The 21-year-old, who will be seeking to extend her winning sequence on Saturday at the European Trials and UK Championships in Sheffield, has made key changes to her technique working with Pfaff – a coaching all-rounder who guided Greg Rutherford to long jump glory at the London Olympic Games.

“The technical impact he’s had has been really good and I’m feeling better in the vault,” said Bleasdale, whose winning clearance of 4.75 metres at the Russian Winter Meeting in Moscow last week was the second highest in the world this year.

“The main thing he wanted to change was my run-up. Ever since I started pole vaulting I’ve just sprinted full on from the start of my run-up but Dan said I was not being productive in using the speed. Instead of working at 100 per cent on the run-up he said that if you work at 90 per cent and are much more controlled, then you carry more speed into the vault.”

Bleasdale has also altered the way she carries the pole, which makes it feel lighter in her hands, and she says the changes have brought greater consistency to her vaulting.

Lack of consistency proved an issue for Bleasdale last year after she began the season with a brilliant indoor clearance of 4.87m and went on to win world indoor bronze but she managed just 4.45m in the Olympic final to finish equal sixth.

“I think when I jumped 4.87 it was a bit ahead of where I really was last year,” she said. “It was great that I jumped it but I would have preferred to have a bunch of 4.80s instead of just one 87.

“I also think outdoors, when I look back, my average was probably around 4.40 if you add all my results together. I feel the changes have made me a much better athlete and going into this year’s outdoor season I’d be confident my average would be a lot higher than 4.40.”

Bleasdale’s selection for the European Indoor Championships in Gothenburg next month will be a formality but other British athletes will be battling for places on Saturday and Sunday at Sheffield’s English Institute of Sport. A first or second-place finish guarantees selection providing the athlete has the required qualifying standard.


bleasdale Vaulter Magazine
bleasdale Vaulter Magazine

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