Coaching Staff

Our diverse and talented coaching staff aims to help every vaulter succeed. With our club size and large number of coaches, each athlete can expect lots of individual attention. Although a good vaulter does not necessarily make a good coach and the converse, our coaching staff together have a huge range of experience and expertise to help all levels of vaulters. We include a world level pole vaulter, two DIII All-Americans, a new coach already with four All-American honors for his athletes, and a vaulter who has gone from distance running to a PR of 14' 3" in 4 years.

As a staff, we have already shown our success in a varied range, from introducing the even to vaulter who clears 10' 6" in her first year to helping a veteran vaulter improve her PR by 10" in a season. We believe that any vaulter, regardless of talent or level, can make huge improvements by pursuing a fundamental model of the pole vault and striving for a deeper understanding of the event. Meet out staff:

Patrick Barragán:

Patrick Barragán graduated from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in 2008 with a degree in mechanical engineering and another in EECS. At the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, he cleared 14' 9" (4.50 m) his senior year. After coaching for the last month of his senior year, Patrick took the reigns of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology vault coach.

In his first year, all of his athletes improved by an average of 1 foot, the largest being 2' 3". He has also coached 2 two-time All-Americans between the 2009 indoor and outdoor seasons.In addition, Patrick has taught the event from scratch to a female Massachusetts Institute of Technology athlete who cleared 10' 6" in her first season competing in the event.

Patrick coordinates the Tech Pole Vault Club. Contact him at <mitpvc at gmail dot com>.

Alexandre Barbaud:

Alex Barbaud is a world class French pole vaulter. He cleared his personal best of 18' 10" (5.75 m) outdoors in 2003. His indoor PR, also acheived in 2003, is 18' 4.5" (5.60 m).

Alex began pole vaulting in 1995. Eight years later in 2003, he qualified for World Championships in Paris. Alex has jumped with the greatest vaulters in the world.

Alex is visitng the United States with his wife and child while his wife works at Tufts University. Alex is excited to help coach at the club, and you may even get to see him jump. Click here  for more information.

Nathan Ball:

Nate Ball graduated from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in 2005 with a BS in mechanical engineering and again in 2007 with a MS in the same field. While at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Nate cleared 16' 9" (5.10 m) to set a new Massachusetts Institute of Technology school record. In his time, Nate competed at the DIII National Championship many times and achieved All-American Honors twice with a highest finish of 4th in the nation.

In graduate school, Nate began coaching the vault at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. In his two years coaching, his athletes improved tremendously with one increasing his personal best by 2' 3". Ball also taught the event from scratch to a female Massachusetts Institute of Technology athlete who cleared 9' 6" in her first year competing in the event.

Nate works full time as the Chief Technical Officer of Atlas Devices, a company that he founded with collegues in 2004. He also hosts a PBS show Design Squad that aims to introduce children to engineering and stimulate their interest in the subject. He still vaults in his spare time.

Emily Hwang:

Emily Hwang graduated from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in 2009 with a degree in EECS. While at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, she improved from 10' coming in to a personal best and Massachusetts Institute of Technology school record of 12' 7.5" (3.85 m) her senior year. Emily competed at the DIII National Championships three times, receiving All-American honors twice with a highest finish of 4th place.

Emily now works as a software engineer at Next Jump Inc. in Cambridge, Ma. In her off time, she plans to continue to train her technique to fully utilize the 14' poles she has previously jumped on and significantly improve her PR.

Nathaniel Sharpe:

Nate Sharpe graduated from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology with a BS in mechanical engineering. Nate started his Massachusetts Institute of Technology athletic career as a distance runner, running his freshman season of cross country. In high school, he ran a 4:32 mile.

At the beginning of the indoor track season, Nate was asked to transition over to the vault because of his previous circus experience. Although his body had been trained almost in opposition to the traits needed for the vault, he used hard work, a deep technical knowledge of the event, and impeccable form to clear 14' 3" (4.35 m) during his indoor season senior year.

Tragedy struck when he tore the ligaments in his left thumb during an indoor practice. However, with the same work ethic that got him where he was then, Nate continued to train with one arm and even competed in his first outdoor meet with one hand where he nearly cleared the opening height of 11'. Getting the use of his other hand back during the outdoor season, Nate bounced back quickly and cleared 14' 3" again at the New England DIII Championship placing 5th.

Receiving the Marshall Scholarship, Nate will attend Cambridge University in Cambridge, England next year. In his free time, he and his brother perform as one of the best diabolo juggling teams in the world. Besides performing at Fanuiel Hall all summer, Nate is excited to bring the knowledge of the vault that led to his success to the Tech Pole Vault Club this summer.