World pole vault champion Shawn Barber doesn’t drink a lot of coffee, but when he does you know he’s ready to compete.

1. I love volleyball

“I’m not so interested in following other sports, but I like playing other sports and when I’m back home in Ohio I love to play volleyball three times a week for cross training. The weather will only allow me to play outside for six months of the year, but I like to play two to four-a-side volleyball.

“It is only social but it can get pretty serious, especially as the winning team gets to stay on court. I find the volleyball is great for all-round conditioning and good for body awareness.

“It can be dangerous and I’ve suffered broken toes on a couple of occasions before. Yet, for me, the rewards of playing the game outweigh the risks.”

2. I only drink coffee on competition day

“I always enjoy doing my research and reading different articles on how my physical and mental health can be improved, which can help me jump higher. One recent trend I’ve adopted is to give up coffee between events, then give myself a little boost on competition day with a coffee.

“I don’t really believe in taking caffeine tablets or energy drinks, but I do find having a coffee can act as a little boost. I enjoy a good cappuccino or a black coffee, although it is difficult to maintain coffee abstinence for a long period, especially when lots of other athletes are sat around having a coffee in the build up to meets.”

3. I like to go cliff jumping

“Many pole vaulters are all-round adrenaline junkies, but I’m not really into those generic pursuits like sky-diving or bungee jumping. A greater passion for me is cliff jumping or cliff diving into a lake.

“When I lived in Texas we used to jump about 50ft from a train track into the river. It is a lot of fun, although you want to avoid landing horizontally.

“I don’t do cliff jumping so regularly today but I enjoy it because you can set your own boundaries in terms of what you can and can’t achieve.”