A vault can be broken up into multiple different phases: Run, hurdle, punch, preflight, block, post flight, and landing. The focus for the following drills will be for the Preflight.
Preflight is the phase of a vault from the board onto the table or mat. The shapes to drill for the preflight phase are the heel drive and diagonal handstand. During the preflight we are looking for the gymnast to finish their arm circle by their ears as they drive their heels to turn upside down while maintaining a flat, tight line throughout their body. We look that they are reaching across the table or mat with their shoulders shrugged tall so they are ready to block off the table or mat during the next phase of the vault.
Here are my favorite drills to work the heel drive, diagonal holds, and diagonal handstand drills.
- Jumping heel drives against a mat
- Seal drop to handstand flat back
- Lift to lower body superman on stomach
Diagonal Shape Holds:
- Diagonal hold with hands pushing on the wall
- Diagonal handstand hold over stair mat
- Diagonal handstand hold with feet only on the wall
Diagonal Handstand Drills:
- Tree fall over rollie to freeze in diagonal handstand
- Donkey kick to diagonal handstand with feet on wall
- Penguin slide down wedge to diagonal handstand
Perfecting vaulting shapes take a lot of repetition! Keep going back to the drills and shapes between vaulting turns, or take the time to set up shaping warm up stations to start off your vault workout. Spotting is a great way to help correct the shape during the vault too. Keep in mind the phases that come before the preflight have a chain reaction during the vault so be sure to continue watching the hurdle for corrections that will lead to a more successful preflight.