FOOT PLACEMENT AT 45-DEGREE ANGLE, NOT PARALLEL, TO THE MAT
Foot placement is important for two different reasons. First, it prevents injuries. If your athlete plants their foot parallel to the mat it puts a strain on their jump knee and ankle. Athletes have broken their ankle because of planting parallel!
Second, a 45-degree ankle helps the athlete’s body clear the bar quicker. A parallel plant will make the athlete travel along the bar leading them to come down on the bar. Foot placement does not get the athlete's back to the bar, the knee drive does this!
Notice how the foot is parallel to the mat instead of a 45-degree angle. The athlete ends up traveling along the bar and hitting it off.
This is an example of a good 45-degree angle plant.
LAST THREE STEPS ARE QUICK
The last three steps are the most important part of the approach and takeoff. The last 5 steps of every approach should be the same as the last three steps being the quickest and most aggressive.
The second to last step is called the penultimate step and the final step is the plant. The distance between the penultimate step and the final step should be quicker and slightly shorter than the rest of the steps. The plant should be like having your athlete put on a slipper.
SHOULDERS AWAY FROM THE BAR
Shoulders need to stay away from the bar during takeoff. This is especially difficult if your athlete cannot jump over a bar taller than themselves, so naturally, ladies tend to struggle with this the most. The plant foot to the shoulders should be a straight line.