Fun Friday #54

Hi All,

I hope you’re having a great week and having fun in the gym! It’s a great Friday to watch some awesome floor routines.

This was one of my favorite floor routines when I was younger (still is). It’s just fun to watch. So many times now when I’m watching floor I get stuck watching the individual elements and it’s just…not fun. You can’t say that about this routine.

This second one is Samantha Peszek on floor. There is just so much fun and showmanship in this routine. Love watching it.

Train hard!

Photo Credit: Jeff Sipsey

Teaching Gymnasts How to Land

Hi All,

Today I thought I would share some thoughts on landings. Teaching gymnasts how to land is incredibly important, and I often don’t think gyms spend enough time on this. Teaching gymnasts how to land correctly can not only only boost scores (reducing steps), but it can also drastically reduce injuries.

This first video talks a little bit about landing mechanics. Brandi Smith Young gives you a really simple exercise you can do with their athletes to strengthen them and there landings. I’m always talking about little things you can do to improve your gymnastics in big ways, and this is one of them. This doesn’t have more than a couple minutes, but it can dramatically reduce injuries, and improve your gymnasts landings.

In this second video Tony talks about some low impact ways to drill landings. Sure you can jump off a high beam and drill sticks 200 times a week, but in the end your athletes bodies are going to suffer. In an effort to still drill those muscles, but keep our athletes healthy, happy and in the gym working here are some great drills.

Train hard!
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Ideas for Working Circles in Summer

Hi All,

Today I thought I would provide some ideas for set-ups and ideas that you may have a little more time for as we are heading into the off season. My view is that people should always be uptraining (even in season), but some stations and things just aren’t possible all the time. During the summer our time is often a little more flexible and we can play around with more ideas/set more things up.

This first drill is one that I know a lot of gyms use, but sometimes blocks are just too far away to move or they are being used by someone else. It’s a great way to let gymnasts play around with clear hips in a way where they can build confidence. The piece of foam being tied to the bar can make a big difference in getting kids away from the bar and helping with those backhip circle like clear hips.

This second one is a drill for stalders that is fun to play around with. I like this drill because by going from a bent knee circle to the mini stalder (not going to handstand), it helps gymnasts who may still be figuring out how to drop into that compression shape get there at the correct time. It’s a nice way to start introducing stalders on the bar.

Train hard!


Developing Shapes in Tumbling

Hi All,

Today I’m going to talk a little bit about developing shapes in your gymnasts tumbling. I’m a big fan of going slow. Take your time making sure the gymnast understand the shapes that you want in each phase of the skill. What I see a lot of times with coaches teaching tumbling too fast is that gymnasts don’t understand when/where/how the shape change happens in a skill. Going slow will help you identify and teach those points.

This first drill is actually the one I was talking about as a lead up to my favorite back handspring drill . The importance of teaching gymnasts how to have open shoulders and hips is clear. But it’s not always easy. I would also say when starting out spot this drill for at least a few turns. The number of gymnasts who will arch and belly flop will surprise you.

This second video is a nice example of taking it slow, and emphasizing what each body shape should be. You can even turn each part of this into it’s own side station. For example the first hurdle shape she holds could be against a wall. The cartwheel step-in off a panel mat. The middle of the back handspring position on a wall or an overturned pac-man, and the hollow body shape where ever you want. What you really want to emphasize is EXACTLY what you want in these shapes: what do you want their head, shoulders, ribs, hips to be doing, and when do you want it to change and how?

Train hard!
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Quick Tip: Fixing Piking in Front Handspring Vaults

Hi All,

So today I’m going to share a tip for something I know almost every coach struggles with at one point or another which is fixing “piked” front handspring vaults. There are a lot of ways to combat this including front layouts, heel drive drills etc. Over the years I have used all of these, but the drill I’m doing to show you is the best way I’ve found thus far of teaching young gymnasts how to turn over with a straight body.

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I have the gymnasts start with their arms at their sides, like I would want them to hit the board. As they fall forward I have them lift their arms up. But for some reason the day we were doing pictures I had them do it with their arms by there ears (there is really no reason you can’t do it both ways), it may have been because it was their first time trying this drill. The barrel, depending on size and placement, will hit different gymnasts in different places, so you may have to play around to see where the barrel works best for your gymnasts. If it hits too far down their legs they won’t make it to handstand. Note, bigger gymnast, bigger barrel. I think the barrel size worked well for the smaller gymnast here, but I would have preferred a slightly bigger one for the taller gymnast. Work with what you have. If you don’t have a bigger barrel, put the one you have on a small panel mat.

The thing I love is that when gymnasts are starting front handsprings so many of them tuck, or pike on the way up but if you’ve been doing this drill for a while your gymnasts already know what a straight body feels like and then also know how to identify when something feels “wrong.”

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