The yurchenko vault drills in this article will cover each portion of teaching the basic yurchenko vault.
Yurchenko Vault Entry
There are a multitude of vaults that can be performed from the Yurchenko vault entry. The yurchenko vault entry is the round off onto the springboard back handspring onto the vault table.
Yurchenko Vault Basic Concepts
In gymnastics we should see the human body move from a curved line to curved line with no segments throughout their body and throughout the transition from shape to shape or hollow to arch. Any break in the body line is a break in the athlete’s power or as we call it, an energy leak. We want to always keep these concepts in mind while teaching the Yurchenko vault.
Guidelines for the Round Off Back Handspring
We personally keep all the tumbling techniques the same throughout all tumbling events, floor, beam, and vault. This keeps the round off back handspring more consistent for the athlete when all the different event coaches are teaching them the same skills with the same technique.
Some tumbling guidelines are to have the athletes head remain neutral throughout all tumbling (the head pulling back with a military chin when traveling backwards is in line with the body (neutral)). The athletes need to have straight arms with no exceptions!
Prerequisites to Flip a Yurchenko Vault
We have 4 prerequisites we require before we allow athletes to flip their yurchenko vaults. Those prerequistes are listed below.
- Back kaboom on trampoline (Learn the Back Kaboom on Trampoline)
- Standing back tuck salto up to a panel mat or higher with a chest up landing.
- Landing a double back salto somewhere in our gym, repetitively. (Trampoline, rod floor from a round off on a springboard to land on a resi pit or an 8” mat in the foam pit)
- Round off layout over the vault to land on an above ground resi pit
- Yurchenko timer to their back without hitting their feet in a hollow chest flat hip position with continued momentum to perform a hollow back extension and stand up in a pike. The mat stack for this drill is at a minimum the same height as the vault table.
Yurchenko Vault Planning
We like to break down our yurchenko vault training into 3 sections and make sure we train all 3 sections every day we train a yurchenko vault. The 3 sections are broken down as follows; Run & Hurdle, Round Off & Back Handspring, Salto and Landing. When planning your vault workouts make sure to include each part of the yurchenko vault either in your warm-ups or drill them throughout the vault workout. Below pictured is our 2022 September through November Level 9 and Level 10 yurchenko vault plan.
Yurchenko Vault Drills
The drills are in order of the vault working from the beginning to the end.
- Run & Hurdle Drills
- Round Off Drills
- Round off connection to back handspring drills
- Block and Tension Drills
- Back Handspring Drills
- Salto Drills
- Landing Drills
Run & Hurdle Vault Drills
The run needs to be a consistent, aggressive, fast arm swing with arms bent from 75-90 degrees. Slight forward lean stranding up straight at full speed. Never allow your athletes to arch backwards in their run. *This article will not include running drills.
How to hurdle: Hurdle straight forward, hips square forward, open and moving forward. Arms raise up & forward to 11 o’clock, they must remain narrow and together straight across from one another. The butt tucks under with the stomach in and NO arching, push through the bottom foot (Use lines on floor all the time) eyes forward towards the vault looking at the hand-mat and springboard.
Leg Action: Do not over think this concept. The legs do what a natural skip does with a slight bend in both legs. The slight bend in both legs gives a snap action up and under their body. The front knee stays below the athlete’s hips and their chest stays upright with no extra forward lean. They must NOT extend their leg out in front of them (I refer this to hitting the brakes), the front foot should come down directly under the front knee. The feet should face forward and not cross over the centerline. At this point in the hurdle, we want the eyes to go solely to the hand mat and springboard.
Hurdle Drills for the Yurchenko Vault
- Hurdle off Panel Mat to Mountain Climber – this drill is to help the athlete keep their hips moving forward as they hurdle swing their arms up and front foot out underneath them.
- Can also add a cartwheel to round
- Hurdle feet straight – Using two hand placement mats we can set them up to make sure there is no crossing over centerline with their feet throughout the hurdle.
- Same drill but add a round off out of it
- Add a blocking side cartwheel up to a resi pit
- Or a round off up to a resi pit – you get the idea that you can set these mats up in front of many different round off drills to help create a consistent hurdle step.
