Parents Struggling with vault

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Proud Parent
Oct 3, 2021
Does anyone have advice or experience with a child who did not have a powerful jump/spring/punch and learned it later? Did it just click at some point? My daughter is 6 and has been on preteam for about 6 months and does not seem to be improving at near the rate she was prior to preteam on any event, but especially on vault. To me it seems she lacks the power or ability to punch the board/tramp and make it onto the mat easily. She often tucks or splays her feet out to the side to jump high enough. All her teammates ( even those just recently added into her group) have moved to jumping into a handstand and her coach won't even let her try because her strait jump isn't good enough. She has a good handstand. She seems oblivious and says vault is her favorite part of practice, but it seems like she either doesn't get what the coach is trying to teach or is just not capable. She is a similar height and size to other gymnasts in her group if that matters. I was thinking of asking about privates. Does 6 months seem like a long time to learn a strait jump vault? Is she doomed to be a bad jumper forever? I don't want to push too much, but they are in the midst of moving kids up and few move after june. We will likely need to move to rec or quit if she doesn't move up due to the timing of practice when school starts in the fall.
Well vault can take time. It is better to go slow and learn properly than to pick up bad habits.

This isnt about size or age. Some girls learn to jump well with power quicker than others.

I most certainly would not be quitting or going to rec over learning a vault. Have you had a conversation with the coach about her vault or her ability to move up to team? The coach will have the best idea of her progress and ability to have a meaningful vault come the fall.

Also remember, this will not be the first or last skill she takes a different amount of time than teammates to learn. Never compare to another teammate.

The best option to gaining a skill is working the progressions. They are the best way to learn...... if she is lacking in leg strength, then conditioning will be her best friend. Sprinting, box jumps, squat jumps are all great options to conditioning. Coach should be able to let you know if that is needed....

FWIW my daughters FHS vault is eh. She knows it. Coach knows it. She excels in other areas and that is OK! her Tsuk timer is looking much better though coaches are excited to see that one in competition!
My dd had a really hard time learning how to punch on the board when she was that age. In level 2 she often scored low 8s on vault. Then one day, it clicked, and that was that. By her last few level 3 meets, she was scoring mid 9s on vault! Since then she has been a really strong vaulter.

A slow start doesn't mean she won't be successful later. It can take longer for some kids to figure out exactly what to do (and not just on vault, like a pp said, this is common with many skills). If you're concerned, talk to the coach. But I wouldn't make any decisions about whether to stick with gymnastics based on just this one thing.
I know it's hard as a new parent but just give it time and trust the coaches. She is six and this is how most six year olds vault and privates would be a waste of money. My daughter was a comically bad vaulter on preteam but it eventually came to her and your daughter will get it too. It's great that she says it's her favorite thing at practice and the most counterproductive thing you could do is get it in her head that she's not good at vault.
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Lots of good advice above. Here is experience for you. My daughter's vault did not get powerful until she was post puberty. Blocking off the table didn't click until sometime around level 7. She can now safely flip a vault, something I used to think would never be in the cards for her. In the meantime, all of her teammates that started with her back in PreTeam have quit over the years. Don't underestimate the power of the kid loving what they are doing. Also worth noting, my daughter has never had a private.
I wanted to add that my impression is that vaulting generally won't keep a girl off team because coaches know that kids that age are generally weak vaulters and that it takes a lot of time and repetition to build up a strong vaulter. Maybe a coach can confirm but I've seen some very bad vaulters in the low levels (including my daughters)
Yeah.. if she’s 6 I wouldn’t even care about her vault. My daughter didn’t even start gym until 7. Vault was her weakest event- if she got above a 9 she was ecstatic. Now she’s 12 and a level 9 and wins vault all the time. It was level 8 when she became a good vaulter
Thank you all for reining in my crazy. I had already inquired about privates after making this post and the coach does recommend a few to wok on flexibility with floor skills, but didn't mention vault. They let me know the rest of the class ( including her) should be moving to various other classes/levels come June, so I don't need worry about timing of practice yet. Yay. I will try my best to cheer from the sideline from now on.