For Coaches Yurchenko's

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Club Owner / Manager
Apr 17, 2007
Just wondering coaches feelings on the appropriate progressions to Yurchenko's. Do you: 1.) Start with a high layout off the springboard and bring it down to the table? -or- 2.) Start with a low back handspring off the springboard and build it up? -or- 3.) A combination of both... I can see the advantages to both routes, just wondering feelings about which one creates the stronger approach. All this is assuming the run, hurdle and subsequent roundoff are of sound technique already....


Staff member
Gold Membership
Proud Parent
Sep 3, 2005
Great question!...I have no idea. Come on coaches, we need some help on this one.:confused:


I was taught it the following way:

1. Roundoff onto a springboard from a short run, have the coach catch the gymnast (roundoff punch--timer). Have a large whale mat behind the board with the horseshoe around the board.

2. Next, do the yurchanko onto the whale mat...slowly stack the mats to the height of the vault---have the coach stand there when necessary.

3. move over to the vault and have a coach spot. Start with the vault a little lower and a shorter run, until the gymnast gets the whole idea of actually going over the vault.

That's how i learned it.


Feb 22, 2007
I'm not sure that one approach is better than the other. I think that it depends upon the coach's personal preference and the athlete.

I recall hearing/reading stories about Vitaly Scherbo performing this vault and sometimes barely touching the table. The entire vault was performed as more of a RO double layout.

In contrast, I know of one prominent coach who simplifies the vault by describing it as nothing more than a "tumbling pass."

For me personally, I prefer to start with the RO BHS and build it upwards as opposed to starting high and coming down low. Assuming the RO BHS on the floor is pretty technically sound, I think that getting kids in lower to the table will be easier if you start them low and work them up to the table height. My goal is to establish that nice rhythm in with respect to the RO BHS. I want it to flow as smoothly as it would on the floor.

First off, I'd spend the time to make sure that they can effectively turn the RO over....ability to perform a RO that turns over to their back with mats at floor level from no more than maybe 1 or 2 steps and a hurdle. Ideally, I'd like them to be able to do it just a 1-step into an immediate hurdle...)

Then, I'd make sure that they can definitely turn it over onto a folded panel mat with proper body position and alignment from a standing position. (This really should be easy if they can satisfy the requirement listed above)

If they have a bad round-off and it doesn't look real promising, I'd probably scrap this vault in all honesty. With the table, most kids could probably get a piked Yurchenko with a poor RO, but they'll probably hit a plateau right there and not be able to progress much further unless they are just an "animal" of a tumbler/vaulter such that the motto of "technique is for the weak" applies whole-heartedly. But, for the average kid, I'd say that your time would be better spent developing a handspring or tsuk entry vault. Of course, if you're just trying to develop a back-up vault with minimal expectations for its future progress, this might be an alright option.

Once the RO is alright, then I'd start with a 3-step approach of performing RO BHS onto a springboard and 8 inch mat. I would concentrate on the turnover of the RO and the overall rhythm of the RO BHS. When this was to my satisfaction, then I'd add another 8 inch mat and gradually build it up and back the run up in a progression of 3-5-7-9 and eventually 11 or 13 steps.

Then, I'd move it over to the vault. Of course, take the vault down a little and pad it. But, I'd set up the matting to still allow the height to be at normal table height. While working the entry phase, you can simultaneously be working the post-flight portion of the vault. Here are some common drills:

double flipping on the trampoline

RO double tuck/pike/layout off of a springboard (even though I wouldn't approach the entry as such, I'm not opposed to this drill as a means of developing awareness)

standing tuck/pike/layout/layout 1/1, etc. off of the table

RO BHS up an incline/wedge/"cheese" with flipping off of the hands into a pit

and the list goes on....

As the entry phase of the vault becomes proficient, take the padding off of the vault and start doing timers to a mat stack. From there, it's flipping into the pit and gradually building the landing surface up to floor level and ideally...slightly above floor level for better preparation for competition surfaces.

All in all, I think that both methodologies are effective. Again, it's a matter of personal preference and what you think will work best for the particular athlete that you're working with.

gym law mom

Proud Parent
Dec 23, 2006
Not a coach, but was interested to read the posts. My daughter just learned her Yurchenko and did it the way ACoach and Hammy described although I think they skipped step #1 in Hammy's account. They had been doing some "timers"during meet season, so it was more a matter of getting the time to work on them. Right now, they are using a piece of equipment that is the top part of the vaulting table put on mats(I'm sure it has a name) and doing the vault into the pit. She has tried a few on the real vaulting table with it down as low as it can go. She absolutely loves this vault---would do it all day. They also learned tsuks, but haven't spent too much time on them.


I personally liked doing the yurchanko over the tsuk, but's just my opinion. I did a tuck and pike yurchanko as well as a yurchanko with a half on front flip off--that was my favorite vault ever. I also think that yurchankos tend to be a little easier than a tsuk (again, my opinion).

Geoffrey Taucer

Staff member
Gold Membership
Jan 21, 2007
Baltimore, MD
I've never done or coached a yurchenko (we have a few girls who are learning them, but I usually don't work with the upper-level girls except on floor and occasionally bars).

How do the two compare? What advantages/disadvantags does a Yurchenko have over a Tsuk?


I found the Yurchanko to be easier because of the approach--in the way that it seemed like all I was doing was a roundoff backhandspring back flip: whereas with the Tsuk I had to physically do the entire vault (it didn't seem to flow as easily). I found it easier to get a better block off the vault table and a better rotation from the Yurchanko.

A disadvantage to the Yurchanko is of course hand placement on the ground and vault table, as well has angle of hitting the table.

A disadvantage to the Tsuk is that it seems as though the gymast must stop their forward momentum when they turn and turn it into backwards momentum. Also, Tsuks seem to require more speed and timing.
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