The gymnast should twist right if his right hand touches the vault first, and twist left if his left hand touches first. It's usually a good idea to attempt most of the vaulting repetitions on soft surfaces to reduce the chance of injuries.
As a gymnast gets better with a skill on the vault, it is a good idea to do the same skill to an elevated soft surface. The soft surface minimizes the stress on the gymnast's joints while making it more difficult to land. This encourages gymnasts to apply more power and improve their technique.
The goal of this drill is to land on top of an elevated surface without having to arch the body. The gymnast can't arch and twist, which is why the drill is so important.
Practicing yurchenko timers to stacked mats is a useful way to train different vaulting techniques without having to worry about injuries. As the gymnasts get better, they can raise the height to make the drill more challenging.
At the same time that gymnasts are learning limbers, cartwheels, round-offs and other basic skills, they can also begin learning to jump backwards onto a resi-mat. The arms can stay-up or swing-up with a shoulders-width to the ears side. The knees should be bent slightly to begin the jump. Make sure the gymnast does not squat too deep. The jump must show good flight with a long travel back.
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