vaulting beatboard springs – hassle

Words to live by:

“The fewer restrictions, the better.”

It’s a slight problem changing the number and configuration of springs in a beatboard during a gymnastics competition. No doubt.

FIG — for the Athens 2004 Olympics — finally established that only 3 different beatboards would be available. And that the springs would NOT be adjustable.

That was a change. But reasonable, perhaps, for the very best athletes in the world.

(I just learned that one of the main reasons for that rule was that too many springs had been stolen from international competitions.)


To my shock, when I arrived at the Canadian National Championships 2007, the 3-beatboard-only rule had been applied to EVERY gymnast at Nationals. Even tiny 60lb girls were not allowed to change the springs. Even on Bars. Even on Beam. (Swapping over the boards was a nightmare for the equipment crew.)

This rule is a mistake. And a classic case of imposing regulations that might be reasonable at the Elite level on developing age group athletes. We’ve seen this same wrong thinking dozens of times in the past.


In the US Jr. Olympic program coaches change springs and even the height of the vault horse without restriction. There is plenty of time on Vault to do so, even in a fast competition.

To their credit, the Men at Canadian Nationals decided not to enforce the rule. For Women it was enforced, despite the fact that it is nearly impossible to police. I noticed in one occasion that Women’s coaches warmed up in the training gym on one fixed set of boards, then competed on a different set. It was very confusing to be sure which fixed set of boards was allowed at each level.

Obviously the correct beatboard regulation is that which optimizes the safety of the developing gymnast. Let the coach change the springs as needed.

one of 3 spring configurations for the National Novice division

I’ll send this recommendation to the Technical Committees of Gymnastics Canada.

Do you have dumb rules appropriate to international athletes imposed on your kids?

If so, leave a comment.


Here are some facts that you may want to add to your blog to ensure that your readers have complete information.

Novices have the option to vault at 120 cm or 125 cm.

The Novices have different board configurations than the Open, Junior and Senior categories. On Vault only, the Novices have the choice of 4 configurations specifically set for them. They also have two specific configurations for Bars and Beam.

We offered to the coaches, during the coaches debriefing at Canadians, to return to an optional spring configuration. The answer was NO. Not one coach expressed a desire to return to the “old” rules. I can assure you that the safety of their gymnasts is of the utmost importance for these coaches. The same comment applies to GCG personnel.

The configuration of the boards in effect for each apparatus / category is stated in a document that is circulated to all HP clubs and P/T Associations and is posted on the GCG website.

There is a spring configuration monitoring process in place for the competition gym that works rather well after only 1.5 years of implementation. During the coaches debriefing session, we even discovered who was the coach who changed the configuration of one board in the training gym!

Finally, the international rule regarding boards is two boards per apparatus, not three.

Thanks Lise.

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Rick Mc

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

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