Very exciting day today. Mike Durante has given us a second part to his original post giving us a closer look at a typical bars day at Aerial Athletics!
Assignment Breakdown — 60 Turns in 60 Minutes!
Let’s take a closer look at the dismount and release assignments in a day at Aerials. Dismounts, like all the other assignments are usually a mix of their old dismount and a new/upgraded dismount. They have 15 dismounts to do in the 15 minutes. Yes, I’m pressing the importance of getting on the bar because they aren’t going to get better standing on the ground chalking up. This is also where the girls tend to surprise me. The dismounts can be done in combination like a half routine or even from a cast handstand alone. It doesn’t matter! There are certainly benefits of doing a dismount without giants in front of it, and also see an advantage of doing a dismount in a half routine. I give the girls the luxury of choosing how they would like to do them. I, remind them that they need to be pushing towards combinations if possible. If I know a gymnast can connect a blind full into a double pike, but they have never done it and are a bit hesitant, then I give them a bonus option: If she does it once connected it counts for five (or any number I feel will get them to try it.) I often let them do “One counts for fifteen”. So they have done one and are done. It may be one of the best sayings we have in the gym: “One and done!” But you can bet the next time dismounts come along its not 1 for 15. It will be more like 1 for 10. Which will give them a choice of doing two and they did extra or 1 connected and 5 normal. As time progresses I cut the first time bonus more and more until they are doing all fifteen connected. YES! Goal accomplished! So we might have a few days where we don’t get 60 turns in 60 minutes or 15 dismounts in 15 minutes because I gave them a reward, but remember the goal was to improve either by progress from the pit to solid surface or by taking more turns and getting a better understand and more comfortable with a skill.
Now take a look at Release from high bar to low bar. This is where the fun begins and truly where we make up some time. This assignment is also given to our level 8 learning overshoots and Paks (it can be done with straddle backs too). We do 30 in 15 minutes! Thats one turn every 30 seconds and again for our level 8’s they will do them 4 days a week. So in one week they will do 120 releases. It doesn’t take long before they are comfortable with the skill and can make corrections and not worry about survival! The higher level girls do them is sets of 2,3 or even 5 before getting down and chalking back up.
Major releases are pretty much like dismounts, 1 per minute. They are encouraged to put skills in front of or behind the release and sometimes put them back to back or even put 5 in one turn. Some skills are easier to do in one turn because they require less set up skills, like Tkatchev’s or giengers. I encourage you again to give out some rewards here. You will be amazed at the ability of your gymnasts to do two in one turn for the first time. Let them be done with only doing 2. I almost always feel like I have let them off easy with just doing one turn and the rest of the girls are moving like crazy, but each gymnast will have their day. Remember the goal is to make them comfortable and get a better understanding of the skills. Then the next you know they are doing 5 in a row. I have had several gymnast do 5 tkatchev’s in one turn. Yes, it is hard but there is a huge sense of accomplishment and confidence for the gymnasts after having done it.
That’s a day on bars at Aerial Athletics. I hope this has brought you some insight and knowledge or even more questions because then your thinking on how to make your gymnasts better.
Aerial Athletics, San Antonio Texas
My bars assignment breakdown:
MONDAY // WARM UP // RELEASES // DISMOUNTS // MAJOR RELEASES
TUESDAY // WARM UP // PIR // MAJOR RELEASE // 15 minutes of FREE
WEDNESDAY // WARM UP // RELEASES // MAJOR RELEASE // 15 minutes of FREE
FRIDAY // WARM UP // DISMOUNTS // MAJOR RELEASES // PIR
SATURDAY/THURSDAY // WARM UP // 45 minutes of FREE