Keeping it Classy

My photo
Team Tuxedo is a small group of Elite Pole Vaulters with big dreams of having the honor of competing in the Olympic Games. We promote the great sport of Pole Vault with class and integrity and support its growth and survival through competition, coaching and training.

Monday, December 30, 2013

Get Ready for the Summit

Every pole vaulters favorite event of the year is right around the corner. The Reno Pole Vault Summit is such a wonderful event that sneaks up on all of us every year. With the holiday season taking up the majority of our time, we keep our plans and preparation for such an event in the back of our minds on the "to be dealt with list" and as it approaches, many of us panic. Although the weather has been outstanding in Northern California this winter, it hasn't changed the schedules of when area High Schools bring there pits, and standards out of wherever it is that they hide them, so that the athletes that like too take part in more than just the regular outdoor season have a place to practice. The other problem I see is that no one really knows how they are going to respond in competition each year, until they actually compete, and there are hardly any competitions before the all exciting, adrenaline pumping Summit, following the long drought of off-season.Which as a spectator, I must say, is a recipe for a pretty spectacular and entertaining acrobatic show, as a coach and supporter of safety, its not always the best situation. So my friends and fellow coaches in the area decided it be best if we hosted a few smaller pole vault meets at my place leading up to the Summit to help athletes properly prepare for the unpredictable variables associated with a competitive scenario.
I'm offering private lessons if you need more help preparing for the meet, the outdoor season, or even knowledge on college recruiting and college preparation. We are here to help, and I hope you can join us at my little field of dreams. 

contact me for questions at:

Meet Dates/Times
Saturday January 4th,   12:00 pm
Saturday January 11th, 12:00 pm
Cost: $10

Team Tuxedo Park, aka My Place
25238 Table Meadow rd.
Auburn, CA 95602

You must have a parent present to sign a liability waiver if you are under the age of 18. Otherwise I can email you one to bring along with you to the meets. 

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

An Awesome Pierson Visit

It’s been a crazy three weeks after the birth of my son. It was strange and awesome to be a father on father’s day. Meanwhile, we have had lots of welcome visitors, family and friends checking up on us and showing great support. Amongst them were my dear friends Sam and Emmy Pierson, both Idaho State Alumni and previous athletes I had the pleasure of coaching alongside of Dave Nielsen during my career at the University. Being new parents themselves, they have gone from being my students, to being my teachers and roll models in parenting and keeping up an active, happy and healthy lifestyle.

Difficult to put in the proper phrasing, Sam Pierson and Levi Keller (who I have to mention if I mention this side of Sam) are the most gifted “natural gymnast’s” (who were never gymnast’s) I have ever met. The pairing of the two of them while at Idaho State was something extraordinary to see. Modern day acrobats creating physical challenges for one another on a daily basis, from standing gainers for distance, handstand walk racing down the football stadium bleachers, to creating and naming there own flip tricks off of walls and trees. I could probably write a short book about all those stories, but I started writing today with different intentions in mind. Though they seem just out of my grasp of thought now that my memories and imagination are wondering, it could have something to do with the lack of sleep these past three weeks, the Black Keys blasting in the background I’m singing along too, the baby I’m rocking in a swing with my right foot while I type, or the 32 oz of French pressed coffee I just polished off that is the only thing that keeps my eyes open anymore.

Back on track, after being cooped up in my house for weeks with the new and confusing adventure of parenting I knew to take full advantage of one of my craziest friends coming through town. Sam, Emmy and baby Colton stayed with us for close to a week. Sam being a fellow brother of back pain and severe disc issues, we had planned to pole vault together while he was in town, but the long travel demanded a few days of recovery and rest first. So on those “recovery and rest days”, we went on epic advanced mountain bike rides both having a few decent flights through the air over our handle bars, played way too many holes of disc golf, and went rock climbing both taking trips up the wall on lead.

So after those three days of “rest”, we decided to jump. Maybe not the best setup for a session, but we still managed to have a lot of fun. Both going straight to our full approach runs we only put the bar up at 5.40m (17’8.5”) which would be a new backyard record. We failed to clear it, but had some exciting (when I see exciting I mean scary) jumps. We videoed most of them, and I thought I would share some.

Despite all the chaos, Sam has one of the classiest takeoffs in the business and those of you young folks out there looking for a model to mimic, here it is. Apologies for my old video camera that makes slow motion into a blurry mess, hopefully you can catch my meaning. I tried to freeze his takeoff in the video, so don’t think that your computer is frozen.

