For Coaches Handspring Vault

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Jul 25, 2008
Hi All,

Wondering if any of you have some great drills for me please?

My little girls, a group of 6 - 8 year olds, have a competition at the end of November. There is an option of 2 vaults, 1st being pike on, handspring off, the 2nd is full handspring to stand, both set at 110cm, can use 2 springboards or a trampette.

I'm just finding that the girls are so small that they can't get their hands in the right position on the table. So as a result if they are doing the full thing unsupported, they're gonna crack their backs off it.

There are 2 of the kids, who no doubt can do it but can tend to be a bit inconsistent.

Does anyone have any drills for me to work on for heel drive in the first flight and the push on the second flight.

We had a coaches night a couple of weeks ago, as one of my fellow coaches bought the Coach Steve dvd's, and we got some tips from it but the girls are too small to be able to get up to handstand to do the handstant hops from the vaulting table to a pile of crash mats, although fast enough to go through handstand

Apologies for the ramble!

Hi, If they can use 2 springboards or a mini tramp can they reach far enough back on the table?

I am not a big mini tramp vaulting fan- i think it teaches the kids to hurdle too high, then its tough to reteach when you put a springboard in. A great mini tramp drill I do like is to place a tall block or stack of panel mats with a mini tramp about 3 to 4 feet in front, then a big resi mat or stacks of 8 inchers (it has to be high) on the other side. they Start by standing on the big block, jump to the mini tramp, then arm circle and do a handstand flat back vault on the big resi mat. It really forces them to drive their heels or go up if the resi pit is far enough away! Of course, you should spot this for a long time with little kids!

I would also work on their run and hurdle and board punch! I have seen some pretty itty bitty kids vault big because they ran like crazy!

I would go with safety 1st and have them pike on handspring off in competition until they can vault safely! I wish our Level 4's could do that!
Two drills I like to use for blocking:

Place a panel mat on the floor (or runway) with an 8-inch behind. Have the girls do a moderate run and arm circle, reaching outward/downward to the mat. Immediately block and go to a flat back on the 8-inch. I always tell me students to imagine the panel mat as being red hot and they need to block and get off asap. When they get this down, add mats so that they have to block up onto a mat, really makes them get the concept of how a block should go up and not out. I've also seen this done with a wedge mat for landing.

This next one is pretty fun for the girls (and boys). Place two spots on a panel mat with chalk where you wish the girls to place their hands when they block. Hold the panel mat in front of you. Have the girls arm circle and block and try to knock their coach over. Remember to always correct straight arms on this one, for some reason little ones think knock and push are the same word. You can also do this with a matted wall instead of a coach =). Really brings out the power in those little girls!

Heel drive:

If you do not have a barrel mat this won't work so well. Have the gymnast stand in a stretch position in front of a barrel. Start to lean forward, keeping the body tight. As the hands go down to the floor on the opposite side, drive the heels up into a handstand and over to a flat-back onto a mat. This is a really good way for gymnasts who THINK they have a heel drive but really don't to see the light (we all have those stubborn ones). Also, many times a gymnast just "doesn't get it" and this drill can help them get the feeling of "driving your heels".

Hug a beam and do heel raises.
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