Drills for Connecting Kips

Hi All,

Today I thought I would share a few drills and techniques for teaching your gymnasts your gymnasts how to kip out of either casts or other circling skills. This is often hard for gymnasts, and if done incorrectly can put a strain on their hip flexers, result in their feet hitting the floor etc. So below are two great videos that may help you.

This first one is the latest video from Jason Mortimer. This video stresses a couple things 1) conditioning 2) shapes 3) constant pressure on the bar. You can see in all of the swing drills the gymnast is maintaining pressure on the bar on the way down.

This second video is from Enrique Trabanino, you can hear him saying some of the things that Jason emphasized in his video, round shoulders and press away from the bar after coming down a ways. His technique is slightly different in that he prefers flatter hips. The other thing that is really important to note is that what he is saying about keeping the feet up too high when beginning the second kip. If gymnasts do this, their feet will drop at the end of the glide and most gymnasts just won’t be strong enough to get them back to the bar fast enough to make their kip. So to conclude, keep the shoulders over the bar when coming down from handstand a ways, keep the shoulders round and pushing down, then make sure the feet don’t come too close to the bar.

Train hard!

Using Props to Help Young Gymnasts

Hi All,

Today I thought I would share a couple videos that use props. My feeling is that the more props there are in a gym the better. Not just for preschool classes, but I pull from “pre-school” props all the time for my team girls. Bean bags, jump ropes, carpet squares, cones etc can all be used in hundreds of different ways. The more of these I have to play with the more creative I get.

This first video is using a stuffed bear which is cute. I really like giving gymnasts something to look at, it can improve their body shapes really quickly. I like the hollow drill as well, though I’ve actually seen a version of it that I like better. A friend of mine used to do the same drill with her gymnasts except she had those small plastic rubber chickens that make a noise when you squish them (they were substantially smaller than the bear which I also like). That way when the gymnasts pushed their backs into the ground the chicken made a noise, which they found hilarious, and it was great for positioning and awareness.

This second video is a great little preschool video. The part of it that pertains to this post is the first part where the gymnast is trying to stay in line with the foam block but you can do all kinds of things with foam blocks. Including having them squeeze it in between their legs and chest in a tuck position, trying to keep their foam above their heads to have their arms close together etc. Foam can be a great tool.

Train hard!

Photo Credit: Retford Gymnastics UK

Quick Tip: Developing Strong Back Handsprings (Part 2)

Hi All,

A few weeks ago I did a quick tip with my favorite back handspring drill. Everyone seemed to find it really useful, so today I thought I would share the drill that I use next. The reason I use this drill is because I find that if I automatically let gymnasts start back handspringing to their feet after the first drill they end up with a giant pike because they don’t understand what flat hips are supposed to feel like. This drill shortens the gymnast so she is able to perform the second half of the back handspring with flat hips more easily.

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This drill is really pretty simple. I want them to do everything the same as they would normally in their back handspring, with the exception of the fact that they land on their knees. I want their ribs in, their glutes tucked under and their hips flat. I also have one other thing that I prefer in this drill, which is that I want them to end with their hands at shoulder level (arms straight). This is because I’ve found that if gymnasts keep their arms by their ears in this drill they tend to break shape more (especially in the chest and back). Overall once gymnasts have done this drill for a while I’ve found that they have a much better concept of how to turn over their back handspring without piking.

Note: in this drill gymnasts do land on their knees so you have to be careful. Always spot this drill for a long time. Make sure that gymnasts aren’t landing in an arch to minimize impact on their back, make sure their cores are tight etc.

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Train hard!

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