Jumps can be a bit of a challenge to master, especially as they come to be paired with other positions and skills. The three main things that the judges will look at when it comes to scoring your jumps will be your height, that you are holding your arms and legs in the proper positions during the whole jump, and that you land properly and without wobbling.
While the gymnastics jumps and leaps might seem to be very similar, these are actually two different categories. The main difference between these two is that jumps pretty much involve going straight up and down, while leaping actually takes you some distance either forward or to the side of where you started from.
Most jumps tend to have your arms poking straight out from your shoulders unless the move specifically requires your arms to be in a certain position. This helps with the balance since you want to jump high and land without wobbling with both of your feet together. However, you want to keep your arms even and not use them more than you can help it since if you do then you might get points deducted for using your hands to regain your balance if it looks like you got off balanced for a moment.
This is the simplest of all the jumps and, though you might think that everyone knows how to do a simple straight jump, you should not let its simplicity fool you any. Your legs should be kept pressed together the whole time you are in the air and, except for when your knees are slightly bent as you jump into the air, your body should be perfectly straight. This can take a while to get the knack of.
Straight Jump With A Turn
A straight jump is a nice and simple jump to practice turning with when you are first learning to add turns to various jumps. As with a regular straight jump your legs will stay together and pointing down, you will simply be adding a 1/2 turn to face the opposite direction or a 1/1 turn which is a full turn that will have you back to facing the same direction you were before. Once you get more advanced you can even work up to doing a triple turn straight jump.
Like you might guess from the name, a split jump involves jumping straight up into the air, doing the splits with one leg pointing straight in front of you and the other leg pointing back behind you, and then landing with your feet together. For this one your arms start out being horizontally stretched out to the sides and you keep them stretched out all the way through the end, swinging them slightly in the air to help with your balance but hopefully without too much movement.
Split Jump With A Turn
A split jump 1/2 turn is actually one of the easiest turn jump to do. This is because your legs are already in the air and therefore the only part of you that has to turn at all is the top part of your body. For the 1/1 turns or more the turn it done at the beginning of the jump after you leave the ground but before your legs are fully in their splits position.
Stag Split Jump
Like with the split jump, your arms are out to the sides the whole time. However, with this type of split jump only one of your legs does its part of the split by going straight back. The other leg that would normally point forward to make a complete split instead does something different where it bends at the knee with your foot pointing straight towards the ground and your knee pointing in the opposite direction as your back leg.
Stag Jump With A Turn
When a stag split jump is paired with any amount of a turn it is simply referred to as a stag jump with a turn instead of being called a stag split jump with a turn. As with any jumps that involve turns, any amount of turn can be added and these are added at the beginning just as you are leaving the ground.
Double Stag Jump
For a double stag jump both of your legs are bent instead of straight like a slit jump, however there is still a degree of a split to them. One leg goes forward and, like with the stag split jump, it bends at the knee so that the foot is pointing down to the ground and the top of the leg is horizontal with the knee pointing straight forward.
The other leg goes back in the opposite direction, but still has the same degree of a bend at the knee that the front leg does. The top part of the leg should be horizontal and the bend at the knee should result in the foot pointing straight up towards the ceiling if it is done properly.
When you hear the word straddle jump you are possibly thinking about the straddling position for the straddle rolls that are a part of the acro gymnastics maneuvers. However, a straddle jump actually has more in common with a split jump.
This is because for a straddle jump you are literally doing a full split in the air. The only difference between this and a split jump is that with a split jump one straight leg points in front of you while the other one points behind you, while with the straddle jump your straight legs are instead pointing out to both sides. Like the other jump, in this case you start and land with both legs together.
Straddle Jump With A Turn
A straddle jump is slightly more difficult to add a turn to than a regular split jump is. Part of this is because of the fact that putting your legs out to the sides prevents you from being able to turn very efficiently. Therefore if you are doing a 1/1 turn or more it is all about timing your leg movements so that you do not put them out too soon during the turns and yet that you still give yourself enough time to get them into the full split before you need to put your legs down and together so you can land.
This type of jump can also be referred to as a straddle jump to front support. Like with a straddle jump your legs form the splits to the sides. However, one of the main features that make this type of jump unique is the fact that your whole body is horizontal while you are doing it. This is not only your legs, but your torso and your arms as well as your stomach faces the floor.
Doing a jump like this while being parallel to the floor is not something that is easy to get into position for, and you have to literally be ready to fall flat on your face into a front support position on the floor or beam. This move can be made even harder with the addition of a half-turn to it, though it is even possible to do a full turn with this jump and land in front support as well.
