USA – level 5 vault (women)

UPDATE – Check the passionate, insightful COMMENTS on this post.

I’m posting this from the Great West Gym Fest, one of the biggest American gymnastics competitions.

Well over 1600 athletes compete over 4 days (video link).

Level 4 girls vault up on to mats landing “flat back”. An excellent developmental drill, most do it quite well. At this meet, AAI equipment was used. Level 4 vaulted on to the “Level 4 Vault System” mats.

Level 4 Vault System from Spalding
Level 4 Vault System from Spalding (AAI)

Level 6 girls do a required handspring vault over the standard vault table. Many are excellent!

But Level 5 girls vault is problematic. Of well over 100 girls I watched, only a small percentage did good vaults. Many had a piked body position on preflight. Many had poor arm action off the board. Dozens barely cleared the vault table.

It was clear to me that Level 5 should not compete a handspring vault over a table.

PROPOSAL: Level 5 girls vault over a stack of mats, landing on their feet. This would be the best transition between Levels 4 and 6.

In competition the “Level 4 Vault System” mats would be turned sideways. Girls would have to clear those mats.

Leave a comment below if you have an opinion on this proposal.

Jim Tighe, coach and equipment rep., likes the idea. But he suggested even Level 4s vault over the mats rather than landing flat back.

What do YOU think?

Published by

Rick Mc

Career gymnastics coach who loves the outdoors, and the internet.

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