Long time no post – but today I wanted to share a few videos (both new and old) that focus on tumbling and some key aspects on tumbling that I feel either get overlooked or are hard for younger athletes to grasp.
Plyometrics play a crucial part in our sport especially when it comes to developing speed. That being said, it’s easy to overdo plyos and I’ve seen many a rolled ankle during lines of plyos etc. This is not to say we shouldn’t do them, just that moderation is necessary and remembering that plyos aren’t the same as leg conditioning and should be used for a different purpose and in different doses. That being said, below are a couple of plyometric exercises that I’ve seen working well lately.
I am very much a fan of bounding jumps (though be a bit careful doing straddles if you have gymnasts with weak or hypermobile ankles). They have the dual function of being a great plyo exercise and also working on active flex at the same time. A few sets of these could be much more beneficial than doing normal corner plyos 10x over.
Hurdles I feel are one of the many things that can be taught in gymnastics 17 different ways and you can still end up with great tumbling. That being said, I have a preferred hurdle that I think works better for most of the gymnasts I’ve worked with and so I’ll share some of those drills.
This first video is a huge over-emphasis of the forward lean in the hurdle – but I do it with young gymnasts for a few reasons. 1) I want them to understand the forward lean in the hurdle, it’s easier to bring the hurdle back upright than it is to force it forward and down. 2) I find that young gymnasts hearing that their arms need to cover their ears throw their hands up to the sky in their hurdle taking out any forward momentum. If you watch this drill – you see this young gymnast start with her arms slightly above her shoulders (they could be lower), and end with them covering her ears. By leaning forward she doesn’t have to raise her arms.
This is an older video that I have shared before from Mary Lee Tracey. What I love about this is the focus on the chest position in the hurdle. If the chest is out in the hurdle it is going to be exceptionally difficult to get back to a correct chest shape in the round off.
These next two videos are videos that compile a bunch of drills that I both like and use. If you ever get overwhelmed with the number of drills you see out there, here is my philosophy. For any given skill find 5-10 drills that work for both you and your gymnasts. 5-10 drills, that you really feel encompass the most important parts of the skill. Don’t feel you need to throw every drill in the world at it, doing a small select set of drills well will serve you much better than doing a bunch of drills poorly.
This first video is from Colden Raisher, it’s a lovely compilation of basic back tumbling drills – many of which have been shared on here before but bear repeating. The one drill that I have found myself using more and more is the setting drill they are doing off the vault. It’s often difficult to help gymnasts understand to lift their hips and keep their chest in when they set and this is an easy way to get them to do that over and over again.
This next video is a nice little series of front handspring drills. What I particularly like is soft services and going from high to low. I see so many coaches struggle with getting gymnasts to NOT SQUAT at the end of their front handsprings. And the biggest reason they do this at least that I’ve found is FEAR. They want to get to the floor as fast as they can and land in a safe position. Correct position? No. But they FEEL safer. So by adding in soft surfaces (I generally start front handsprings into foam or onto an 8″ in foam with a spot) – the gymnasts are more comfortable maintaining those shapes, and can have good building blocks from the start.
Videos  and  – Shift Movement Science
Video  – Mary Lee Tracey
Video  – Colden Raisher
Video  – Cash McGowan
Find it here!
The full 45 minute lecture of Bars Shaping from Pre-Team Up is now available for download, along with the full powerpoint and all of the videos!