About Mike: Mike has over twenty-one years of experience coaching women’s artistic gymnastics levels 4-Elite. Mike has a great passion for and knowledge of gymnastics and developing confident, healthy and responsible gymnasts. In recent years, he has spoken at both Regional and National Congresses.
60 Turns in 60 Minutes!
I want to first say thank you to Zari and her Swing Big! blog for the chance to express my thoughts on coaching gymnastics. This has been my passion for over 20 years.
Today I want to discuss bars. Specifically, what a normal workout looks like. This workout focuses on getting my gymnasts moving quickly so that they are able to take 60 turns in 60 minutes! I am a firm believer in the philosophy that: more turns equals more comfort with the skill which in turn equals better gymnastics. Without further adieu lets take a look at what the Level 10s do on Mondays.
First, we warm-up with a long endurance routine of casts, giants and conditioning. This is followed by 4 different sets of 5 giants. Specifically, these sets are designed to help with controlling giants for pirouetting. I won’t go into to much details about this as it’s not the focus of the post, but I will say that this is a killer warm-up routine and takes over 3 minutes to finish. As the warm-up is so long it seems like it will be difficult to get 60 turns in. But that time will be made up later. After the warm-up we move into dismounts, then high bar to low bar releases, and we finish up with major releases.
The fast pace of our bars workout is partially accomplished by breaking the hour long rotations into 15 minute increments. The girls have 15 minutes to finish the warm up. Sure they can get a drink, fix their hair and make funny little animals out of tape if they choose to, but regardless of what they do, the 15 minutes begins promptly when the rotation begins. Every 15 minutes the girls move right along onto the next assignment. Any unfinished assignment must be finished before working on new “free time” fun skills. These are periods of time in which I let the girls pick any new skill they need to work on. The girls have that free time a few times a week. If a gymnast didn’t finish any 15 minute assignment, she still has to move on to the next 15 minute assignment. This ensures that she gets to each category of skills in that day, and that she is not avoiding a skill by not finishing the assignment before it. This creates a sense of urgency. With only a short window of opportunity to get skills done the gymnast will work harder knowing the end is near.
It begins to hit home on days like Saturday, where they would like to choose some fun skills to play with but they might be stuck on unfinished assignments from Monday. Saturday’s assignment is 15 minutes of warm up and 45 minutes of “Free (choice)” that they can choose only if they have completed all the week’s assignments. If they have not finished the assignments then I choose their destiny for the day starting with what they didn’t finish and you can bet it’s the warm up turn if they didn’t complete it during the week! Perhaps several warm up turns if they happened to not complete the warm up more then once.
My bars assignment breakdown:
MONDAY: WARM UP // HIGH – LOW RELEASES // DISMOUNTS // MAJOR RELEASES
TUESDAY: WARM UP // PIROUETTES // MAJOR RELEASE //15 minutes of FREE
WEDNESDAY: WARM UP // HIGH – LOW RELEASES // MAJOR RELEASE // 15 minutes of FREE
FRIDAY: WARM UP // DISMOUNTS // MAJOR RELEASES // PIROUETTES
SATURDAY/THURSDAY: WARM UP // 45 minutes of FREE
That is a normal day on bars. I hope this has brought you some insight and knowledge. If it has led to more questions, that’s great, because then you’re thinking of how to make your gymnasts better!
If you have any questions for Mike he kindly provided his contact info:
Twitter and Instagram: @michael_durante
A big thank you to Mike for this fantastic post! Train hard!