Updated 12/23/12

PIAA Rules Interpretation Presentations 
Click here for Garden Spot Shot Put Video

Long Jump
Triple Jump
High Jump
Pole Vault
Shot Counter

Click here for the 2013 NFHS rules

Rules changes for Pole Vault
7-5-19 Changes the range for the position of the standards to 18 inches
(45.7cm) measured beyond the vertical plane of the top of the
stopboard, zero (0) point, up to a maximum distance of 31.5 inches (80cm) in the direction of the landing surface.
7-5-21 Forearm covers may be worn to prevent injuries and competitors
may also use chalk or an adhesive or similar substance such as
rosin directly on the pole during competition.


The purpose of this page is to illustrate the techniques of running field events. It is primarily meant for dual meets, for event judges not always regular officials, and is not meant as a replacement for the NFHS rule book. The rules themselves do not completely explain the way a field event should be run.

Note: Two 2006 major rules changes involving Pennsylvania Track & Field:
1. Shot & Discus sectors are reduced to 34.92 degrees (60' @ 100') by 2006-07. This will also require a cage change.

This year both High School Discus & Shot will use the 34.92 degree sector

2007 Discus Cage ( the critical dimensions are the front gates)

2. Socks are no longer considered part of the uniform.

All field events are plagued with the problem of conflicting events. That is, athletes are scheduled or told to go to more than one event at a time. In large meets this is usually handled by event scheduling and cooperation between officials. In dual meets, at least in our league, this is a growing problem to the extent that field events especially high jump & pole vault may be going on as much as a hour after the track events are over. The problem is a lack of communication between officials, coaches and athletes and it is not an easy one to solve. One helpful area would be to have coaches make sure the event judge is aware of scratches. Traditionally track events take precedence over field events and high jump & pole vault (now that there is boys & girls PV) take precedence over the over field events. To some extent there has to be a lessening of the hard rule of track events taking absolute precedence.
In an easier said than done way, the event judge should keep the athlete competing at his event as long as possible and leave for as short a time as possible. This is accomplished best in a dual meet by cooperating with the starter. If the athletes & coaches know the race will not start without them the pressure to leave early is reduced. This may seem trivial but even in a properly called meet a 15 second event can cost the field event 20 minutes if the athlete leaves on first call. I have been at several meets where athletes were held for 45 minutes for the 4x100 relay that takes less than a minute. The event judge has the responsibility to foresee conflicts by asking the competitors whether they are in other events and knowing when the the events are run so that the competition order can be rearranged. The major hold up in the High Jump and the Pole Vault is the bar cannot be lowered once competition begins except for tie breaking.
The major conflicts to watch out for in the high jump are the shorter races & the horizontal jumps. The 100, 200, 4x100, & sometimes the 4x400 are the major problems. The competitor should return as soon as his event is over. You not need to make him jump right away but he should be back.
More and more schools are going to open pit for the horizontal jumps. While I find some problems with this idea it does help with the vertical jump conflicts.


The runway, board(s), & pit are arranged as shown below ( these are sketches, not to scale ):

Most schools would not need the 12' board recommended for boys competition. The 8' board is needed for Junior High competition. If your facility does not have an 8' board you can add one using white duck tape. The sketch below illustrates the usual construction of the take off board:

