FIXING College Vault Judging

Vault is the worst judged apparatus in College Gymnastics.

In fact, it’s a disaster. Fans sitting close to the Vault table at Championships 2014 (including me) were livid at times watching blatant injustice directly in front of our eyes.

Obviously inferior vaults would score the same as much better vaults. Or even higher in some cases.

Merde. 😦

That said, the NCAA has fixed the biggest problem already. September 2012 WAG NCAA finally decided to eliminate the required dangerous 2nd vault in Finals. To “lessen the possibility of injuries“.

In 2008 (the bad old days) Susan Jackson won Vault. She rarely trained her 2nd vault. And only into pit.

Pretty much everyone agrees, including Miss Val, that there are too many Yurchenko 1/1s in the NCAA.

One way to solve that problem is to make Yurchenko 1/1 start at 9.95.

The 10.0 start would be reserved for Yurchenko 1 1/2 and a list of more advanced vaults.

That would solve most of the problem, right there.

In 2014 there’s too much emphasis on landing. Nebraska happened to stick in Championships prelims. I recall the year Stanford happened to stick. Landings are important, but not that important.

If you follow this site regularly you know I want landings rewarded that best absorb impact forces safely.

Uchimura-type landings.

legs apart on landing

Any set of rules that rewards gymnasts for landing with feet together and torso vertical is increasing the risk of injury on landing.

If not by lucky landings, how should we separate the best from the rest?

• add grid lines to the landing mat to check alignment and distance. Reward vaults that are straight, high and long relative to height of the gymnast.

Trampoline has added “flight time” as a component of their scoring. It works. Those spending the most time in the air are rewarded. If you have a video analysis system than can measure flight time of postflight, let’s try it out a competitions next season. Time is height.


• add 0.25 final score increments in competitions with more than 2 teams. That way we’ll have fewer ties, as well.

Leave a comment if you have additional ideas for improving Vault judging.


• Gymnastike – Preview: NCAA Vault Final 2014

FIXING College Bars Judging

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Rick Mc

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

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