Coach Robert Tilley
Pure Sky Athletics
Dear Coach Tilley,
Words can not really express how much having you as a coach has impacted Jordan’s pole vault career and Jordan’s life in general. When Jordan came to Green Valley High School a little over four years ago, she came with an open mind to look at a variety of clubs, sports and academics. She had been on the Greenspun dance team and cheerleading teams and had just received her black belt in taekwondo. She was looking for something new. She had no track experience at all, but thought she might like to try something on track.
She came out for intramurals her freshman year and realized right away that there was more variety to track than she thought. You were kind enough to come up to her and encourage her to try pole vault. That literally changed her life. She loved vaulting right away and wanted to do more. The next season we enrolled her at Pure Sky Athletics and her career zoomed! She made state three years in a row and finished as high as fifth her senior year. While Jordan competed at Green Valley High School, the schools just do not have the equipment or time to train the athletes at the level they need to be ready for college level sports in most cases.
The opportunities that Pure Sky offers can not be found anywhere else in southern Nevada. The additional practices and drills aren’t offered in high schools and are the extra edge every athlete needs. The chance to travel to other states and compete and compare yourself to other athletes nationally are crucial in making college decisions. Jordan traveled to Arizona for summer camps and a Junior Olympic qualifier, to Pole Vault Summit (the biggest pole vault event in the world) several times, and had the opportunity three times to attend the Great Southwest in Texas. At these events she met some of the best vaulters in the region and the most elite vaulters in the world, which motivated her to continue her efforts in the sport she has come to love. Pure Sky Athletics made all of this possible.
As a coach, we can not say enough about how you have helped Jordan. You knew just when to push her and just when to let her work through some things on her own. I know many parents are concerned when their children first start vaulting that you are taking it too slow. “Why can’t their son/daughter do as many steps as the others on the team?” or use a longer pole like the older kids? But as parents we were happy to know that you always stressed proper form and safety first. You really teach the kids “how” to pole vault, not just “how to jump the highest” that day. This is so critical in developing the vaulter, which of course you taught us.
Jordan was accepted at Vanderbilt University and is now in her freshman year competing at the Division 1 level in pole vault. The SEC is a tough division, but Jordan’s skills in pole vault have really impressed her coaches. They are especially impressed with the form she has developed and the drills she is able to bring to the table. Our kids in Nevada are at a disadvantage because many high schools back east have an indoor and outdoor track season. Of course, we don’t have that here but Pure Sky made up for that and has allowed Jordan to be able to compete at the college level right away with kids who have been vaulting year round.
Coach Tilley, we can’t thank you and the other coaches at Pure Sky enough. You have become more than a coach to Jordan and our family and we wish you and your family all the best in 2010!
Susan E. Sala
Susan & Jim Sala
Parents of Jordan Sala