As an event judge you usually have little to do with the physical setup discussed above. In some cases where the board is loose in the pan you can use wooden wedges to keep it from moving or to make it level with the runway. Fixing a measuring tape along the border of the runway removes some of the confusion of athletes measuring during warm-ups.You do have many jobs in a typical dual meet situation. There are three absolute necessities when officiating the long jump. They are: Checking whether the competitor's takeoff foot left the board or runway before or after the scratch line, Marking the point in the pit where he/she ( will usually use he or his from now on) touched closest to the scratch line, and Measuring the distance from the mark to the scratch line. Perhaps the easiest way to describe your duties is to enumerate the jobs done at a championship meet. Here you have 7 to 9 members to a crew:
1. Flight coordinator
2. One or two checking the board for fouls
3. Someone to announce performances (usually with performance board)
4. Some one to record the performances
5. Someone to pull tape for measurement
6. Some one to mark
7. One or two to rake the pit
What this usually means to you as an official at a dual meet is that you do the first five jobs and someone else does the rest. To start you should gather your long jumpers together to go over the rules, warn them about jewelry (Note: the 2005 PA rules allow a body suit to be used as a uniform), tell them which board to use, and make sure they understand where the scratch line is. Also in both the long & triple jump they can use up to two markers outside of the runway boundaries as long as they are behind the scratch line. Describe how you are going to call them up and when you are going to start their one minute time to initiate their jump. Make sure they understand this. If they are doing an open pit inform them that no one will be allowed to jump after a certain time.Talk to whomever is marking to make sure they understand how to mark. Call someone up, someone on deck, and someone on hold. Repeat the name of the person that is up and start his/her time. You should be at the takeoff board. Watch the jumper run down the runway until they are about 10 to 15' from the board and then focus on the scratch line to check whether they foul. If a legal jump, have the marker place the 0 end of the tape at the mark the jumper makes in the pit (closest to the scratch line). Pull the tape past the scratch line and parallel to the runway (or perpendicular to the scratch line).Read tape where it crosses the scratch line to the nearest lesser one quarter inch. Announce and record the measurement. Have your helper rake the pit. When it is level to your satisfaction, Start over with the next jumper. Usually each jumper will get 3 jumps in the trials and a certain number (four plus any ties for fourth place in LLL dual meets) will go to the finals where they will each get 3 more jumps. All their jumps count with their longest jump used for deciding place and recorded in the meet results.Ties in these results broken by the next best jump.

Animations marked with RD are by Rolf Dober

Almost the same as long jump in physical setup except the recommended boards for high school are 24 & 32' from the pit. These may be wooden boards like those of the long jump or simply painted lines. This first critical change from the long jump is that you must make sure that there are boards at the proper distance from the pit. The 24' board for girls and the 32' for boys are adequate for almost all situations. Occasionally an athlete or coach will tell you that he needs a longer or shorter board either to make the pit or to avoid stepping into the pit in the second phase. I always put a shorter board in (white duck tape like mentioned for the long jump) because of safety. In the case of the request for a longer board I very seldom allow one. The reason is again safety. Coaches and athletes often believe that forcing a longer board improves the jump. They will tell you they jumped so-and-so but they won't tell you that was only once in their life or that it was estimated from a practice. Since this is a delicate situation where you are responsible for safety and not supposed to be coaching, I usually tell the person I will watch the practice to see if the athlete is close to stepping into the pit. If so I will allow her to jump on the further board. In the boys case I will add a board (white tape again). A 24' board is adequate for a jump of ~ 36' and a 32' board is adequate for a jump of ~ 48' (=3/2 x board distance). This of course assumes equal phases.
After the boards are finalized (the competitor may change boards during competition but may not have a run through) you then meet with the athletes as in the long jump only this time note which board each competitor is going to use. You will have to align yourself with the proper board to call the foul. It is helpful to have cones at the proper board. Call the athletes up,on deck, & on hold as in the long jump. Repeat up and start the one minute time. Here you should ask your helper in the pit to check the athlete for the proper form of the triple jump. Because you have to watch the take off step it is sometimes difficult to watch the hop-skip-& jump. The pit person has a better view of this than you. The jumper can drag the off foot on the runway but cannot use it as an extra step. The proper form is better described by saying the jumper takes off on one foot, lands first on that foot, alternates landing on the other foot, and jumps into the pit from that foot.
The remaining part of the triple jump is the same as the long jump.


