Today I wanted to talk just a little bit about doing beam with beginning gymnasts. A lot of beam in the beginning is kids learning to balance, learning where their arms and legs are, figuring out where to look, how to stand etc. All of this can be a little scary so I thought I would share some things that are often more fun than just walking and may help them get over some of those fears faster and build their confidence.
This first one is stepping over cones which is great. You can also use bean bags etc. I really like the idea of something taller to help them get their knees up, but it also gets them a visual aid and stops them for taking those TINY TINY steps some of them take. Also I want them to learn to balance with their legs in different places, in front of them, behind them, high, low, etc. So learning to balance with their knees up is a good place to start.
This second one is bear crawls. Now let me explain one of the reasons I like this. I see a lot of people spending a lot of time with beginners on beam walking, which is great. But at the same time it means the only way they’ve ever interacted with beam is to stand on it. I want them to be on the beam at all levels. Sitting on it, crouching on it, kneeling on it etc. I want them to be as absolutely comfortable on beam as they can be, and that means they need to do more than walk on it.
This last one is long jumps. Long jumps are a HUGE fear buster for me. All my kids do them. I love them. Now, listen carefully, DO NOT have your rec kids do long jumps on the high beam. It’s a recipe for disaster and a broken arm. Start out on a line, move to a gummy beam, then a low beam. But they are by far one of my most used things on beam.
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!