15 DEC 2011 Series

Hooker working on jump approach building-up towards Olympic Trials - IAAF Online Diaries

Steven Hooker of Australia prepares during the men's pole vault qualification round during day one - WCH Daegu 2011 (Getty Images)Steven Hooker of Australia prepares during the men's pole vault qualification round during day one - WCH Daegu 2011 (Getty Images) © Copyright

In his final athlete diary for the IAAF website, Olympic champion Steve Hooker teams up with Daegu 2011 Long Jump silver medallist Mitch Watt

“I’ve been in Brisbane for a week for a jumps camp with Mitch Watt and his coach, Gary Bourne.


“Gary is an expert on jumps and we felt we could learn something from him.


“The weather was awful, it rained pretty well every day, but we got some good work done. We were working on take-off cues, doing jump run-ups with long jumper Chris Noffke and triple jumper Henry Frayne.


“It might sound somewhat of a contradiction, given one is a vertical jump and the other a horizontal jump, but the pole vault take-off and the long-jump take-off are not that dissimilar.


“Pole vaulters don’t actually take off vertically, like a high jumper, but more in a 45-degree plane, like a long jumper. It’s only after take-off that we try to convert that into vertical lift. You can see it clearly in guys like Lazaro Borges in Daegu, he converts really well.


“Borges really came on well last year, improving from 5.75 to 5.90 and taking the silver medal in Daegu, but it’s no real surprise Cuba is finally producing some good vaulters.


“If there’s any shock, it’s probably that it’s taken so long. There’s such a lot of natural talent in the Caribbean, and Cuba has world-class hurdlers, throwers and jumpers. So obviously the coaching talent is there and it was only ever going to be a matter of time before they produced some vaulters too.


“After the Brisbane camp, I’m back in Perth now. I’ll be training off a short approach through most of January. I’ll probably look at a couple of competitions off my short-approach competition in January. It’s good to do that as a check on how things are going, technically.


“Then Mark Hollis, the US champion in 2010 (best of 5.75), is coming out for the Perth leg of the Australian domestic series in early February.


“I’ll keep working away on my full approach in the background and start competing off it in February-March as I build towards the Australian Olympic Trials.


“This is my final athlete diary. I’ve been doing it for three years. It has been an interesting experience, though I’ve got to say it’s a lot more fun in the good times than when things aren’t going so good.


“I’ve tried in what I say to reflect the way I’m feeling at the time. I hope it’s come through that I try to be positive about things. Even when I’m struggling, I try to focus on the positive things, the things I can get done, rather than the things I’m missing, or not able to do.


“So I hope my diaries have projected a feeling of optimism. That’s what I’ve tried to do, at least.


“All that remains is to wish everyone a Happy Christmas and all the best for the New Year, the London 2012 Olympic year.


“Bye for now,”

Steve