                                                Here is me showing you how not to takeoff. 

These are just two funny jumps of Sam and then Me

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Backyard Record

After 5 weeks of mostly physical boredom, do to fear of a medium threat knee injury, I decided that it was time to test it out. I started putting some mileage in on the bike about a week and a half ago and it has held up well so I felt confident it was time to do a test run, literally. While I was trying to decide what I should do for a running workout I reminded myself that for almost two years, I didn't do any running workouts, unless I was vaulting. So, although not on the safest course of action possible, the argument still seemed fairly logical, and I've been dying to jump obviously.
Home alone (don't jump alone, like all good coaches always say 'do like I say, not like I do') I headed down the dirt hill to my pit with a bag of random sized poles not knowing what to expect. For the first time in years, I did straight pole drills to warm up, knee felt great. I went back to a 14 step run ("7 lefts" if your from the western half of the US) and took some jumps. My camera with a view finder had a dead battery, so I had no way to catch my take off step or mid mark but I didn't really care, went by feel, just like the tougher pioneers of pole vault had too in the old days. My GoPro had some juice so I figured I would at least document my jumps for later viewing. A modest opinion of what I was potentially capable of that day, I started with a height of 15'7" after clearing it put the bar on the next set of pegs at 16'7", made it, then put the bar on the next set of pegs, so I didn't have to mess with the standards of course, at 17'7" clearing that with surprise. A long drug out story to tell you something that in your life is something close to meaningless, but in mine brought me a great feeling of joy, I broke the backyard pole vault record at my home facility, finally reclaiming ownership of the mark, and I did it at an extremely random and unlikely time with odd circumstances. When you perform well after weeks of zero preparation and a year of scattered half ass training, you always wonder what the hell you were doing wrong all those years you thought you were perfectly prepared. All you can do is laugh about it and enjoy the strange irony.

I would show you the video, but the jump was ugly enough that I'm embarrassed to share it, and I don't invite online outside analysis often, so here is a snap shot from the video of me sneaking over 17'7". I was on a 15.4 flex (195lb), 5.00m(16'5")pole, gripping 15'3", 14step (7left) run.

Thursday, May 2, 2013

Kasey and Annie

I had a fantastic time yesterday hanging out with Kasey and Annie Burlingham at my place. Before I ramble on too much I would first like to send a shout out to Dean Starkey and the Arizona Pole Vault Academy ( for the phenomenal work he has done with these two athletes. When I first met Kasey and Annie a few years ago it was easy to recognize that they both have been blessed with a great deal of talent and ability, but when they arrived at my house yesterday and began their jump session, they looked physically and technically like different athletes, playing on a much higher level. These two have a great deal of commitment and positive energy surrounding them, and have truly embraced the post-collegiate pole vault lifestyle, and I must say, it is a lifestyle that is difficult to commit too. My friend Kent Rhodes has a brilliant way that he always coins it like it were an ad in the classifieds "Have Poles, Will Travel" is exactly right. I'm very impressed with the progress and continued commitment of these two athletes.
Being on autopilot and so familiar with each others strengths and weaknesses they were a self sustaining unit during the session, both coaching, both vaulting. This was nice for me because I got to be a step catcher and spectator, allowing me to run around and snap some photos (which I never get to do). So I thought I would share some with you.
Last night I was trying to remember all the names of the great vaulters that have graced my humble "Field of Dreams" training grounds with there talent, in the brief but amazing 13 months it has stood. A talented and inspiring group of our current generation, I'm excited to see if it can create new memories for the next generation. 

Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Time to Take Advantage

Hello Everyone!
Guess what? I'm hurt. Tweaked my right knee a few weeks ago, tried to ice it and go on with regular activities, but as it turns out, that was a bad idea. A torn Meniscus is the diagnosis thus far. A major bummer because pretty much everything I do for fun requires highly active functioning legs. But I'm adjusting. The point I'm trying to make is that, I'm grounded. No travel for awhile, and no competing. So time to take advantage of me as a coach. I'm available for lessons and happy to come visit folks in Northern California, otherwise it just so happens that I have a UCS 1900 pole vault pit in my backyard, and 145' cement runway that has a light tail wind almost every day, some rings, a pull up bar, and a slack line all parked in the same area. I'm not using it for awhile, so you should. Contact me if you'd like to get together and do some fun but high quality vault work.