This article has been updated to reflect the changes in the 2022-2026 DP Code of Points.
You may have already read about Level 8 and Level 9 vault, in which there are restrictions on what vaults are allowable. In Level 10 vault, pretty much anything goes! There are many more options for flipping vaults, twisting vaults, and more complicated entrances onto the table.
So what are the judges looking for in a Level 10 vault? Let’s take a look.
Let’s first go over some terminology that will be used in this article.
Vaults are broken into three parts: preflight, support phase, and postflight.
Preflight – the time between when the gymnast leaves the springboard and when she first touches the vault table.
Support Phase – just like it sounds, it is the time in which the gymnast’s hands are in support on, or in contact with, the vault table.
Postflight – the time between when the gymnast leaves the table and when she lands on the mat.
Start Value – the maximum possible score of a vault.
Now, let’s look at some of the vaults gymnasts might perform in Level 10, and what the judges are looking for during those vaults.
Types of Level 10 Vaults
There are several different types of vaults that a Level 10 gymnast might do. These vaults are divided into groups based on the way the gymnast approaches the vault table.
Each vault is assigned a Start Value based on its difficulty. Vaults can have Start Values up to 10.0. For Level 10 vault, some of the 10.0 valued vaults are eligible for +0.10 bonus. This bonus is not awarded if there is a spot or a fall on the vault.
Group 1 Vaults: Handsprings and Twisting Vaults
Group 1 consists of all forward-entry vaults, with or without twists, that do not flip. These vaults are not seen as commonly in Level 10, because many of them have lower Start Values than the vaults in the other groups.
Some vaults from Group 1 include:
- Handspring- 1/1
- Handspring- 2/1 twist
- 1/1 on – 1/1 off
- 1/2 on – 2/1 off
- Handspring – 2 1/2 twist
Here is a table listing the Start Values of these vaults for Level 10.
|Handspring – 1/1||8.8|
|1/2 on – 1/1 off||8.7|
|Handspring – 2/1||9.8|
|1/1 on – 1/1 off||9.7|
|1/2 on – 2/1 off||9.6|
|Handspring – 2 1/2||10.0|
As you can see, a gymnast has to do a LOT of twisting in order to achieve a 10.0 Start Value using a vault from Group 1. If you’re a quick twister, one of these vaults could be for you! But many Level 10 gymnasts choose to do a flipping vault to get a higher Start Value.
The only bonus-eligible vaults in group 1 are the Handspring 2 1/2 twist, and the Yami 2 1/2 twist.
Group 2 Vaults: Forward Entry Flipping Vaults
Group 2 consists of forward entry vaults that flip.
Level 10 gymnasts have many more options than Level 9 gymnasts for Group 2 vaults. Here are some of the vaults from Group 2:
|Handspring front tuck||9.8|
|Handspring front pike||9.9|
|Handspring front pike 1/2||10.0|
|1/1 on – Front tuck||10.0|
|Handspring front layout||10.0 +0.10|
|FHS onto board, Handspring front tuck||9.9|
|FHS onto board, Handspring front pike||10.0|
There are many other options, most of which start from a 10.0. If you are a gymnast who has a great front handspring entry vault, there are lots of fun ideas to play around with!
There are a large number of vaults from Group 2 that can earn bonus. A few of them are:
- Handspring front tuck 1/1
- Piked Cuervo (Handspring 1/2 off to back pike)
- Handspring front layout
- 1/1 on, front tuck
- FHS onto board, Handspring front tuck 1/2
Group 3 Vaults: Tsukahara Entry (1/2 on) Flipping Vaults
Group 3 consists of Tsukahara-entry vaults (commonly called Tsuks). A Tsukahara vault is one in which the gymnast performs a ½ twist during the preflight, and a salto off the table.
In Level 10 vault, here are some common vaults from Group 3:
|Tsukahara Tuck 1/1||9.8|
|Tsukahara Layout 1/1||10.0 +0.10|
|1/2 on – 1/2 off Front Tuck||9.7|
Tsukahara-style vaults are less common than the next group (Yurchenko entry vaults). However, they can be a great option for gymnasts who have good power, who don’t want to go backward onto the table, or those who really love this style of vault!
If a gymnast can do a Tsuk layout 1/1 or Tsuck tuck 1 1/2, or more difficult, these vaults are eligible for the +0.10 bonus.
