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Jamaica College Pole Vault Coach Orville Brown

Hi Chris,

Just wanted to thank you for stopping by today, I learned quite a bit during your brief stop, thought it great that the kids got to see technical efficiency close up, most of them were awed, which only served to motivate them. As you could detect we do the best we can with fairly crude facilities. We dont always have the benefit of the landing mats you saw today, those belong to the JAAA. We lost the mats we had in a store room fire about 4 years ago. As I told you we use the high jump mats to do mild stuff until we have access to the JAAA's landing mats at the beginning of January each year.
To give you a little background on myself, I pole vaulted in high school and last competed in 1985, PB of 11' 8"(really wanted to be a thrower but I could not make the team as a thrower that year so  I was offered the pole vault as my only option),  I was self taught, as  I had no coach, I developed an approach based on guess work and then had to teach my juniors the event based on the nothing that I knew. After high school  I went to college here in Jamaica worked for 2 years and then was inveigled back to my old high school to coach the pole vault in 1991, it was at that point  I started to really lean to coach the event by more guess work until  I figured out a formula based on research, videos and some ingenuity that got the kids to improve and the improvement got me even more motivated to learn the event. I coached my first high school champion in 1995 and my first two 4m vaulters back in 1998, got a kid over the 14' mark in 2004 and another in 2006, both of whom qualified to jump at the Penn Relays in those years. I have coached a total of 6 high school pole vault champions.

A major breakthrough came in 2008 when K'don Samuels a kid  I had been teaching the event since he was 12, equaled the Jamaican National Junior record of 4.60m at the Carifta Games, which was a 45cm improvement on his SB up to that point, he went on to place 6th at the Penn Relays in 2008. The NJR had been set by a kid who had spent a year in college in the US, so we were especially proud that he was totally home developed. He came back in 2009 where he broke every meet record he competed in locally, had a tragic NH in trying to defend his Carifta gold medal and two weeks later had a historic win at the Penn Relays, the first Jamaican of a small group of 6 who have ever qualified to  compete at Penn, he broke the NJR setting it at 4.80m, and went on to raise it higher to 4.85m at the Junior Pan American Games in Trinidad.

Below are youtube videos of Both Jumps     

I am a USATF level 1 certified coach, who coaches pole vault because  I love the event. I have been jeered as a coach pretty much as  I was jeered as an athlete when  I competed and persevered to have the last laugh as no one believed me when  I said  I wanted develop an athlete to win at Penn, win at a regional meet, qualify for a world games and then on to a medal. I may not stay in the sport long enough to achieve all that but I will surely have cut a path for somebody else to make that dream an easier reality.

K'don is like a son to me and I do hope we can win the respect of our sprint crazy country but, visionaries are usually laughed at to eventually get the last laugh.

I sure hope your interest in representing Jamaica materializes quickly as your experience, technical knowledge and contacts would go a far way in helping to develop pole vaulting in Jamaica, a dream started the quest to find the fastest man in the world here, a dream will help us hear the National anthem played at the Olympics or at Worlds for a winner in the Pole Vault.

Thank you again for stopping by and igniting the minds and hearts of my kids.

Keep in touch.

Orville Brown

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