WAG Flipping Vault Leg Position

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Proud Parent
Apr 26, 2010
This post crosses the power (or danger) of technology and a parent's questions on "what in the world are the deductions on vault". Vault is one of those events that I've never really been able to gauge on scoring. At yesterday's meet, one of the father's had a high powered lens on a camera that could take super fast pictures. He showed me some of DDs photos on vault and it was interesting insight into what the judges may be seeing that I don't in my low tech video.

I noticed that coming off the spring board DD's legs were apart on the way up to the vault table. It reminded me of McKayla's vault (THE vault) at the Olympics because I recall some folks on this site saying that she had some leg separation in the early stages of the vault (and maybe it was one source of the execution deduction). To me, McKayla's leg separation seemed almost negible in that vault, but I was wondering if a general judging rule on vault entry (whether tsuk, yurchenko, Amanar, front front, et al) is that the legs coming off the spring board should be closed and tight. Is that generally a true statement or too many vaults to generalize?

I know this question is a little in the weeds, but I want to add it to my checklist of vault scoring for dummies. ;)
Every vault I'm aware of requires the legs to be together. I believe it's an 'up to .20' deduction. Trust me, the judges don't have a slow motion, telescopic, instant replay camera in their heads.......Oh how I wish! ;) Talking with a friend of mine who is a long time level 10 judge, she condenses it down to this. 'My main focus when judging vault is over all dynamics, shape through out, angle and height of repulsion from horse, distance, and landing.' That is where I put our focus, and it's worked pretty good so far. :)
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My dad has a fancy camera and he would take probably almost a thousand pictures every meet. I wish I had some of them on my computer at school because I could show you an entire yurchenko from start to finish all in pictures. It is really cool to look at and it helped me a lot to see why I got the score I got, even though I thought my legs were straight and together the whole time!

The best part of the fancy camera is seeing the coaches face in the background!
I've seen some real wild scores, and just about "lost it" a few times way back when. Now? I realize there's some things you can't change.

Added to be fair...... I really think we coaches have the advantage of knowing what any of our gymnasts will do well or struggle with on their vaults. It's almost like we have the advantage of a slow motion camera, and anyone else watching...... well some of them just can't see much more than straight legs, extraordinary height, extraordinary distance, and landing.........:confused::confused::confused::oops::oops:
Feet separated on pre-flight is a deduction as previously posted. This year USAG have added a new deduction for crossing the feet (like Mahroney performed at US Nationals) to the code in order to separate the performances of the athletes. The code provides us coaches/athletes these deductions to better identify the "best" performance.

I will give that their may be a judge who misses a vault detail. I propose this is more rare than the rule. I know that the judges study and work hard at their trade (judging) and do well at judging an event on a given meet day. Vault is a difficult event. 2 vaults done at tp speed with a ton of details. My wife was a gymnastics judge for over a decade and studied very hard. She worked hard to trained her eye. Watching vaults, judging vaults, comparing to vid and discussing with other judges gave her an excellent eye. This took many hours of work.

Iwannacoach has a point with speaking to expectations. We do assist the judges with expectations. At USAG Optionals, the coaches are to announce to the judges the vault. I know the code number and the grouping of the vault and on occasion have offered it in the advent the judges eyes looked questioning. An example is one of my athletes performing a (Group V vault #5.301) RO,FF 1⁄2 on - Fr. Tuck SV of 9.9. I have seen dozens of the athletes vaults and know the intimacies of the athletes goals and expected performance. I, the coach, and the athlete have the advantage of knowing the skill in detail. Each year, I sit with our staff and we go thru the vaults that our athletes are performing. We prepare ourselves with the study of the skill execution and deductions. You can see from my above prose that we, coaches, have an excellent expectation of the resultant performance of the athlete. The score detail in range I can anticipate.

In truth I have preprepared USAG Judge Inquiry sheets for each athlete for each event. I do this mostly for SV queries. I have them typed with the code number of the skill to be performed and the difficulty value. It has helped me immensely. On vault, the prepared inquiry sheet helped me at our State Championship last year when unexpected scores came for one of our athletes.

Best, SBG -
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