The focus for Tsukahara vaults is on good height and distance, and opening the salto before landing. This is the only type of vault in which it is acceptable to have a slight bend in the lead arm during the support phase.
Group 4 Vaults: Yurchenko Entry (Roundoff Entry)
Group 4 includes Yurchenko entry vaults. These vaults begin with a roundoff onto the springboard, so the gymnast approaches the vault table backward.
Here are some common Level 10 vaults from Group 4:
|RO, Flic-Flac on, Back Layout||9.7|
|RO, Flic-Flac on, Back Layout 1/1||10.0|
|RO, Flic-Flac on, Back Tuck 1/1||9.8|
|RO, Flic-Flac on, Back Layout 1 1/2||10.0|
|RO, Flic-Flac on, 1/2 Twist Front Tuck||9.8|
|RO, Flic-Flac on, 1/2 Twist Front Pike||9.9|
|RO, Flic-Flac on, Back Layout 2/1||10.0 + 0.10|
These vaults are some of the most common vaults that you will see in Level 10. In particular, the Yurchenko-full is very common at Level 10, as well as in NCAA gymnastics. It became so popular in NCAA gymnastics that the Start Value was lowered to 9.95. However, it maintains the 10.0 Start Value in the USAG Development Program.
Included in this group are the Yurchenko on, 1/2 off front salto vaults. These vaults have the same value as those which include a back salto with a 1/2 twist. For example, Yurchenko back layout 1/2 has the same value (10.0) as the Yurchenko 1/2 off front layout.
A few of the vaults from Group 4 are eligible for the +0.10 bonus. The most common vault that earns this bonus is the Yurchenko 1 1/2 twist. Obviously, the Yurchenko 2/1 and 2 1/2 will also earn this bonus.
As with the Tsukahara vaults, the focus is on height, distance, dynamics, and an open body position on landing.
Group 5 Vaults: Yurchenko ½ on and 1/1 on Entry
Group 5 also consists of vaults that start with a roundoff onto the springboard. However, in this group, the gymnast will perform a ½ or 1/1 twist onto the table.
There are only a handful of Yurchenko ½ on vaults that are allowed in Level 9, although they do get a couple more options than Level 8 gymnasts do. The allowable vaults in this group are:
|RO, FF 1/2 on – 1/2 off||9.1|
|RO, FF 1/1 on – 1/2 off||9.2|
|RO, FF 1/2 on – Front Tuck||10.0|
|RO, FF 1/2 on – 2/1 off||9.9|
|RO, FF 1/2 on – 1/2 off Back Tuck||10.0 +0.10|
|RO, FF 1/1 on – Back Tuck||10.0|
If a gymnast is able to master this entry, there are a number of options for high Start Values, and for bonus-eligible Level 10 vaults.
Here are a few of the vaults that are eligible for the +0.10 bonus in Group 5:
- RO, FF 1/2 on – Front Tuck 1/2
- RO, FF 1/2 on – 1/2 off Back Tuck
- RO, FF 1/2 on – Front Pike
- RO, FF 1/1 on – !/2 off Front Tuck
- RO, FF 1/1 on – Back Tuck 1/1
Start Value and Its Relationship to Level 10 Vault Score
A gymnast’s vault score is comprised of her Start Value, minus all applicable execution deductions.
The higher the Start Value, the higher the gymnast’s potential score. Of course, there is a higher potential for error as the vaults get more difficult.
A gymnast might have performed a great Yurchenko Tuck at Levels 8 and 9, but this vault is only worth 9.4 in Level 10 vault. This is to encourage the gymnasts to perform harder vaults at the higher levels. To get a score in the high 9’s, she’ll need a more difficult vault.
In order to get a big score at Level 10 vault, most gymnasts will perform a flipping vault, usually with a twist. Probably the most common 10.0-valued Level 10 vault is the Yurchenko-full, but you can see how many options there are among the different vault groups. It takes a lot of training to build a 10.0 Start Value in Level 10 vault, but the payoff is worth it.
What Makes a Level 10 Vault Great?
All great Level 10 vaults should have excellent dynamics, which is a word for the overall power and ease of the vault. The vault should be big and powerful, and it should look easy – the gymnast should not appear to struggle to get the vault around.
These vaults should have a lot of height off the vault table. If a vault is lacking in height, there are usually other problems that led to the lack of height. These problems could be (among others) a shoulder angle or body position that slows the rotation, staying on the vault table too long, or not running fast enough.