Again we start with setting up the jump site. The standards & the bar are illustrated above. The first thing to do is to plumb the standards. (i.e.: make them vertical). Set the standards so that the bar is just in front of the pad (see below) and so that there is about a thumb's width of space between the end of the bar & the standards. After the standards are set, mark the position by putting tape around the bottom of the standards. Also mark the bar (mark on one face of the square end) so that it will be orientated the same every time it is placed on the standard's pads. Note the pads should be facing towards each other. Next check the heights of the pads. The standards should be adjusted so the two heights marked test height on the sketch are approximately the starting height. Because of the sag of the bar this will be close to the correct height. Then measure the height illustrated above. Adjust both standards the same amount until the starting height ( given to you) is measured. The bar is raised in increments of 2 inches unless you are told otherwise. This is necessary because the height markings on the standards are never correct. They can be used to judge the increments of movement after the initial height is correct. From above this would look like the sketch shown below:

For safety reasons it is important for both the high jump & the pole vault pads to have a tight cover. The pads are usually made up of several segments. If the cover is not tight the athlete could slip partially between the pads and injure himself. As the competition proceeds you must constantly check the position of the pad relative to the bar. It must be behind the plane of the bar and not touching the standards. The number and type of markers the competitors may use will be given. After the setup is correct, gather the jumpers, go over the rules, & ask what height each jumper would like to take his first jump. If a jumper passes three consecutive heights, he may have a practice jump without the bar before the competition is started at the new height. Call the athletes up, on deck, & on hold. Repeat up and start the minute allowed to initiate. Note, after the time is started he may not pass that jump. In meets with a large number of competitors you use a moving flight called five alive so the athlete does not have to wait a long time between jumps. This is rarely done in dual meets. The bar cannot be lowered once competition has begun except to break a first place tie. A competitor continues to jump until he has three consecutive misses or failed jumps. He can abort a jump as long as he does not touch the surface or the pad beyond the plane of the bar and as long as he initiates the jump before his minute is up. While the event judge may not have the means to do so, a marking of the jumping surface from directly below the bar towards the pad would aid the judge in deciding whether the jumper touched beyond the the plane of he bar. The event judge makes the decision as to whether the jump is made. This and the determination of a foul on an aborted jump requires an observer near the end of the bar and looking along the bar to see if the athlete hits the bar. Please note:neither the time the athlete gets off the pad nor where they get off the pad should be considered when deciding whether the jump is made. Tie breakers as used to decide the places. The first tie breaker is the least number of jumps at the tied height. The second is the least number of misses (passes do not count) in the competition. If neither breaks the tie it remains except for first place. If there is a tie for first place, a jump-off procedure must be used. The tied competitors must jump again at the missed height. If one makes it & the other doesn't he wins. If both make it the bar is moved up 1 inch and both jump again. If both miss the bar is lowered 1 inch and both jump. this continues until someone wins the jump off. The competitors must jump every time passes are not allowed in the jump-off. They are awarded their highest wherever it occurred. Because of the many mistakes made in breaking ties in the High Jump & the Pole vault the rule book should be checked when ties are checked. The rules change over the years and there is often confusion on tie breaking. The points for ties, in all events, are added up and divided equally among those tied.

No one may practice until his pole is checked to see if the pole rating is equal to or greater than their weight. Their weight is determined by the sheet given to you or the head field judge prior to competition. Improper poles should be removed from the competition area.The information on the bar height adjustment for the pole vault is the same as the high jump except you may need a ladder or measuring device to check the height. Unless changed by the games the height increment for the pole vault is 6". The critical change for the pole vault is the adjustment of the horizontal position of the bar relative the planting box. The sketch below illustrates this point:

The head field judge checks the pad & padding. Now when you give the rules to the athletes you must also ask where they want their standards. The standards may be set anywhere from 18 to 31.5 inches [45 to 80 cm] (NCAA is 45 to 80 cm.) beyond the top of the planting box as illustrated. Athletes may change them as the competition continues. Now you call the athletes up, on deck, & on hold and then ask the up person where the standards should be set. After they are set, start the one minute the competitor has to initiate his jump. They cannot pass the jump after their time starts. Have someone be ready to catch a properly released pole especially on a windy day. They may abort their jump if they do not they or their pole does not touch something beyond the planting box and they initiate their actual jump before their 1 1/2 minute is up. A warm-up jump without the bar is allowed after 3 consecutive heights are passed. No taping of the hands or fingers except to cover wounds is permitted. No gloves are allowed.They may not raise their upper hand during the jump or hold the pole above the top hand-hold band. Ties are handled in the same way as the high jump. Increments for breaking the tie are 3".

