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vault trouble for tiny kids

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CuriousCate

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I saw a thread about this in the past asking about deductions for form but I have a few more questions to expand if you will indulge me. My DD is finishing up level 3 and we hope will be invited to train level 4 in the spring. The one thing that I worry will hold her back is the vault.

My DD weighs about 43 pounds and even with running her fastest, she struggles to really punch the board. Her scores range anywhere from 8.3 to 9.0 (ONCE!) for the front handspring on the table with a flatback onto a stack of mats 8" higher than table. It's so inconsistent even at practice - sometimes it looks amazing and other times terrible.

I noticed some kids using a trampoline spring board and getting much better height but our gym doesn't like that approach as they said they'd rather kids get worse scores but learn the springboard early.

I worry that she'll never be able to get over and land on her feet when the mats are gone. Any advice for pee-wees like her?
 

gymnastmom05

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ugh. I have a tiny one, this is our 3rd season going over the vault table. I hate vault. Her vaults look much better as she's gotten older (heavier) and she's scoring higher but still close to the bottom when it comes to placement on this particular event. She weighed about 45 lbs when she started level 4 and barely made the board move when she would hit it. Her shape was much better on the vault table than some girls but the power is just lacking. She's about 65 lbs now and I don't worry that she's going to smack her back any long. I guess that's my positive on vault. I have no idea how she'll go to a "flipping" vault. I'm just glad that event goes fast!
 
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Flyaway

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No real advice, just commiseration. She'll get it. My dd was the same. Her first season of level 3 she used a mini board: not a tramp but a smaller springboard with a lower weight limit. That helped her correct her form some because she was actually able to move that board. Prior to that her vault was horrible because she couldn't make the normal sized board move at all. The coaches even let her use the mini board at meets, since it's allowed. It's not their favorite thing to do, but was necessary for her. After that first season she started working with a regular board and got better at it, partially because she grew a bit, and partially because her form was better.

Fast forward two years later, she's vaulting over the table. It's not perfect by any means, and she's still tiny (55 lbs maybe?) but she's doing it. I try not to stress too much because I know we have several seasons of this vault ahead of us. Each time I see her it gets better.
 
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CuriousCate

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is it dangerous for them if they can't get the power? I keep worrying that if she can't power up and then block off that she'll hit her back or neck. I'm super paranoid about it with the long vault table...

what level do they keep this vault until?
 

sce

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is it dangerous for them if they can't get the power? I keep worrying that if she can't power up and then block off that she'll hit her back or neck. I'm super paranoid about it with the long vault table...

what level do they keep this vault until?
Some smaller ones can have a hard time with vault, but not all do. as well, trust her coaches to do what is best for her. I am sure they will not let her vault on her own if she is at risk for injuring herself as you are imagining.
 

CoachTodd

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I have very small kids vaulting at higher settings and with a firmer board that bigger kids. size isn't the limitation here. I like the idea of the gym not using the mini tramp for vaulting. That's a personal problem I have with that that I won't get into. The main issue the smaller ones tend to have is actually punching properly and take off angles. My DD was about 50 pounds but won states on the handspring flatback vault over the table. She's fully grown now at a whopping 4'10' :).
If at all possible, get videos of her vault from a spot she can look at her angles. Most of the little ones hit the board leaning forward because they want to make it over the table.
 

CuriousCate

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thanks! how should she be hitting the board? they tell her something about not putting or not getting ( I don't remember!) her feet in front of her... she just turned 7 last week so her interpretation of the verbal corrections is often interesting!
 

mls529

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I also have a petite one, who really struggled with level 4 vault last year. At her first meet, she actually sprung onto the table in a handstand and then walked on her hands across the table and kinda arched off. It was horrible. Like the poster above, what has helped her this year is getting the right angles (don't lean forward), "popping" (her coaches did endless drills on this) and learning to run faster. I also think it helped that she put on a ton of muscle weight in the past year. She is now over 60 pounds. Good luck to your daughter! If it helps, once she gets a good handspring vault, she will keep the same vault until level 7 (at least that is what I have noticed).
 
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duyetanh

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I cant see your dd's vault, nor am I a coach...but size isn't the issue. My child was vaulting over the table at 42 pounds....and it is her favorite event. She lives for the fhs vault, lol! For her, the issue is bars...and I will admit, I always blamed the size before...but in reality bars is all about the core, the swing and the handstands....now that she is stronger, more confident and comfortable with all this, she is making progress in this event. Finally! So...not sure how you can help her, but I am sure the coaches are aware of what they need to do....honestly sometimes it is all about time.
 

Gymmamabear

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I find size to be more an issue in tumbling than vault for my daughter - getting the height she need without the weight! She's mid-50lbs. She does a Tsuk vault this year and is working the Yerchenko (but not flipping).
 
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suebee

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Ugh, vault! My dd is also little but a very fast runner and struggling greatly with the FHS vault.

I don't know what to make of it. I do know that although she is one of the shortest and probably the lightest girl on her team, her coach has her vault on a taller vault setting than some of the taller and heavier girls (all the girls use the same springs/board).

I figure it will come eventually! But I commiserate!
 
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Vivianflips

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I understand your daughter's struggles very much! The only difference is that when I did competitive gymnastics I was 5'5" and 115 pounds and still had trouble getting any power off of the board! I eventually got much better at vaulting with practice and improving my technique. For me the biggest thing was learning how to punch hard into the board. I'm more of a graceful gymnast so I would more just lightly hop onto the board, which gave me zero power. Once I corrected that my vaults improved immensely. Best of luck to your daughter!
 
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meganliz77

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Some smaller ones can have a hard time with vault, but not all do. as well, trust her coaches to do what is best for her. I am sure they will not let her vault on her own if she is at risk for injuring herself as you are imagining.
I would like to think this is true, but after sitting through enough meets at this point, I know it's not. I have seen some VERY scary FHS vaults at meets. I cannot understand for the life of me why the coaches (and not just one team mind you) would have allowed those particular kiddos to even attempt it... I mean, they were that scary.

But, the scary vaults were not being thrown by just pint-sized girls.

My DD has always been on the small side, yet vault has been and continues to be one of her strongest events. She's about 65 lbs now, thanks to pure muscle and a growth spurt, but when she started the FHS vault she was maybe 50 lbs. She continues to be the shortest and one of the lightest... so don't give up hope ;)

I won't pretend I know all the answers - but for my DD it comes from a fast run, powerful punch and a really strong block. Drills, and drills, and more drills. I would sincerely hope your DD's coach isn't the type to have them just throw a skill, and focuses on their safety by running them through lots of drills and spotted vaults before they are expected to do one alone.
 
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dmbgymnast

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I have no advice, but that video was the cutest thing in the world! She's precious. Best of luck to her, she'll find a way to make it work.
 
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