Fierljeppen or Polsstokverspringen (Netherlands)

Fierljeppen or Polsstokverspringen (Netherlands)

Name of sport (game)


Name in native language

Polsstokverspringen From Frisian language: Fierljeppen - the Frisian name fierljeppen came from the English "far leaping" (fier-far, ljeppen-leaping), which means "far jumping".

Place of practice (continent, state, nation)

The Netherlands (especially Frisia, Utrecht region).


Because the Netherlands is largely below sea level or right on sea level, there are many waterways and canals. In the swamps of the Netherlands, the pole has been used to jump over watercourses for a long time. People often tried to jump over these canals using the pole.
The favourite entertainment, in the old days of, people living in the northern regions of Groningen and Friesland was collecting eggs of peewits. They were considered a delicacy. Often, to get them they had to overcome wide channels.
Brueghel's paintings already show the Dutch jumps through the canals. The first written certificates come from 1200.
Obviously, people were not satisfied only with jumping, so they started using longer and longer poles. Over time, it becomes an opportunity to compete in jumping above the canal with its use. That was the beginning of fierljeppen.
In the village of Baard (Frisia), on 24 August 1767, the first known official tournament took place, organized by the widow of Ype Gerbens, the local ruler. The competition was the result of bet, as reported by Leeuwarder Courant (the oldest daily newspaper in the Netherlands). Some sources claim that the year 1771 has been the official beginning of the competition.
In the 1930s, the sport competition was very similar to what it is nowadays. Official rules were established regarding the course of the competition, measurements and conditions of competition. Since 1956, regular competitions have been held in Friesland (all archive data with results are available on Polstokbond Holland (PHB) and Frysk Ljeppers Boun (FLB) websites.
The chairman of BFVW (Bond van Friese Vogelwachten) Sjoerd Span and Lykele Miedema the director of the Miedema factory, founded Fryske Ljeppers Kommisje (FLK) together with representatives of Vogelwacht, Winsum department. FLK consisted of members: Feije Broersma, Geert Dijkstra, Klaas Jepma and Sybren Bakker as well as Sjoerd Span and Lykele Miedema. Sjoerd Span became chairman. On August 10, 1957, De Fryske Ljeppers Kommisje (FLK) have organized the first official fierljep competition in Winsum under the guidance of BFVW. On 13 January 1960, the Association "Frysk Ljeppers Boun" was founded from the merger of FLK and Bond Voor Friese Polsstokverspringers - BVFP. On 28 June 1978, the statute was established in Winsum, and the last modification took place on 26 April 1988.
In 1957, the Friesland league was created, afterwords leagues in Utrecht and South Netherlands, and in the 1970s the first championship of the Netherlands took place.
In the German region of East Frisia, this sport is known as Pultstockspringen. Today it is primarily cultivated for entertainment or as an attraction for tourists, but there is still an official annual National Fierljepping Manifestation (NFM) in the Netherlands. The competition takes place between the clubs that deal with this sport.
Up to 1975, people jumped on wooden poles, with a maximum length of 10 meters, which were then replaced with aluminium poles with a maximum length of 12.5 meters, including the extension. In 2006, they were replaced with plastic poles with a maximum length of 13.25 m, which are stiffer and less bend. The plastic allows to jump further. The Dutch record was 19.40 m for 15 years, belonged to Aart de With from Benschop which has been beaten many times during the season, four jumpers in 2006 managed to break the record from 1991. The disadvantage of plastic is its poor resistance to point loads, which should be handled with poles carefully.
Foreign tourists who visited Friesland and watched this sport contributed to its popularity around the world. Currently, competitions are organised in other places, although at a lower level due to the smaller number of competitors and the lack of appropriate locations.


