USA pole vault champion and qualified US Army officer Sam Kendricks gives his profound words of wisdom.

1. Stand your ground

“A great coach from the UK, Allan Williams, once told me: 'when you go to a championship and everyone is out of their element, if you can only stand up, most others will fall down around you and you'll be on top’.

“What he is saying is that as long as you don't fall below your usual standard – not sprint or jump, just stand up – then you will do well on the biggest stage. It is what I hope to do in future to be a consistent athlete.

“There have been occasions when I have fallen short of expectations. At the SEC Championships in 2013 I was underprepared working with longer poles and I did not jump my best and finished seventh. On that occasion I did not stand up.

“Yet my coach said he saw enough in me to believe that I could medal at the national championships. It was then up to me to fix it in order to be competitive.”

Kendricks finished seventh at the 2013 SEC Indoor Conference Championships with 5.22m. Two weeks later he won a bronze with 5.60m at the NCAA indoor champs.

Sam Kendricks ()

Kendricks will represent the USA for the first time in August's Beijing World Championships after a 5.75m clearance landed him the win at last week's nationals

2. Rest is important

“Most injuries in athletics don't come from competing, but training. So when it comes down to it, in order to be able to compete you need a healthy body, so you can never be over-rested.

“In 2014 I really tried to improve my physicality as a vaulter and I hurt my back. That was from over-training. I realised in order to reach my potential, I needed to give it time and allow my body the chance to mature.

“At the time it was a hard pill for me to swallow because I liked the thought of pushing myself hard, but when it came down to it, I was fooling myself to think I could manage training for athletics, the army and being a student without resting. I didn't want to admit I was mortal and that I wasn't a super-hero, but every athlete needs to rest.”

Sam Kendricks ()

Last year the Ole Mississippi student scored an NCAA/USA double and finished his outdoor season unbeaten

3. Keep it simple

“If you take away the hype and flashiness of the event, my mantra to be a successful pole vaulter is simple – if you have the right run, the right pole and the right grip, you can be a great vaulter.

“Sometimes many vaulters can lose sight of this and maybe grip too high. It hurts me to see vaulters fall away. These three elements can bring about a great improvement and enable you to be competitive. This is a very important concept.”