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Youth gymnastics coaches learn drills for prehandspring vaults

This is an excerpt from Coaching Youth Gymnastics eBook by USA Gymnastics.

  • Donkey Kicks

Intermediate A While standing on the board, place the hands on the stacked mats and bounce on the board, driving the heels back and up into the air toward a handstand position. Upon landing, immediately spring back up. Repeat numerous times, keeping the head neutral and working to achieve a straight, slightly hollow body shape. This drill can be done in the tuck position, with progression to a pike, and then finally with straight legs. Coach’s note: Spotting is recommended on the first few attempts. Assist the gymnast by holding her at the hips.

Donkey Kicks


  • Handstand Fall to Back

Intermediate B Move through a lunge position to kick up to a handstand on the springboard. Pass through vertical and land flat on the back on a skill cushion (at least 8 inches [20 cm]). Maintain a straight, tight body with the head in neutral position throughout.

Handstand Fall to Back


  • Handstand Hops

Intermediate B Passing through a lunge position, swing the arms from backward low to forward high, place the hands on the floor, and kick up to a handstand. Keeping the arms straight, extend the shoulders quickly, creating a push (block) off the floor to perform small hops on the hands. Keep the body straight and tight, with legs together. Step down to a lunge position. Coach’s note: Spotting is recommended.

Handstand Hops

Learn more about Coaching Youth Gymnastics.