Vault: The Approach

Have you ever thought about how many different kinds of vaults there are? An awful lot, especially as the ability level increases. But there are a few basic things they all have in common, and over the next couple of weeks, we will look closely at three of the most important components of vaulting, starting today with the approach.

 Let's think for a moment. What is the first and most important factor in doing a good vault? If you're thinking that it's the run, you're right on!

 All the power for your vault comes from a fast and direct run. I've watched my teammates attempt vaults with weak runs, and almost certainly, they end up with weak vaults. The more speed you can get out of the sprint down the runway, the more potential power and distance you'll have for your after- flight.

 There are many drills you can do to improve your run. The most obvious one is to do sprints, but some others that will strengthen your legs are what I learned as deer runs (illustrated below), marches, and butt-kicks (illustrated below).

As you do these, you want to lift your front knee and push off your back leg and get forward momentum as much as possible. You don't want them to be too high; they should be somewhat low and fairly long. When done correctly, these should look like a deer running. 

Marches

These are just short runs lifting your knees as high as possible. Don't travel forward too much on these, and try to do them as quickly as possible.

Butt-kicks

Okay, I don't know what else to call them, but with these, as the name implies, you run while lifting your heels as if you were trying to kick your butt. Like the marches, you don't want to have too much forward velocity, and you want to do the kicks as quickly as you can. 

For best results, you should do these down the vault runway, several passes of each.

 In addition to the run, the hurdle on to the board is also very important. Keep in mind that you want to keep your hurdle somewhat long and low to the ground. The board is designed to transfer forward momentum to upward momentum; it is not very effective in bouncing already-vertical movement.

 Tune in next week for part two of the vaulting series where we will discuss the pre-flight!

 Good luck!