One of the most basic skills for the vault in gymnastics is the front handspring. A front handspring is a front tumbling skill that begins with a hurdle step and rotates 360 degrees from feet to hands to feet again. A good handspring has to be fast, and should maintain a straight line. This technique is not only quick, but very complex.
Vault Sequence Summary
1. Accelerated run
2. Hurdle to springboard
3. Take off from board
4. Turn over from board to the horse
5. Repulsion from the horse
The entire vaulting technique is broken up into six parts. Three parts of the technique are called “phases”, while the other three are “transfers”. A phase is period of time as well as the movement during that time. A transfer is used to mark the end of a phase, and a sudden change in direction. In vault, the three phases are the run, preflight, and post flight. The transfers are the punch, block, and landing. The attack on the springboard, also known as the punch occurs after the run. The block occurs when the hands come in contact with the vaulting table after the pre-flight. The landing occurs at the end of the vault.
Pre-flight to Take Off
The gymnast first completes an accelerated run and then takes a hurdle step onto the spring board. Next the gymnast makes an arm circle to maximize the force it takes to turnover unto the horse, also known as a vault. The run is approximately 25 meters and represents translational motion. Gymnasts strive to have a good “punch” of the spring board because it increases both their displacement and potential energy.
(Diagram- A represents the springboard’s compression. B-D are phases of take-off.)
Bakalar, Brian. "The Front Handspring." Gymnastics Revolution. N.p., n.d. Web. 12 Sept. 2012. <http://www.gymnasticsrevolution.com/Parents%2023-2.html>.
"The Front Handspring Vault." Gymnast Corner | The Physics of Gymnastics. N.p., n.d. Web. 12 Sept. 2012. <http://www.brightchen.com/gymnastcorner/physics/handspring.htm>.