with us you are required to obtain a USATF (USA Track and Field) membership for insurance and liability purposes. We will need proof of your USATF membership before we can allow you to continue working out with us. There are NO exceptions to this rule. If necessary you can sign up for USATF membership at practice using your mobile device.

A year’s membership in the USATF costs $20 for those 18 and under and $30 for those 19 and up. It covers you until December 31st of the calendar year in which you sign up. The easiest way to sign up for USATF membership is online at the USATF website. As you register we ask that you list us as your “USATF-Registered Club”.

  • For athletes from Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Rhode Island and Vermont our club number is 0232 (full club number 02-0232)
  • For athletes from Connecticut our club number is 0392 (full club number 05-0392)
  • For athletes from Maine our club number is 0393 (full club number 01-0393)

Eventually USATF will send you a membership card but for our purposes just print out the receipt and bring it with you.

In addition we ask that you download, print and fill out the Patriot Pole Vault Club Athlete information packet and bring it with you.

Then contact us via e-mail (polevault[at]patriotpv.com) or phone (617-302-PPVC) to set up a practice time.

 

What is USATF and why do we need to be a member?

USATF is the national governing body for track and field in the United States and the membership covers supplementary insurance for each athlete during our practices. USATF membership is also required to jump at most open meets during the winter & summer.

Here is a link to USATF’s Insurance Information

 

Are coaches and parents allowed to attend?

Most definitely! Coaches, parents and other interested parties are invited and encouraged to attend and observe free of charge. They need not be members of the club or USATF.

 

What is the cost

Please note that it is the policy of the Patriot Pole Vault Club to allow ANYONE and EVERYONE to vault with us regardless of their ability to afford it. If you are experiencing financial difficulties and cannot afford the practice session fees please talk to us – we will work out a satisfactory solution to everyone’s benefit.

Our standard practice fee is $25 per session with any 10 practices for $225. Each additional family member is 50% off. Athletes may choose to pay per session or if you plan on practicing with us on a regular basis there are several different seasonal practice packages available providing discounts for vaulters and their families. We are more than willing to discuss installment plans or pro-rate package prices for athletes wishing to join midway through a season as long as there is space available.

The club runs practices year-round at numerous locations and we have divided the year into three seasons following very similar timelines to the high school track seasons in Massachusetts and New England:

  • The “Indoor” season runs from November until mid-March and is comprised of only indoor practices
  • The “Outdoor” season mimics the scholastic outdoor season and runs from mid-March (the first day of scholastic outdoor track practices) until mid June (the day after the New England Scholastic Championship Meet) and is comprised of outdoor practices 6 days per week and indoor practices when necessary
  • The “Summer/Fall” season runs from mid-June until the beginning of November and is comprised of of outdoor practices 6-7 days per week

During the Indoor Season (November-March) for collegiate athletes the cost is $10 per session as long as their coach is present. This is to help out colleges that do not have their own indoor facility to practice at. If their coach is not present the normal $25 per session fee applies.

During the Outdoor Season (March-June) all outdoor practices are and always will be free of charge in order to facilitate the proper and safe coaching of ANY athlete from ANY school that wishes to learn to event. We wish to make sure everyone has a fair shot at getting quality coaching at safe facilities as well as making the pole vault available to athletes whose schools do not have the facilities or equipment to host practices themselves.

 

How do we pay?

The Patriot Pole Vault Club accepts cash or checks. Checks should be made out to the “Patriot Pole Vault Club”. Currently we are unable to accept credit cards online, over the phone or in house but we are working on making that possible soon

 

Where does the money go?

All collected monies go directly into renting facilities, travel costs and buying and maintaining equipment for the club such as:

  • A landing system for use at our indoor practices and our special events (purchased in 2012 – $20,000)
  • Maintenance and upgrades on all of our mats at all of our facilities including new top pads ($1500 per set) and weather covers ($1500 per set)
  • An inventory of over 850 poles for club use and rentals ($300 to $700 per pole, around $25000 per year)
  • A portable runway to be used at special events (purchased in 2014 – $4000)
  • Video equipment for instantaneous technical feedback and watching of instructional videos which includes digital video & still cameras, an iPad, a Tivo digital recording system, televisions, VCRs & DVD players
  • Grip tape, pole wrap tape, pole tips, bungee cords, pole racks, pole bags, training devices and various other pole vault related equipment
  • Operational costs including our website, e-mail communications, meet sanctioning, facility certifications, certificates of insurance, publicity and printing

Additionally we also sponsor and put on pole vault specific events to promote the vault throughout New England.