It’s possible to have a great vault with a poor landing. I’ve seen huge, dynamic vaults that end in six running steps off the mat because the gymnast had so much power. But to get the best score, the gymnast needs to control her power and land cleanly.
The best handsprings and twisting vaults have great, tight, straight body position throughout. The head and shoulders should stay in alignment with the body.
During twisting vaults, the twist should be quick and crisp. The gymnast should not twist while her hands are in contact with the vault table.
When performing these vaults, the hands should leave the table by the time the gymnast’s body is vertical. If the hands stay on the table too long, it is a deduction. Also, the gymnast will not get the necessary height and distance if she does not get a quick “block” off the table!
Finally, the gymnast should land cleanly, with her chest up and feet no further than hip-width apart. Steps, body posture errors, and a deep squat on landing will all incur deductions.
Flipping vaults typically don’t have many deductions in the preflight. You might have a leg separation or a bit of knee bend, but it’s not usually a major deduction.
During the support phase of a flipping vault, there are NO deductions for too long in support, or being on the table past vertical. The gymnast should maintain good form, head and shoulder alignment, and if she’s doing a tucked vault, don’t tuck the legs too early. This is especially common on handspring front vaults!
The vast majority of the deductions are going to occur in the postflight and on the landing. The best vaults have exceptional height and good distance. They should show a tight, clear body position in the air. The Start Value is determined by the vault performed. The body position during the majority of the salto (flip) determines which vault is performed.
For instance, if a gymnast is attempting a Yurchenko layout, but she is piked (<135° hip angle) throughout more than 50% of the salto, she will receive credit for a Yurchenko pike (9.5) instead of the layout (9.7). For this reason, it is important to show the correct body position throughout the vault!
The gymnast should open up from her flip prior to landing, and land in control with her chest up. Many vaults never fully open up, which can result in deductions for the open AND for posture on landing!
Finally, as we discussed earlier, the gymnast should land in control, with minimal movements. Each step gets a deduction, along with additional trunk movements, and a deep squat. If the gymnast lands in a deep squat, and then falls, she will receive a deduction for both the squat and the fall.
Common Deductions for Level 10 Vaults
We’ve touched on a lot of these in the previous section, so here are some of the common possible deductions for Level 10 vault.
Deductions that apply to each phase:
- Legs crossed – up to 0.10
- Leg separation – up to 0.20
- Bent legs – up to 0.30 (except for the postflight of tucked salto vaults)
- Excessive arch – up to 0.20
- Piked body – up to 0.30
- Incomplete LA turn – up to 0.30
Support phase Deductions:
- Shoulder angle – up to 0.20
- Alternate repulsion – up to 0.20 (except Group 3 vaults and Group 5 vaults with 1/1 on)
- Bent arms – up to 0.50
- LA turn begun too early – up to 0.30
- Too long in support – up to 0.50 (non-salto vaults ONLY)
- Angle of repulsion – up to 1.00 (non-salto vaults ONLY)
- Insufficient tuck (min. 90° bend in hips and knees) – up to 0.30
- Insufficient pike (min. 90° bend in hips) – up to 0.30
- Insufficient stretch (for layout saltos) – up to 0.30
- Insufficient open before landing – up to 0.30
- Under-rotation of salto vaults – Up to 0.10
- Late completion of twist – up to 0.30
- Height – up to 0.50
- Distance – up to 0.30
- Steps – 0.10 each (max. 0.40)
- Medium step — 0.15
- Large step – 0.20 each (max 0.40)
- Small adjustments of feet – up to 0.10
- Deep squat – up to 0.30
- Fall – 0.50
- Lands in squat position, then falls — up to 0.30 + 0.50
- Incorrect body posture on landing – up to 0.20
- LA turn incomplete – up to 0.30
- Directional errors – up to 0.30
- Dynamics – up to 0.30
Don’t forget that a key component of the vault is not scored: the run. Without a great run, the vault will never achieve its full potential. See The Essential Guide to a Great Vault Run for more details on how to get your run up to speed!
A great Level 10 vault is big and powerful. It should have great height and distance from the table, and demonstrate a clear body position throughout. Flipping vaults should open up and land with good posture. Twisting vaults should show a crisp, clean twist that makes it all the way around. All vaults need a strong run to get them started, and they should finish with a controlled landing.
USA Gymnastics Code of Points, 2022-2026.