cos I forgot completely to take the camera to the comp today - so you will not be bored with photos of Jess.
I do, however, get a second chance tomorrow as a no-longer-chicken-pox-spotty Tamsin is competing first thing in the morning. I even get the chance to take some ballet shots as it is exam rehearsal day tomorrow as well.
I bet y'all just can't wait :) NOT!
Anyhoo - Jess improved her scores today and came 9th overall, and FIRST on vault!! Woohoo
So happy and proud, and she is too.
Cos at the last comp she had a huge meltdown on vault: scoring zero on her first attempt (running, touching the beat board but not vaulting); baulking her second (but without touching the board, so has a life left); then after waiting for everyone else in the group to vault she pulls herself together sufficiently to actually vault on the third (and last chance) attempt for a 12.90.
So you can imagine how I felt when her comp today started on vault. Ye gods, what if she freaked herself out again? And stayed freaked for the rest of the comp?
First, I'll bore you with some techo gym stuff - just so you get how vault works (for those that don't know)
L4 vault is a sort of handspring flat back onto mats stacked as high as the vault table.
Things the judges are looking for are: good fast run, underarm swing (overarm is an automatic zero score), good hurdle step, strong flight (no pike) onto the vault, straight tight handstand position throughout, strong prop (quick strong push) off vault, land flat (in dish) on the mats some distance from the vault.
Its start value is a 15.0; not many gymnasts at the comps so far have been able to score over 14.0 - to the bewilderment of their parents (and themselves) in many cases. And given that they mostly get to handstand ok, keep their legs straight and land in dish nicely they quite rightly wonder.
But this is what I think explains it.
L2c vault is a handstand flat back off the beatboard onto a stack of mats- no run, no hurdle, no flight, no vault table, no prop. It's a step on the way to a handspring vault - how to go up to a handstand from an underarm swing and then push off holding the handstand shape while moving through the air.
Problem is, with L3b vault being a front tuck salto from the beat board onto mats and breaking the progression, a lot of the girls don't get that they're meant to "pop" off their hands from the vault onto the mats in L4 - showing height and distance travelled.
Meaning that they instead do a kind of upgraded L2 vault: run, hurdle, somehow get to a handstand on the table, hold it, then fall (still in handstand shape) onto the mat.
No pop, no travel off the vault. And half of them pike off the beat board to get to handstand (a deduction).
And those that do show some prop, a good percentage of them get prop by bending their arms - not a good habit to get into (and gets more deductions).
A strong prop - one that leads down the track to adding somersaults and twists - comes from the shoulders. It's the same for handspring on floor. Otherwise the gymnast can't get their chest up enough to then put a salto on to it.
It's what gives the gymnast the height in the air to do something before landing basically.
And this vault is meant to show that they're going to be able to do that for the next level.
I've noticed that the gymnasts who show a "pop" off the vault invariably don't pike off the beat board, have straight arms onto the vault and get scored 13.9+ Anyone else, well, they don't score so well.
Jess does get that L4 is about handsprings (it's core skill on floor as well in L4).
She can prop too. In fact, Jess' first vault today popped so much that her chest came up (as it needs to for the next level of vaulting) and so her landing wasn't completely flat.
It's a big deduction if a gymnast actually "sits up" the landing - cos it implies that they didn't maintain the open hip position. She managed to not sit it up cos she held her shape and open hip really tight. She told me after that it actually hurt when she landed from pushing off the vault so hard!
She then did her second one - that also popped, but with a flatter landing.
Result: 14.20 from a possible 15.0
GO JESS! and here endeth the lesson, KTHNXBAI