All of the Patriot Pole Vault Club coaches volunteer their time and have full time jobs in order to support their coaching habits.

 

What do I need to bring?

You will need running shoes (spikes are optional and are okay to be used at any of our facilities although we do have to be very careful where we walk indoors…), workout clothes and a great “ready-to-learn” attitude. The club also requires that you bring a journal in order to write down information from your practice sessions such as drills done, poles & grips used, step marks and all other workout information.

For outdoor practices it is a good idea to bring sunscreen as well as plenty of fluids to drink and snacks to munch on as there aren’t any easily accessible water fountains or vending machines near the track. You may also want to bring a chair and/or umbrella.

For early spring and late fall outdoor practices where the temperature is chilly at best you will definitely want to dress up in layers. It is much better to remove layers because you are too warm than to freeze because you didn’t bring enough clothing.

 

Do I need to bring my own poles?

If you have your own poles and would like to use them you are more than welcome to do so. Each facility has an extensive collection of poles available for your use. If you do choose to use our poles it is your responsibility to treat them appropriately and make sure that they are returned in the same condition in which they are borrowed. Any athlete that abuses our poles will no longer be allowed to use them.

 

What is the practice format?

All of our practice sessions are overseen by one or more of our qualified staff coaches.

Generally our outdoor practices are “open pit” where you may come anytime during the scheduled practice time and may stay for as long as you like.

Due to time and space constraints indoor practices are more structured. Athletes are required to show up and be ready at the start of practice but may leave whenever needed. Athletes will be required to do a mandatory warmup and sprint mechanics routine (approximately 15-30 minutes) before we will allow them to begin vaulting. At the end of practices athletes are required to perform any additional conditioning and a cool down.

The practice focus will vary depending on the needs and ability of the athlete and the time of year. With that in mind most of our vaulting is done on shorter poles, shorter grips and shorter runs to improve skill learning and increase the number of successful attempts per workout. Only after basic skills are learned through numerous repetitions do we progress to more advanced skills, longer runs, higher grips and stiffer poles. In addition the athlete’s energy level also determines how far they progress at any given practice – it makes no sense to do full approach run vaults if the athlete is totally gassed.

>Besides vaulting we offer several “off-the-runway” supplemental training options during practices that include sprint mechanics & speed development, approach run & plant drills, technique work on rings, ropes & high bar, gymnastics, core body workouts, flexibility circuits, general strength development and video analysis of elite athletes.

 

How do I communicate with the club and how does the club communicate with me?

You can contact us in two ways. You may e-mail us at polevault@patriotpv.com or you may call us at 617-302-PPVC and one of our coaches will get back to you as soon as possible to answer your questions.

Please note that all coaches have full time jobs so e-mail is the best way to reach us during the day. After 3:00 calling is a much more viable option.

Our main method of communication with you is via e-mail. We use Constant Contact to maintain our ever-growing mailing list and to facilitate sending out our announcements and newsletters. You can sign up for our mailing list here

We maintain a calendar and schedule on our website that is updated daily and as changes occur. Important announcements such as practice delays or cancellations will be posted to our website, Facebook page & Twitter feed.

We highly encourage you to check your e-mail and our website on a regular basis for event announcements, club news and other pole vaulting related goodies.

 

How often should I vault?

That depends entirely on you :-) We understand that in this day and age it is difficult to commit to practicing several times per week due to academics, travel distances and other priorities. However, practice frequency is important in order to gain the benefit from the drills and routines that we use. It is suggested that you should make a commitment to attending practice at least once a week. More advanced athletes will want to practice 2 or 3 days a week.

Having said that there is also something to be said about overtraining. Jumping hard multiple days in a row is discouraged – athletes should take at least a day off between jump days. If you do plan on coming more than 3 times a week or multiple days in a row then you should expect at least one of those days to be a “no jump day” and instead for doing low impact drills, strength training & recovery.

 

Should I commit full time to vaulting? Should I stop doing other sports?

While we expect a commitment to practicing regularly in order to properly learn the event we do not demand that athletes commit to training only for the vault year round. We encourage all of our athletes to participate in other sports and activities. We don’t want to develop one-dimensional athletes – we want them to have a well-rounded resume of life experiences. In addition the last thing we want to do is have an athlete “burn out” from too much pole vaulting. We do implement mandatory periods away from vaulting for all of our athletes at several times during the year.