Physics of Pole Vaulting
Using very simple
physics principles (see below), this program lets you estimate how
high you could theoretically vault based on how tall you are and how
fast you can run, assuming you had the proper training and optimal
efficiency. To figure out how high you could vault, simply enter a
sprint speed and your height in the appropriate boxes.
is a wonderful illustration of how one type of energy is converted
to another type of energy. Through the proper use of the pole vault,
the energy of motion associated with the sprint is converted into
the energy needed to overcome gravity and reach a certain height.
The energy of motion is called "kinetic energy," while the energy
associated with working against gravity is called "gravitational
potential energy." The faster you can sprint toward the bar, the
higher you can vault over the bar, again assuming a proper technique.
is also a great example of the central principle in physics: the
conservation of energy.
of energy says that energy can never be created or destroyed; it
can only be converted from one form to another. When you pole vault,
what you ideally want is to convert all of your kinetic energy into
gravitational potential energy. In the real world, you can never
get a 100 percent conversion because some of the kinetic energy gets
converted into other kinds of energy, such as heat, friction, sound,
and vibrations of the pole itself. Nevertheless, the "ideal case" gives
you a good idea of how high you could jump.