Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)



First Advisor

Peter M. McGinnis, Ph.D.

Second Advisor

Kevin Dames, Ph.D.

Third Advisor

Erik Lind, Ph.D.


Approach run velocity of a vaulter is strongly correlated to the highest height a vaulter clears in pole vault competition and the number of attempts taken throughout a competition influences pole vault strategy. Since approach run velocity greatly affects the crossbar height cleared and number of attempts affects time spent in the competition, perhaps a better approach to determine optimal competition strategy is to first identify how competition variables influence approach run velocity. The purpose of this study was to determine if the approach run velocity during a pole vaulter’s last clearance can be predicted by: (1) the number of previous attempts by the vaulter in the competition, (2) the range of approach run velocities in the vaulter’s previous attempts, and/or (3) the time elapsed from the vaulter’s first attempt to the vaulter’s final clearance. It was hypothesized that the total number of attempts, range of approach run velocity, and total time elapsed from first attempt to final clearance can adequately predict approach run velocity for a pole vaulter’s final clearance. Number of attempts was the lone statistically significant variable for predicting the Z-score of final clearance velocity. The prediction equation for the Z-score of the final clearance velocity using number of attempts is: VFclearance = 0.124 (Attempts) - 0.676. A second prediction equation formulated from the Z-score final clearance equation can predict real clearance velocities (m/s). The prediction equation for real clearance velocity is: Vpredicted = [0.124 (SD)](Attempts) - 0.676(SD) + VRavg. However, number of attempts only explains a very small percentage of variance in final clearance approach run velocity (6.3%). National caliber coaches and athletes may use the formulated Z-score prediction equation and/or real velocity prediction equation to estimate approach run velocity and make decisions regarding competition strategies to maximize performance.