Desperate for help/tips!!

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I have an extremely talented gymnast who is very good on all peices except vault. She is 8 in year, and cant run. I mean cannot run to save herself!! Her rebound isnt great either.

She does have some power and fast twitch (she can standing flick step out on beam etc) but she cannot run at all!! She can run very very slightly faster when she isn't going over the table but not much!

Does anyone have any tips or drills that i can do to improve her running (we have already done resistance runs and do them every session) Its not her quads either (as she passed the squad test on leg squads by over perfect - 50 squats on both legs in a minute)
Im so desperate to fix this problem because she is the best gymnast I have ever taught - she needs a handspring vault by October 19th at 110cm over a table!

Please help, any suggestions are helpful!



hmmm im not so sure that would be efficient, she already trains alot of hours at gym, and a track field specialist would be expensive and time consuming.
Feb 26, 2007
I don't know if you have read this article, Articles-Vaulting, there are some helpful hints in it. They may not be enoguh to help though. My 9 year old has the same issue and needs the same vault for the end of Nov.

Will she have to use a spring board or can she use a mini tramp?


spring board, its a pretty tough competition, but she has great routines on every other peice! its just vault!


A track specialist can be expensive, so maybe ask one of the school track coaches or a football coach for some volunteer assistance.

Is she afraid of the vault ? If she is maybe do some mental training ( imaging).

I do a vault warmup which is similar to sprinters warmup.

VAULT WARMUP ( A's & B's )

A's are knees up in front B's are heels kicking the bum

These are done on a vault runway or a 42' strip of floor ( 1 or 2 lengths )


Arms are in a proper running position, elbows bent and close to body

Hope this helps

Mar 5, 2008
North America
I know that when I ran track and cross country we had to do sprinting drills. Form was emphasized with getting "up on your toes" and pumping your arms. We also did skipping and bounding drills. You may want to just youtube some sprinting drills and try to teach them to her at practices. It seems like her problem is form and technique in the run and that does need to be learned. I hope this helped!

Good luck!!
Aug 2, 2008
east coast
You need to keep working on breaking down the run. As the technique improves, have her work just on her sprint with nothing in fornt of her. then add higher and higher objects that she needs to go over. You must also be VERY patient if she is tiny she just needs time to mature, keep working on her run, and get her to run fast with no fear. If she is that talented, the time spent on improving the technique of both the run and the punch will be time very well spent! Have her skip vaulting in competition until it all improves if its a big issue. If not, hopefully she can just make it over until it all improves.


I was also going to ask if she has this problem when sprinting without a vault in front of her. Running full speed towards a stationary object can make a lot of people not run their best! What about when running towards a resi-pit that she can vault into? How is her hurdle? You could maybe do sprints as conditioning? Is she just slow - maybe timed sprints would help? I'm not a running expert at all, just trying to figure out where the problem is.


She can run very very slightly faster when not towards a vault, but she is generally just very slow, i think her calfs may be weak, my mum gave me some exercises for her so Im hoping they will work

thanks for the help everyone!


Possibly she has weak hamstrings. Pretty common in gymnastics which tends to be quad dominant.

Possibly has weak ankles. I reccomend hopping one leg jumps across the floor ( I like to have them do an underarm circle and hop from side to side of a line/tape strip on the floor ). I also like them to do one foot jumps for distance across the floor with arm running pump action. Basically attempt the fewest amount of jumps to get across the floor. She would probably be around 7 or 8. Take this drill slow. Do a bunch of one foot calf raises on beam and one foot releve hold.

Then again, she could possibly just be uncoordinated. When I was new as a coach I saw most of the compulsory girls were poor sprinters in speed, power, or form. It can happen in boys too, but I don't see it as prevalent except in not as active children.


Thanks blairbob, we have had this drill recommended to us before, but she can get across in 5. We do alot of ankle raises in diferent positions on the beam and by the ballet bar.

Im unsure on what you mean by weak hamstrings, ive never heard of that before (she has very flexible hamstrings) but maybe not strong, could you explain this to me??



