Steven Hooker

Aiming at a better racing line while keeping an eye on the Europeans

Steve Hooker meets with the press at the Oslo pre-meet strawberry party (Bob Ramsak)Steve Hooker meets with the press at the Oslo pre-meet strawberry party (Bob Ramsak) © Copyright
3 August 2010Gokarting, a barbeque, a lowkey competition, and keeping an eye on Barcelona 2010, that’s how World and Olympic champion pole vaulter Steve Hooker has been filling in his time before the Samsung Diamond League resumes…

It’s good to have a little bit of down-time. I’m enjoying being able to spend a little time in one place, not travelling around all the time, just relaxing and training in Leverkusen.

Michael Schumacher’s go-kart centre is about 10 or 15 minutes out of Cologne. I‘ve been going out there a few times, trying to get my lap time down, that’s been a bit of a project.

The first time I went my time was in the 54-second range. Now it’s in the low 53s, so I’m definitely heading in the right direction. Apparently, if you get in the 52s you’re racing pretty well around the circuit, so that’s the aim, to get into the 52s by the end of the summer.

To get better you’ve got to drive a better line, basically, figure out the corners. On a couple of the corners I’m a bit of a wash-out; I’m just trying to figure them out slowly.

One of my training techniques is watching F1, trying to pick a few of the skills of those guys by osmosis. It seems to work, on the days after I’ve watched some F1 I definitely drive much better.

The Leverkusen training group organised a Pole Vault comp last week. Twelve guys jumped; I did 5.80 metres. Richie Spiegelburg was second with 5.55; a couple of guys jumped 5.45.

It was fun, just a bunch of us jumping. There was a barbeque going and everyone watching the competition was drinking Kolsch (a local beer speciality brewed in Cologne).

I had three good shots at 5.95. I felt good; it was on the runway where I do a lot of my training, so it was a comfortable place to jump.

For me, it was about having a fun, low-key competition. I’ve been in these meets where there was a lot of pressure, I felt like I had to perform, and some of them haven’t gone as well as I’d have liked.

I just wanted to have a competition where there was absolutely nothing at stake, just having a jump with friends. It was good, I enjoyed jumping pretty well and having a bunch of guys there who could give feedback on what I was doing.

It was nice going into a competition where I wasn’t really looking to get anything out of it, just get out, jump and enjoy myself.

We’ve been watching the European championships on television. The men’s Triple Jump was a pretty interesting competition the way it panned out. I was happy to see Phillips Idowu win. It was good to see him pull off a result the way he did.

We were all pretty happy with the women’s 100. Verena Sailer is the girlfriend of one of the Leverkusen pole-vaulters, so we were all cheering her along.

Then it’s back into competition for me. My season is going in a good direction. Four out of my last five comps I’ve cleared 5.80, so I feel like I’m really solid at that level, I’ve got a lot of confidence there. So I feel it’s time to jump higher than that. If I get a result above 5.80, I’ll be pretty happy with that. If you jump higher than 5.80 you’re always a chance to win the meet.

Till next time,

Steve