Split leaps and jumps are fundamental dance elements and can add grace and beauty to your floor (and beam) routines. However, they can cause you to rack up a significant amount of deductions if done improperly. To help you, we’ve teamed up with a National Rated Gymnastics Judge to bring you 3 tips you can do to improve your leaps in order to earn a great score with minimal deductions. These tips address the deductions that are consistently taken over and over again on split leaps by judges in competition.
Implement these important tips to help you score higher on your leaps.
Number One: Height of Leaps
The height of your leaps is very important to your score. If your leaps are not high enough judges can deduct up to .2 from your score. This applies to your jumps and hops too.
In the following example, the gymnast would get a deduction for having too little height in her leap. The leap below is almost like a large step with a little rise. The height of the leap is too low and you can see she is barely getting off the floor.
In this next example, the gymnast gets ample height so she would not receive deductions for height. This leap is higher than the previous leap and you can see her hips are higher away from the floor. For leaps, the higher the rise, the better!
Therefore, when doing your split leaps, aim to get as much height as you can while still being able to control your leap.
Number Two: Angle of Your Legs in the Split Leap
Each level has an angle requirement for leaps on floor. Make sure you ask your coach (or check out GymnasticsHQ’s Level Requirements) how many degrees your leap should be if you don’t already know.
Here are the different angles:
For example, a Gold level gymnast needs a leap with a 120° split on floor. If she achieves 120° or more there is no angle deduction. If she gets to 100° or more she will get credit for the split leap but still get up to .2 deducted from her score.
If, however, her leap is less than 100°, judges can deduct .5 points for missing a special requirement. When this occurs, you will see a reduced start value (a 9.5 will be flashed as the Start Value, assuming all other requirements were met).
When performing your split leap, make sure you know how much of a leg separation is required for your level and that you are hitting the correct angle every time.
Number Three: The Evenness of the Split
Not only is it important for you to have good height and the right degree of split in your leap, it is also important that your legs are even when they are in the air for the leap.
An even split (or leg separation) means that both legs are the same distance from the vertical midline.
This is an example of an even split leap:
You can see that both legs are at the same angle and distance away from the middle which is good!
This is an example of an uneven split leap:
You can see that the leg in front is farther from the midline (or higher) than the back leg. This is often what we see as judges, with the back leg being much lower than the front leg.
Uneven split results in deductions, depending on the gymnast’s level, and could be up to .2 from your score! So when you are doing your split leaps, be sure to keep both legs even, especially your back leg which might tend to drop lower than your front leg.
Here are some more examples:
This is an example of a technically good split leap for a gymnast required to do a 180° split leap. The gymnast’s split is at 180° in her leap and her legs are even and she gets good height.
The angle requirement for an Xcel Silver is 90° so this is an example of a good split leap at the Silver level. This gymnast meets the angle requirement, she has good height, and her legs are split evenly.
The split requirement at the Xcel Gold level is 120°. This split leap is an example of an uneven leap, it is not high enough, and her legs are at less than the required angle. This gymnast could lose up to .6 from her score for these errors!!!
While it might not seem like much to get a .1 deduction here or a .2 deduction there, when you are doing a split leap incorrectly and getting multiple deductions you can be significantly affecting your score on that one skill alone! Remember, too, to focus on pointed toes, straight legs and good posture throughout your leap.
If you are competing a switch leap you’ll have other things to look out for such as the height of your front leg before the switch. But the basic rules apply to your leap regarding height, degree of leg separation, and evenness.
Good luck with your split leaps! Let us know if you tried any of these tips and how they worked out for you!