This sport is a kind of combination of long jump and pole vault. The goal is to jump over a water tank with a pole and land on the other bank. The competitor runs towards the canal with water, inserting the pole into the water, climbs up as high as possible, then to land as far as possible on the opposite sandy shore.
The pole is 8 to 13 meters (from 26 to 43 ft). At the end, there is a tile that prevents it from sinking into the mud at the bottom of the water tank.
The whole jump consists of several parts that can be trained separately: a short, fast run from a distance of about 20 m from the pole (polsstok), a jump in its direction and climbs up the top of the pole so that in the last phase, land on the sand, unless the competitor previously climbed insufficiently high, then he lands in the channel. Fierljeppen jumpers must be characterized by great strength and developed motor coordination, they must be able to concentrate and have a lot of perseverance.
Fierljeppen requires a lot of technical knowledge. To do and land a successful jump, you must be master in many different aspects. The pole must be placed at a suitable distance from the platform (in the case of deep water, it is placed closer because water resistance must be taken into account). Then make a short and quick sprint from 15 to 20 meters, grab the pole with both hands. Then you have to climb up the top of the pole as soon as possible because the higher you go, the more distance the player overcomes. However, be sure not to disturb the balance or trajectory. When the pole starts to move down on the opposite side, push back and turn the legs forward to maximize the momentum. Of course, a good landing is important to avoid injury.
The run-up is essential for a good jump. Its speed determines, among other things, how far you can put the pole in the water. Training of run-up is an important part of a practice as ,in addition to general basic training, run-up training is also necessary:
• the length of the run-up should be determined,
• Make sure that the consistency of preparations in all elements of the jump is maintained, which should be checked regularly.
The run-up length is different for each player. This is related to strength of leg, size and number of steps. The ultimate goal is to reach exactly at the end of the ramp without looking at the platform. Usually, the run starts with the strongest leg, making an odd number of steps: 3, 5, 7, 9, 11, 13, 15, etc. Warm-up starts with 3 initial runs. A measuring tape is placed next to the running way, which indicates fixed measuring points. Each of the runs is measured with a tape. The coach checks if the jumper ends the run in the right place. The jumper is looking only at the starting point, starting the run, then looking ahead at the endpoint. Training should be varied and cannot focus only on the run-up, because the exercise for a long time, causes fatigue, which affects the length of steps. In addition, in the start-up season, length of the entire run-up may change. This is due to increasing the strength and pace of the run-up. If the average step distance changes by + 1 cm, the total run-up distance increases, eg by 15 cm.
Jump is very complex. It becomes the transition from the run-up to climbing. Jump and grabbing the pole take place almost at the same time, followed by the simultaneous forwarding of the legs. The pole must be between both legs.
The jump must be made at right angles to the pole. When the altitude is too high, you lose strength and jump to the other side is not adequate.
Each player must locate his proper jump. Its purpose is to smoothly switch from the optimum speed of run-up to upward movement, without losing too much speed.
Gripping the pole with your hands should take place at least at eye level or slightly higher. This is important for a smooth transition from rushing to climbing.
The too high grip makes it difficult to pull up. If the grip is too low, this makes it difficult to climb gently.
Collaterally with raising your arms, extend your legs forward. At the same time, the head must be kept straight. In this way, the weight of the body and strength the speed of run-up from the flow are evenly distributed. Swinging also helps you climb higher on the pole and thus achieve a longer jump.
After grabbing the pole you have to lock your feet around it and pull up as high as possible. The hands can be moved up together or in rotation. Simultaneous shifting gives a calm style of climbing, but it costs more strength of the leg. Moving hands one by one gives a "wild style" of climbing, but it requires less leg strength. Right-handed jumpers surround the pole with their left foot. Left-handed jumpers surround the pole with their right foot. The climbing cycle consists of:
• Move your hand up while straightening your legs.
• Raising your knees and immediately blocking your feet on the pole.
• Straightening the legs.
It is possible to move from about 70 cm to 1 meter in one pull-up cycle. This, of course, depends on the height of the player.
The landing is one of the most difficult element. Partly because it is a complicated technique, and partly because it is the last section of the total jump.
The hardest part is when the landing begins and the pole is about 45 ° to the ground which is sand.
The competitor should take the pole as far as possible with stretch out arms and with both hands together. Then he throws the body forward, twisting it at the same time by 180 ° and bending upwards. If the whole operation is carried out correctly, then the whole speed and strength allow you to be pushed forward.

Current status

sport practiced
Official competitions in the Netherlands are organized by: Polsstokbond Holland (PHB) and Frysk Ljeppers Boun (FLB). The National Sports Association - de Nederlandse Fierljepbond (NFB) is the organizer of the annual national-ranking competitions in which PHB and FLB athletes participate, as well as nationwide championships. The competition is held in the provinces of Friesland (Bergum, Buitenpost, It Heidenskip, IJlst, Joure and Winsum), Groningen (Grijpskerk), Utrecht (Jaarsveld, Linschoten, Polsbroekerdam, Zegveld, Haarzuilens and Kamerik) and Zuid-Holland (Vlist). The Dutch championships in Fierljeppen are held every year at the Grijpskerk Arena, from the 1930s.
The current Dutch record holders by category are:
• Veterans: 20.60 m (67 ft 7 inches), Theo van Kooten from Haastrecht, South Holland (31 July 2013, Linschoten).
• Seniors: 22.21 meters (72 feet 10 inches), Jaco de Groot from Woerden, Utrecht (12 August 2017, Zegveld).
• Juniors: 20.41 m (67 feet 0 inches), Joris de Jong from Dokkum, Friesland (9 August 2016, Dokkum); other sources give: 20.70 m; Erwin Timmerarends from Montfoort (August 15 2015, Zegveld);
• Boys: 19.81 meters; Reinier Overbeek from Benschop (July 30 2017, It Heidenskip)
• Women: 17.58 meters (57 feet 8 inches) Marrit van der Wal from It Heidenskip, Friesland (16 July 2016, Burgum)
• Girls: 16,57 meters; Marrit van der Wal with It Heidenskip in IJlst (17 August 2014, IJlst)
There are 532 registered active jumpers in the world; 190 of them are from the Netherlands.
The sports season runs from May to September.



Polsstokbond Holland -

Polsstokbond Holland logo


Frysk Ljeppers Boun -

Frysk Ljeppers Boun logo


Polsstokkerdam -
Polsstokclub Linschoten -
Nederlandse Fierljep Bond -
Polsstokclub de Vlist -
Polsstokvereninging Jaarsveld -
B.K. Fierljrppen Hamont -

Frisian clubs:
Ljeppersklub Buitenpost -
Fierljepferiening Drylts E.O. -
Fierljeppen Heidenskip -
Fierljep Feriening Winsum e.o. -
Fierleppen in Grijpskerk -
Fierljepvereniging De Lege Wâlden Joure -

Sources of information

Fierljeppen - Canal vaulting in Holland -
Fierljeppen former Dutch record (woman) -
FIERLJEPPEN: Hoogtepunten NK Fierljeppen 2017 -
Nationale Competitie Fierljeppen/Polsstokverspringen -



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