7-5-8 Effective immediately the overall size of the pole vault landing pad shall be a minimum of 19’8” wide by 20'2" deep. The landing surface measured beyond the back of the standard bases, shall be be a minimum of 19'8" wide. The dimension of the landing surface in back of the vaulting box to the back of the landing pad shall 16’5” deep. The material in the pad shall be high enough and of a composition that will decelerate the landing. When the landing pad is made up of two or more sections, the landing surface shall include a common cover or pad extending over all sections.
7-5-9 The front sections of the landing pad, known as the front buns, shall be a minimum of 16'5" wide so as to cover the entire area around the landing box to the inside edges of the standard bases up to the front edge of the plant box. The maximum cutout for the planting box shall be 36 inches in width measured across the bottom of the cutout. The edges of the front of the landing pad immediately behind the planting box shall not be placed more than three inches from the top of the back of the planting box. The front pad shall be attached to the main landing pad, or encased in a common cover.

Sketch of new pad minimum dimensions

7-5-11 The width between the pins that support the cross bar shall be not less than 13’8” (4.16m) or more than 14’8”(4.48m) apart.
7-5-12 The non-metal crossbar shall be 14’10” (4.52m) in length, of uniform thickness, and shall have a weight of not more than 5 pounds.
7-5-13 A planting box shall be located midway between the standards. This box shall be constructed of concrete, fiberglass, metal, or other hard surface material into which the vaulting pole is placed so the top edges are at or below ground level. The front edge of the box shall not extend above the grade of the runway surface.

NOTE: It is recommended the planting box be of a color contrasting to the color of the runway and landing pad.

7-5-14 A minimum of 2” dense foam padding (box collar) shall be used to pad any hard and unyielding surface including between the planting box and all pads.
7-5-20 A mark or marker shall not be placed on the runway, but it is permissible to place markers at the side of the runway. Meet management may provide check marks, not more than three inches long, on the runway as follows: Starting at the back of the planting box, mark intervals in the following manner: 6’, 7’, 8’, 9’, 10’, 11’, 12’, 13’, 20’, 30’, 40’, 50’, 60’, 70’, 80’, 90’, 100’, 110’, 120’.


This year (2002) NFHS & PIAA mandates the IAAF specs. In order to compete the athlete must use a javelin with an IAAF approved decal or have his javelin checked for compliance. The illustration shown above shows a means of checking the javelin. A pink (girls javelin) rectangle and a blue (boys javelin) rectangle are painted on piece of wood at the distances shown from a raised wedge. The javelin in question is balanced on the wedge. The balance point should be near the second wrap of the front end of the whipcord. If the point end of the javelin lies between the front & back of the respective rectangle it is a new javelin. Also this year, the scratch line arc may only be a painted arc if it is on a synthetic surface. A wood, plastic, or metal arc is required otherwise. No marks other than the distance arcs may be used in the sector. Both during warm-ups & competition all the javelins should be carefully returned to one side only.

Sketch of Javelin facility.

You call the competitors up as before and he gets one minute to initiate his throw. No taping of the hands. No 360 degree turns are allowed. Must be thrown over arm. Must contact the whipcord properly. May not touch the runway lines. Must leave the runway behind the arc (scratch arc extensions added this year) after the implement has landed and the judge says mark. Your marker has to mark the point of first contact with the ground. This can be front tip, back tip, or whipcord. If this point is within the sector, he places the 0 end of the tape at that point. You pull the tape through the intersection point of the sector lines. And read the tape at the scratch line to the nearest lesser inch. Ties in the throwing events are broken by the next best throw.

Note: The 34.92 Degree Sector Will be used starting 2006-2007 (60' at 100')
See sketches at top of page

The 2007 National Federation rules require the NCAA sector of 34.92 degrees to be used. A competitor must initiate his throw in 1 minute. No tape on hand & fingers except to cover a wound. You may ask to see it. He can enter the circle anywhere he wants to but must leave the back half of the circle after the implement has landed and the judge says mark. If the implement hits on or outside the sector lines it is a foul throw. Measurement is to the nearest lesser 1 inch. No marks other than the distance arcs may be used in the sector.

