Category Archives: Vault

Learning to Punch the Spring Board

Hey all, just a quick post here for you today about teaching kids how to punch on the spring board. Before a gymnast can ever generate a powerful punch on spring board, they first have to be able to squeeze their body off the spring board.

Tony Retrosi demonstrates some great beginner vault drills to help young gymnasts learn the right shape and develop the tight body needed in a vault punch. He’s also got some other side station ideas you can work in. One of my favorites starting at 1:27 which requires the gymnast’s chest to be up and toes in front on the board.

Here is a great video demonstrating leg tightening drills for punching. This is something we added into our vault warm up, we do 2 sets of 5 punches in each direction (straddle, backwards, forwards, right side, left side). These would also work as great side stations on not only vault, but also on floor.

***** 0:00 – 1:25

This next drill is one I’ve seen and used often. For young kids, using a band and spring board is good until they can maintain a tight shape is ideal. Then you can move on to using bands with more resistance and harder punching surfaces.

***** 0:00 – 0:50


For those gymnasts who pike on the vault entry, this drill will help develop the habit of punching on the board and keeping your hips flat.

******  3:46 – 5:08

Here we have two other great drills we use regularly. The first we use to teach both a strong punch on the board and to help create the muscle memory of the gymnast’s arms being down when they punch on the board. The second is a fun one to do to develop a long hurdle that will provide power for a strong punch.

Video 1: Tony Retrosi
Videos 2,3 and 4: Mary Lee Tracy

Yurchenko drills to break up vault during season

Hi All,

Today I wanted to share some yurchenko drills that can help break up the monotony during season. There are a certain number of repetitions we just HAVE to get done during season – but it’s also hard when gymnasts get bored, or WE get bored. So here are some ways of getting in your yurchenkos (and drills) that you may want to try.

This first set-up is one I really like for getting kids to focus on the skill as to separate things – 1) the entry and repulsion 2) the flip. You can also build this drill up, so that gymnasts are focusing on going up even more before they flip. It engages their brains in a little different way.

If you feel like your gymnasts’ bodies have been taking a bit too much of a pounding Tumbl Trak is a great way to go. You don’t need the vault attachment seen in this video (though it is nice to have) – you do much the same things with a simple level 3 vault system, spotting blocks etc. But what you want to be doing here is 1) retaining muscle memory and 2) refining things like shoulder angle and technique.

If you’re looking for a yurchenko side station – or just a way to vault without really having to vault, check out this drill. It’s a good way to work on round off turn over, shoulder angle and getting the chest up without having to go over the table, and without your athletes having to take the pounding.

Train hard!

Happy New Years! Goals and Vault with Troy Wright

Hi All,

I know I have been conspicuously absent these past few weeks. This holiday season I decided to take a much needed break from work, including Swing Big! I’ve got some big things planned for Swing Big! in the next year and wanted to take a few steps back and just reflect on how much it has grown in the last twelve months. Swing Big! started as an idea more than seven years ago, an idea that I wanted it to be EASIER for coaches to get good information, information that would help them and their athletes. And this last year I have seen a fantastic community grow around Swing Big! and I’ve been able to reach more coaches and help more gyms and gymnasts than I could have hoped for. Next year is going to be an even bigger year for Swing Big! and I can’t wait to share it with each and every one of you. So to some all of that up in a few simple words: THANK YOU. Thank each and every one of you for reading and sharing and applying…I really couldn’t have done it without you.

A Few Goals For Swing Big! This Year:

1. More clinics – I did clinics in 5 states last year. But in 2015 my goal is to get to at least 15 states (Many are already booked). If you are interested in having a clinic in your gym or hosting an open clinic shoot me an email []

2. More original content. My Quick Tips are easily my most viewed posts. I did 39 Quick Tips last year, and that was great but this year I would love to get it up to 50. If there is anything you would like to see in a Quick Tip leave a comment.

3. More online resources. This is still being sorted out but I am trying to decide between more books/ebooks or starting to put out downloadable videos or dvds. Which would you prefer? And what would you like to see in them?


happy new years

Alright, enough with the sappy stuff. I haven’t shared videos in a bit but the one today has some really good ideas in it from Troy Wright. I had the pleasure of working with him at the JAOVideos camp last summer, and I have to say it’s a pleasure to watch him coach (especially vault) – and the kids have a great time. The reason I like the drills especially at the beginning of this video is they stress body tension which is something that’s hard to SHOW gymnasts and not just tell them.

Train hard!

Yurchenko drills to add to your vault warm-up

Hi All,

So a lot of people ask me what to do in their vault warm-up, and if I really find the typical vault warm-up effective. The simple answer is yes, with the condition that kids are doing things (especially running drills), with their full effort and understand why they are doing them and how to apply them to their actual run. That being said, the typical running warm-up can get dull, and may not hit all of the aspects of the vault that you want it to. So today I’m sharing a video that Mary Lee Tracy did for drills for turning over the round off that you may want to add to your vault warm-up.

Yurchenko drills to add to your vault warm-up

I would even do these with your kids who are still competing handsprings as it’s good to drill them early. Some of these (needle kicks included) may even be important enough to add to your general warm-up. Not turning over the round off can be one of the biggest problems in yurchenkos so it’s important that we drill that turn over a lot. But, as we all know we get bored with some drills after a while. One of the things I really like about this video is it shows several drills that get at the same thing.

Train hard!

Yurchenko Drills – Using Resilite System

Hi All,

So when I talk about yurchenkos, especially when I’m giving a clinic there is one thing I emphasize above all else, and that is getting gymnasts consistent before ever moving it to the table. I want them to be able to hit the board consistently in the same spot before we ever start thinking about putting a table behind them. That isn’t today say that I don’t want them working the entry – it’s just to say that I want them doing it onto something like a resi or 8″ mats. Something where if they mess up it won’t result in a lot of fear.

Yurchenko vaults - using the resilite vault system

Tony Retrosi posted a really nice video of a whole series of drills (in a whole bunch of places) that you can do with the Resilite Vault System. The more I watch the video that more I like this system. I really like the raised round off mat – the numbers are incredibly helpful in building consistency and best it looks like a great way to transition to the table – something that I’ve seen people struggle with. You can also do all of these drills with normal 8″ mats – and you can use tape to create zones like with the Resilite system.

This is a second video put out by Resilite. Here they’re actually starting using it at full height from a spring board. It’s nice to see the transition from little ones in the first video learning to get a consistent round off – back handspring to using it as a whole second vault.

Train hard!