Level 5 Vault

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The Level 4 coach and myself are stumped with a few Level 4's training for Level 5; when they "block" on the foam block in front of the pit, they do handstands and they allow gravity or a coach to help them fall over into the pit. We've attempted different techniques from having them pretend the block is hot, no luck there; pop-ups on the floor, no luck either; to reminding them as they approach to POP! Some of the girls do not have "hard" runs, just kind of get to the springboard, you know the ones. Others run like a bear's chasing them but they still "handstand" onto the foam block.

Any ideas as to how we can help them? We are a bit stumped and frustrated. :(

Check out this article from gym revolution by Brian Bakalar. It is very interesting due to it depth of coverage on the FHS vault. It does talk somewhat about the block or pop of the vault and offers a few ideas.

http://www.gymnasticsrevolution.com/Parents 23-1.html

I love the site, so much info to absorb.

Good luck, my DD took 2 years to stop falling off the other side of the vault, her pop on vault and her good BHS rebound came at the same tiem she learned to put more power in her run. A coach chased her down the runway to the vault as fast as she could, that wa the day the light came on!:D
Try doing drills to work on the gymnasts' run; often that is half the battle. Some other ideas:

-Handstand hops from the floor onto an elevated surface
-Handstond hop off a spring board onto an 8 in mat, land in handtand and flat back out.
-Have the girls do a handstand on the floor and then have the coach push down on their legs, trying to get them to bend--note: this helps them realize how to be tight.
-Have them do tons of shoulder shrugs, either in a handstand against a wall or on a set of parallel bars.

How is the preflight (board to vault) action for the girls?

Let me think of some more drills and I'll get back to you. What drills have you tried?
I'd have to see these vaults to really be sure, but going by what you're saying, my first guess would be that they are bending their arms or breaking their shoulder angle. Either that, or the mat/table is too high for them.

The problem could also be how they are hitting the springboard. Are they leaning forward, or keeping their chests up? Are they getting a good punch off the board? Do they have the right number of springs in the board?

If you could post videos, it would help a lot.
We have tried all the skills you listed! The coach's own daughter balks after hitting the springboard, she literally stops herself. Once she looks past the block to the pit, she goes over but when she contrates on the block, she stopS short. It's frustrating her mom.

Others do bend their arms, we tell them straight arms as they hit the springboard, or shoulders square, hollow...maybe it's just time and repetition and it will finally appear.

I did order Level 4 skills/drills from GymCert, hopefully that will shed some light for us.

As far as a video goes, uh, no. I would need parents permission and the such.

Thanks for all your advice, we'll continue with the drills that we are doing, same ones listed here and see how the summer progresses.

I am going to coach's camp the first week in July @ IGC, I'll pick their brains and see what other drills we can do to get them ready for competition in starting in Oct/Nov.

Thanks, again! :)
In all honesty, it sounds to me like they aren't ready to be going over the table. If you have kids balking and so forth, that's pretty much a red flag that they are scared - which is normal if you haven't done the progressions properly. My suggestion would be to spend time vaulting over a stack of 8 inch mats or a resi/porta pit for a while. Get them comfortable and confident with that and then take the vault all the way down, cover it with mats, and put a resi in behind it. Start by having them just vault to handstand and fall to their back. Over time, uncover the vault and continue to progress until they are actually performing the vault.

Focus most of your coaching cues on the run, the hurdle, position on the board, maintaining a tight shape, and looking at their hands as they contact the table. If they aren't seeing their hands, then you can forget about blocking as the action of blocking. They'll "roll" over the vault.

So, you can keep scratching your head and looking for the magic drill. But, the reality is that you'll have far better success if you create a series of progressions and take your time at each phase to ensure that the kids are confident and ready to move forward.

A lot of folks use the words "drill" and "progression" synonymously. But, they are far different. A "drill" is a tool to fix a part of a pre-existing skill. A progression is a single drill/exercise amongst a series of drills that are derived from the desired skill. Hence, progressions are smaller parts of the new skill. These drills are then performed in a step-wise manner to enable the gymnast to learn a new skill.

The point is - you can do drills 24 hours, 7 days a week, 365 days a year...but, if they aren't being used in a logical, systematic format, then they are utterly useless.
Just curious. How did these girls do in vault as L4s? If they competed L4 then they should be used to a springboard and the run although both may need some work. Really it sounds like they have not made the mental transition from the flatback to going completely over and landing on their feet.

Have you and the coach(I know her dd is involved) just sat down and asked them if they know why they won't completely commit to doing the vault?
id have to say try making them think that they are flying like superman we do a drill into the pit to help with this all you do is put a resi in the pit then a springboard infront of it you run and do a front handspring without your hands touching ill try to get a video of it to show you but thats what we do it helps alot if they try to be superman then at the last minute have them put there hands on the pit and tell them to push that will make sure that they have the reach, hieght, and they will be able to block easier the thing is they might be trying to slap the pit so they are getting stuck in a handstand so try that and let me know how it works
My idea of the whole block thing is that is fairly simple. I think of it as reflecting or rebounding off the vault table.

That means their body might be as tight as possible starting from the elbows and shoulders in the handstand. Get those shoulders pushed up.

Basically they have to be fast enough to put a lot of force into the springboard which they will rebound off. Their body has to be tight off the board.

Simple solution. Be a muscle machine so they can stay tight and generate a lot of force in the run and onto the board. Loose bodies go all over the place on vault. Develop a consistent, aggressive run. Basically bounce off the board and vault table.
You could have a contest to see how far they can land from the table. Mark in chalk where they land their first one, then challenge them to get further next time. You can do this landing on flat back with the mats stacked up to table height, too (in that case you could do how far the hands are from the table when they land).

Sometimes pits are very scary. There's usually a huge drop from the table to the pit, and even though we know the pit is the safest, easiest landing, visually it can be scary. Maybe try having them land on a regular competition surface would help them get over that fear of going over.

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