Check the implements for irregularities. Go over the rules including preventive officiating such as warning about jewelry and leaving the back of the circle. Note the marks for delineating the front & back half of the circle. These were not included in the shot put sketch but should be on both circles. Explain the fouls and scoring procedure. LLL uses 3 & 3 unless both coaches agree on 4 & done. Note the measurement is to the inside if the painted line or ring. Because the discus is a dangerous event, there has to be a cage around the discus circle. Only the thrower is allowed inside the cage after he is called up. The judge, the tape puller, & the rest of the athletes & spectators Must be outside of the cage. Make sure the every one but the thrower is behind the line indicated in blue in the sketch below. Keep in mind that the discus is released in front of the circle. Make sure all spectators are behind the cage & that line or its equivalent on the other side. Return the discs to one side & do not allow the athletes to walk down the right sector line especially in warm-ups. Note when a left handed thrower is up because his tendency is to throw down the other side.

New lines (~15' long depending on location) can be added as shown in the sketch above. My experience is that judges need to constantly remind spectators (in this case the term spectators is used to mean eveyone including fans, coaches, and competitors) to remain behind the cage except to retrieve their implements. Saying stay behind the line makes it more specific than saying behind to cage.This not a National Federation rule

Measurements for Shot & Discus Sectors
Angle (degrees)
Distance (d)
Standard HS Shot (65.5)
Standard HS Discus (60)
HS Inside Track (40)
(NCAA) & New HS (34.92)

Get the athletes together and go over the rules. Discus the jewelry rules and leaving the back half of the circle after the implement lands & the judge says mark. Because discus throwers usually move from the back of the circle and all the way to the front of the circle you must watch the whole circle in case they step on the line or on the ring. There are no rules on the form the athlete may use in throwing the discus. Advancement to the final & scoring is the same as the shot discussed below.

Note: The 34.92 Degree Sector Will be used starting 2006-2007 (60' at 100')
See sketches at top of page
Click here for Garden Spot Shot Put Video
The 2005 National Federation rules allow the NCAA sector of 34.92 degrees to be used. A competitor must initiate his throw in 1 minute. Check the stop board height. It should be 4" but may not be if the wrong stop board was installed. No tape on hand & fingers except to cover a wound. You may ask to see it. He can enter the circle anywhere he wants to but must leave the back half of the circle after the implement has landed and the judge says mark. If the implement hits the sector lines it is a foul throw. He must initiate the throw from near his chin and cannot lower it below his shoulder during the throw or throw it from behind his shoulder. Measurement is to the nearest lesser 1/4 inch.

It is ideal to have two observers to check for fouls in the shot put. If only one observes from the right, there is a blind spot (indicated by the orange area) often hit by those who put right handed. If you have a person to pull the tape through for you he can check the orange area for you.The zero end of the tape is placed (the part closest to the circle) on the indentation made by the shot. The tape is then extended through the center of the circle and the reading is taken on the edge of the stopboard nearest the center of the circle. The inside edge of the sector lines are the boundary of the sector. If the shot hits the sector line it is a foul throw.

The competitors are gathered to give the rules such as jewelry, uniform, & what constitutes a foul. The procedure used such as 3 & 3, all throws count, up-on deck-on hold- repeat up - start time- initiate within 1 minute, etc. A competitor may touch any where within the steel ring or painted line and the inside of the stopboard. He may not touch the top or ends of the stopboard or anywhere beyond the painted line or ring. In the LLL rules four competitors are allowed to throw (some schools agree on four and done) three times and the four with the best throws go to the finals where they are ordered worst to best. They get three more throws and the three best (trial throws count) place and are awarded 5, 3, or 1 points for 1st., 2nd., or third. Ties are not broken to decide who goes to the finals but are broken for places by using the second best throws.

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