Tag Archives: coach


Ah, Yurchenkos…

Yurchenkos are a tricky thing to teach. There are a lot of different theories, and a huge number of different components to the vault. Here are just a few videos that might help you.

Drilling yurchenkos before going over the vault

I love, love, love this drill. Getting kids over the fear of going onto the table as opposed to a resi mat etc. can be VERY difficult. Once your kids have a good round-off back tuck up to a high resi, or round-off double back into the pit this is a great way to go. Especailly at first, it’s better to be too high on than anything else. This helps mitigate the fear of the table.

This second drill is really, really good for seeing/fixing shapes when kids are hitting the table. It helps a lot with body tension, and helping the kids feel where they are supposed to be.

If you would like to find more drills like these click here for my mini ebook on beginning yurchenko progressions – Beginning Yurchenko Progressions

What are your favorite Yurchenko drills?

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Fun Friday

Hi All!

I know that I personally as a coach spend inordinate amounts of time trying to figure out how to make my kids better. How do I make their skills better? How do I make the gym a better environment? etc. Sometimes its nice to just take a step back and appreciate some really awesome gymnastics.

This first video is a girl from Gym-Max. I’m constantly impressed by the kids they produce. She’s a pleasure to watch.

Having great spotters in your gym is always a bonus! It’s great when you have a fun day and they can help kids perform some high level skills very safely. The kids have a ton of fun, and the air awareness benefits are awesome. This is Charlie Tamayo spotting.

Train hard!

Photo Credit: Alaina Kwan’s Website

How do we get there?

Hi All,

One of the things I find most troubling is when I see gyms that have highly successful compulsory programs, but when their children become optionals their gym can’t sustain the same kind of results. My interpretation of this is that often they are trying to teach kids too much too fast, or to put it another way, upper level skills and techniques weren’t introduced early enough and in good ways. I’m a big fan of letting younger children work upper level skills and progressions in safe and technically correct ways. The longer children have to figure a skill out, the less time we as coaches and they as gymnasts have to spend panicking thinking “I need to get this in x time frame to put in my routine.”

Twisting progressions

This first video is from Colorado Aerials of their level 5s and 6s. I’m a big fan of starting series work as soon as children can back walkover/back handspring well on the floor. Even if it’s working on a line, teaching kids how to transition between skills well early makes a huge difference down the line.

By the way here are the same beam extenders, they are amazing.

This second video is of one of my favorite front layout drills. It’s also a great one to use at the lower levels. As soon as your kids have the good concept of body tension, and the shape in a layout it’s a great one to let them play with.

Train hard!

An Upside Down World

Hi All!

Lets talk handstands. They are FUNDAMENTAL in gymnastics. They’re hard to teach correctly, and sometimes incredibly frustrating. Here are my thoughts on a couple things coaches can do to help teach gymnasts how to handstand correctly.

This first video is a drill I love to use with little kids. It’s simple, quick and a good side station. It helps kids feel open shoulders, correct head position and that their back is supposed to be pressed into the mat.

The second one is for beam. I cannot tell you how many times I’ve heard the words “That’s not a handstand!” said on beam. In order for kids to pirouette, their shoulders (and hopefully feet) need to stay over their hands. This nifty little set-up helps kids feel where a handstand is by making them pirouette This can be done with a very light spot with little ones and, as they get older, they can do it on their own.

What are your tricks for handstands?

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Photo Credit: Katelyn Ohashi’s Website

Flip Around – Back tucks on beam

Hi All!

Back tucks are hard, and getting enough height/rotation is quite difficult. This first video is a common example of the lack of height and rotation I typically see. I know this girl, is very young, and it’s impressive that she is already putting this skill on the beam. But it’s a good example of some common problems with back tucks.


This next video is an exaggerated example of what I think gymnasts need to be able to do before they put their back tuck on the beam. While most kids will never be able to back tuck up to this height, I think all gymnasts should be able to back tuck up to at least a small panel mat before attempting it on the beam. It’s something that I think needs to be insisted upon by the coach in order to keep gymnasts safe.

This final video is of what a back tuck theoretically should look like on the beam. Her chest lands upright, instead of landing with her chest down and bringing it up at the end.

For more drills and exercises to create strong, confident, technically correct beam workers look here:
Building Up Beam: Drills to Build Confidence and Correctness
What do you guys do for back tucks on beam?

Train hard!