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What Kind of Equipment Will My High School Pole Vaulter Need?

When your high school student decides that they would like to participate on the track and field team, specifically pole vaulting, you may wonder what type of equipment they will need to be involved in the sport. Understanding the type of investment that needs to be made will help you be prepared when the time arises to put out the cash.

This is an example of what a bar and pit will look like. These are used for the actual vault.

This is an example of what a bar and pit will look like. These are used for the actual vault.

What Items Will the School Provide?

The school will most likely provide most of the equipment such as the bar and pit and anything else associated with the actual pole vault itself.

What Items Do I Need to Provide?

There are some personal items that each pole vaulter will be required to provide.

  • Vaulting pole
    • Sometimes the school will supply vaulting poles for your student to use. This will eliminate the cost of purchasing one until you are sure this is something they are serious about doing.
    • Vaulting poles range in variety, size, and flexibility range.
    • The most important thing to consider is the pole’s weight range. In high school, it is required to have vaulters use a pole that is test-weighted to support a weight equal to or higher than their actual weight. This is required for the actual safety of the pole vaulter and reduces the risk of the vaulting pole breaking, which could result in injury.
    • They usually start in the $200 range.
  • Shoes
    • There are track shoes that are made specifically for pole vaulting known as “pole vaulting spikes.” These can run anywhere from $70-$120 but can sometimes be found on sale for about $50.
    • If your child is new to the sport, purchasing pole vaulting spikes may not be necessary. Any jump spikes (mid-distance, jump, or long distance spikes) you can find on sale or for a cheaper price will also suffice when they're just starting out.
    • The most important thing to consider when purchasing a pair of spikes is if there is some adequate padding in the heel. Without that heel padding, they may develop shin splints. For this reason, it's better to stay away from sprint spikes.
    • When used properly, spikes will help you run faster and give you better traction.
  • Pole vaulting helmet
    • In some states, a helmet is required for all vaulters. This is an issue that still raises quite a bit of controversy.
    • If you are considering an actual pole vaulting helmet, it can run anywhere from $100 or more.
    • Some coaches recommend any type of helmet, such as a skateboard helmet or any pro-tec helmet that starts around $35.
  • Pole vaulting tips
    • These will need to be replaced because of wear and tear or for cosmetic reasons.
    • Cost about $12-15 apiece
  • White athletic tape
    • This is a must for any pole vaulter to have in their bag. The vaulting pole constantly needs fresh tape wrapped around it.
    • runs about $3.50 per roll.
  • Pole grip tape
    • It is actually double sided sticky tape that makes your grip on the pole more solid.
    • runs about $16.00 a roll
The spikes on the bottom give the pole vaulter added traction when running.

The spikes on the bottom give the pole vaulter added traction when running.

Great Places to Look for Spikes

Talk to Your High School Pole Vaulting Coach

As with any extracurricular activity that your high school student participates in, there is an initial cash outlay that will be required. Shop around and see if you can find any used or pre-owned equipment that can make the investment a little less expensive. Talk to the track and field coach to see if he can suggest any other ways to make your high school pole vaulting experience any easier and more cost-effective.

Read More From Wehavekids

Have fun, and remember, the sky’s the limit in terms of fun and cost, so be warned!


In The Doghouse (author) from California on August 27, 2009:

Thanks for the positive comments. Pole vaulting is sort of an unknown area for most high school parents. I just wanted to share some information to make their pole vaulting experience a little easier.

Roberta Kyle from Central New Jersey on August 27, 2009:

really good and useful information on pole vaulting. I found it interesting even though I don't have a high schoool pole vaulter around:-)

eovery from MIddle of the Boondocks of Iowa on August 27, 2009:

I am glad your daughter is doing well.

Keep on Hubbing!

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