- Hurdle arm swing drill with a resistance band.
- Double knee skip running drill to help simulate the hurdle leg action.
- Triple hop over 3 foam blocks to land in mountain climber hold with chest straight up & down (no back arch). Then this drill can be continued on to add a round off up to a resi or down and scoop to their back.
Round Off Drills for the Yurchenko Vault
The round off should be performed accelerating the hands down fast with the ears covered. The eyes on the springboard watching for the feet to hit the springboard. The athlete should block off their 1 -2 hand strike on the floor to a FAST snap-up with entire body tension in a rounded upper-back position with the arms covering the ears parallel to the floor and the eyes still down. The butt should be tucked under, stomach and ribs pulled in with tight feet punching through the springboard to create backward momentum.
Try to perform as many of your round off drills on a line in your gym to continue to emphasize a straight cartwheel and round off.
Round Off Drills
- Start with these 8 basic Round-off drills for the Yurchenko vault
- Round off shape hold up to a above ground resi pit
- Drills to accelerate the hands down action
- The first drill requires the athlete to reach down directly below their shoulders to get their hands down fast enough onto the mat.
- The second drill accelerates the athlete’s hands by going down further than normal but require them to block off their hands quickly to get up to the panel mat.
- Round off rebound with backward momentum.
- Combining the Hurdle drill, triple hop over 3 foam blocks and separating blocks to land the round off up on to and separate blocks for the hands to empathize the 1 – 2 hand action.
Round Off Connection to Back Handspring Drills
- Cartwheel to round then open
- Back handspring to handstand fall flat
- Backward roll back handspring
- Round off up onto panel mat with whip off up to above ground resi pit
- Round off 2 whip series on the rod floor
- Step down ½ back handspring to open shape
**Video Coming Soon**
Yurchenko Vault Blocking & Tension Drills
- 1/2 Back Handspring from a seat drop on trampoline
- 1/2 Back handspring to handstand bounce
- Back handspring to handstand
- Tumble trak to 1/2 back handspring to handstand bounces sets of 5-10
- Round off back handspring onto a low vault from a rod floor to block and hold to land on a mat (octagon)
- Round off back handspring onto a wedge mat to block and hold a straight open body
Back Handspring Drills for the Yurchenko Vault
We teach the back handspring with the fingers slightly turned in or neutral with a long full extension back, snapping the hips up getting the arms under the body. The back handspring arms and head MUST move together as 1 piece!
Coaches note – Remember the arms swing to move the shoulders, not move the shoulders to swing the arms back.
- Standing back handspring to handstand and press to land flat
- Sit down long back handspring to land flat
- Standing whip on tumble trak holding a pit foam block in athlete’s hands
- Hollow-Arch body tension with resistance band
- Double springboard back handspring for rotation with chest up
- Back handspring on tumble trak for rotation with chest up
- Handstand snap-down back handspring with low vault (video with a mini-trampoline, we also use a springboard for this drill)
Salto and Landing Drills for the Yurchenko Vault
Our salto and landing drills for the Yurchenko vault include 2 of our prerequisites to “flipping” a yurchenko vault.
- A back kaboom on trampoline
- The ability to perform a tumbling or trampoline double back salto to a correct landing shape. (We prefer a double back on trampoline and a round off double back from the rod floor with a springboard to land on a soft surface.)
- Standing back tuck up to a panel mat with a chest up landing.
We also like to use the traditional handstand step down on the vault table to salto off the table working on the correct visual spotting and the landing positions.
Final Thoughts on the Yurchenko Vault
How to know when your athlete is ready to compete their first Yurchenko vault??? (The million dollar question). Here is one tool we have used to make sure our athletes confidence levels are high when first putting this vault in competition. We have them perform their vault at practice, then go to another event for the 45 minute event workout. After that event come back to vault and after 1 warm-up turn, salute and compete their yurchenko vault (they only get 1, not 2). Once they can do this safely without hesitation, they are ready for competition surface.
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