Nov 12, 2007

Just to 2 add my 2 cents in.
Speaking of hamstring strength, there is what is know as a quad to hamstring strength ratio. A good one is .6. This is ideal. This ratio suggests the best balance between quads and hamstring strength in humans. The strength is tested under isokinetic conditions, meaning that the movement velocity and resistance is always the same thoughtout the whole Range of Motion.
However this is rather impractical to gymnastics. So you don't really need to know much more than that for this purpose. However what this does suggest is that for every 3 Quad exercsises you need to match it with 1 hamstring exercsies with equal intensity,a nd frequency.

From what you describe there is a possibility that she has weak hamstrings. However my guess is that she is just not a sprinter. Do you do plyometric work? how much? what kind? Sprinting is a plyometric exercises. being able to do a standing flic on beam does not in any way suggest that you can run fast. I am do a standing flic, but there are obese people that can run faster than me haha.

However! being able to do a rebound jump that is = to your vertical standing jump suggests a lot.

If i were you i would also get on youtube look up some sprinting drills and sprint specific plyometric exercises. I have a girl that has the same problems.. she is just slow!.
Problems arise from
Poor running mechanics. Her stride lengths are huge which = slower stride frequency and turnover
Lack of plyometric strength
Lack of full run up (we only have 11-14m available to us for run up).
+ lack of time devoted to pure sprint training. This is something i will have to address after she goes to Nationals. She already has a hip injury and doing more running specific drills will only likely agrivate it. Rest not, bite the bullet for Nationals, and think of the long term.

If you can, post a video of her doing running and her vault?
2-3 side on attempts, 2-3 back on attempts, and 2-3 front on attempts.
If you do so everyone will be better able to give you advice.

Hope that is of some help. I can't fix the problem without seeing the problem you know, there are just to many variables


Thanks Valentin, I shall post some videos for you to make a better decision.

Could you explain to me a little more about plyometric exercises, are they just dynamic exercises rather than static?

Her rebound is not great, she can jump reasonably high, but nothing special at all. I think I need to do more basic rebound sessions with her on tumble, it could be that.

Thank you


An example of plyo drills would be jump off a box, rebound off floor onto another box. 5 across the floor is pretty good from what I remember.

If you test her vertical height to her standing height, you can have a very good idea of leg strength.

Sometimes, the sprinter I use to be just contends that some people have a hard time running. I never did so it baffles me but I see it a lot in the kids I have coached. Some are just goofy runners with poor mechanics. Some have good speed but look like a train wreck upon approaching the board. Some have good mechanics but are slow.

I see it more and more often as they are younger and typically more in girls than boys as they get older.


Nov 12, 2007
plyometric exercise is defined as any exercises that has a eccentric phases followed by an amortization phase, followed by a concentric phases. This usually characterizes any rebounding/bounding skills.
Punch jumps, single leg hops, depth jumps (from a height you step of and on impact with the ground you rebound) either onto another box, or just into the air, bounders or some call them gazelle runs, running in itself is a plyometric exercises.
The key thing about plyometric exercises is choose exercises that challenge the gymnast to work hard but also have a minimal amortization phase.
The amortization phase is that pause between the lets call it land and rebound. The lower the amortization phase the better due to the greater advantage of the stretch-shorten cycle.

For sprinting most of the drills are plyometric in nature. From happy feet exercises, to single leg runs, to high knee runs etc.
Here is a good video that for running drills to to virtually everyday for warmup
YouTube - Running Drills
YouTube - Speed Training - Acceleration Development
and !!! check out all the drills by Osafa Powell (here is one, rest are listed YouTube - Asafa Powell Nike Zoom ~Drill 2: A Skip~).. These should be part of everyday warm-up.
I say this myself, and like i said. I know i should be doing this but unfortunatelly i don't get to do all this stuff. As a cosequence, a couple of the girls at gym have suffered because they are just not natural sprinters. In all these videos you will notice that thay talk about explosiveness, that minimal foot contact time with the ground. Well that is essentially plyometric development. Which in iself is a dependent on strength, and power development. Plyometrics is kind of a poorly understood/defined term in sporting circles. Plyometrics is really the neural ability to develop power, is the best way i can describe it in one sentance.

Look forward to the videos
Aug 30, 2008
:vault::whistleblower::scratchchin:is she runing on her toes and leaning forward? this helps increase ur speed.:)


Ive done some of these drills, and my mum gave me some exercises which have worked very well, she's now running much faster and is improving every day - she can now vault the table (reasonably) at 110cm!!

Thanks so much everyone, you have no idea how much youve helped me and it means alot!!
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