Track & Field/Pole Vault


Hello. I'm a girl. I'm trying out to do pole vault for the first time. I was wondering what kind of stuff will I be going though? What's the worse that can happen to me? Do you think I'm ready for this?


Welcome to the reality of learning limits and goals!  I do not mean that rudely, but Pole Vault is an awesome beginning for a very dangerous event in a sport often regarded as dangerous.  Coaches and officials offer Pole Vault clinics and they are not easy.  The sport is dangerous partly because of difficulty in developing one's skills and in finding a good coach, and a safe place to learn and practice this very appealing event.  

Please find a very qualified and certified coach or a Track and Field Club where you can learn from seasoned athletes with safe equipment to learn skills safely.

I cannot make any judgment about your ability, personality and movement of your body as you go through the beginning of a difficult event.  You will need courage, endurance, commitment and strength to become a real competitor. As a woman you will aim for a place in one of the smaller of all the sports communities.  I am not a coach but an official and a fan.  

Your last question was do I think you are "ready for this."  I have tried to paint a mental picture of the challenges pole vault will present.  I do not know anything more about you such as height, weight, age, musculature or flexibility and cannot gauge whether YOU can do it, but I can tell you that if you can conquer this event you will earn respect of those who never try.  I am sorry I cannot give you a better answer, but it would be a shame to let you go forward without having some idea of what you are doing and where you can be going. Best of luck, Dick Howland

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Richard Howland


I am a master USATF Track and Field official and can answer questions about officiating high school (NFHS), college (NCAA), National (USATF) and international in field events. I am not a coach except for other officials. My specialties are the Field events except pole vault.


I delight in meeting athletes from all backgrounds and ages. I have even officiated field events for a one hundred year old long jumper as well as many "Master" and "Senior" athletes. Special olympics is a great event for officials to volunteer and see the essence of good sport on the faces of the athletes. After thirty three years as a trial lawyer in Massachusetts with a focus on sports law, among others, I retired and devote much of my time to officiating. I referee soccer, time football, officiate swimming and diving, and officiate and start all events in track and field. My special focus in field events. In high school and college I played soccer, squash and lacrosse, but track was not available in any depth then. Since I was a lawyer I began officiating and training to officiate sports which I could fit into my schedule. I honestly do not remember when I first started track and field officiating, but estimate that I have been very active for at least fifteen years. I regularly officiate all events and levels.

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