This is another type of jump that is still part of the split jump family. Like the split jump, one foot goes back while the other one points forward. However, for this one the split tends to be at an ever so slightly diagonal angle with the back leg pointing higher and the front leg slightly lower. This is because the landing is different too, since instead of landing with both feet together like the other split jumps this one requires you to land on your front foot first.
Tuck jumps are very simple to do and do not involve any form of the splits at all. Instead for this type of jump your should keep your legs together the whole time as you jump straight up into the air, tuck you legs up to your chest for a moment, and then land with them still together. Your arms do poke at your sides with a mild amount of swing to them while you are doing this.
Tuck Jump With A Turn
This is not much more difficult than a usual tuck jump, and there are any amount of turns that you can do from 1/2 turns to triple turns. To help with the aerodynamics of the turning the arms are most often placed in a circle that is parallel to the floor.
Almost as simple as the tuck jump, you are also keeping your legs together and bringing them up. This time though they are staying straight at the knees and are only being bent forward at the hips until your legs are horizontal. The arms are once again used for balance and most often are swung back behind the gymnast some as her legs swing forward. One of the keys to doing this well is to bend only at the hips and to keep not only your legs but also your torso perfectly straight.
A wolf jump is fairly easy to spot. For this jump one leg goes straight forward so that it is horizontal like a pike jump, and the other leg also goes forward until the top part is horizontal but it is bent at the knee with the foot tucked up under the gymnast’s torso. Meanwhile, the top part of the gymnast arches forward so that she nearly touches the top part of her horizontal knees. This can be done with a turn of any size added to it.
This type of jump is also easy to recognize and can look lovely in a routine. While one foot remains pointing almost perfectly straight down, the other foot is thrown back and up in an arch as high as possible, preferably pointing towards the ceiling. While this is being done, the gymnast also arches her torso backwards and throws her arms up and back some as well to be in line with her torso.
The result of this is that the hands and the back of the head are nearly if not actually touching the foot that went back, and the body forms an almost ring shape which was how this jump got this name.
Stag Ring Jump
Like its name suggests, this jump is a combination of a ring jump and a stag jump, but actually it has the most in common with a double stag jump. The front leg does not need to be horizontal at the top, but the knee does need to bend at the same angle. The back leg, instead of arching back to near the back of the gymnast’s head, bends at the knee instead to point at the right direction while her body arches back to nearly touch her foot.
Split Ring Jump
For this version of the ring jump, the back leg arches up the same as for a regular ring jump while the body arches back to meet it. The difference comes in the front leg which, instead of remaining straight down, points forward horizontally. This makes this jump end up being slightly more than a full split.
This jump can be a bit hard to spot if you are not watching the gymnast’s legs very closely. This is because there is only a slight movement to them here. In order to do this jump the gymnast starts off with both feet together on the ground but with one slightly behind the other. As she jumps up, her legs stay mostly vertical with the leg that was behind the other titling forward to be in front of the other leg which goes slightly back to be behind the other.
At the end of the jump the gymnast lands while putting the legs back in the place where each started from. So this means that one leg starts behind the other, goes just in front of it, and then back behind the other to land making it sort of a switch jump.
This jump is one that is quite a bit complicated to do, and even if you are watching the gymnast closely you may not be able to catch all of her movements unless you already know what she is doing. You start with one leg behind the other even further apart than you do with the beat jump. Then you lower the top half of your body so that you are horizontal as you jump and swing yourself backwards with your front leg.
Your back leg follows as your front leg goes to horizontal for a moment and then lands on the floor behind where your back leg was at only after your back leg goes into the air. Then your back leg goes to horizontal as you turn so that it goes back into its place behind your front leg at the same distance apart as they were before.
For the whole of this jump your legs stay perfectly straight and for almost all of it your torso stays in the horizontal position. When this is done correctly you end up a couple of feet behind where you started at and in the exact same position.
This jump is much more simple to both identify and to do. Both legs stay together for this jump and go in an arch straight back and up like the back leg of the ring jump does. Also like with the ring jump your arms go up and back as your back arches so that your feet and your hands seem to touch. However, for this jump your head should go so far back that you can look straight up at the ceiling and your legs do not have to go quite so high.
With so many different jumps that are often done so quickly in the gymnastics routines it can be hard to know which jump you see the gymnast do. However, knowing what these jumps are called and a little bit about how they are done can help you to picture what they would look like and in turn can help you identify them more easily when you see them done.
While these are all of the main positions that jumps can take, new variations and combinations are almost constantly being created by gymnasts and their coaches. Each can have any amount of a turn done to them and can even be altered slightly so that they end with landing horizontally in a forward support position on either the floor or the beam.
When trying to learn how to do these, take it slowly and mentally walk yourself through how it is done and do the movements if possible on a trampoline or something so that if you fall you will not hurt yourself and so that you can learn while not using your arms too much.