This is the third post in the Compulsory Leaps & Jumps Series. Click here to view the first post about developing leg strength for leaps and jumps. And click here to view the second post on split jumps.
The straddle jump is one of those skills that just clicks. It tends to look either awkward or gorgeous, with no in between. I’ve included many drills and videos you can use as a reference to help make that time between awkward and gorgeous as short as possible!
Diamond jumps. Don’t doubt just yet! They look silly, but these have an amazing way of fixing those straddle jumps that don’t open big enough. It’s much easier to get the knees up and out rather than the feet, so gymnasts can focus on their hips rolling and opening as well as their upper body positioning.
Doing straddle jumps off a panel mat can give that extra height some gymnasts need to figure out the straddle jump timing. Be sure you do this one facing backwards off the mat so the gymnast travels backwards. Jumping forwards off the mat will encourage chest dropping and piking at the hips in order to travel forwards–both things to avoid in straddle jumps.
Doing straddle jumps up to a panel mat is a great drill once the straddle jump has been mastered on the floor; as it mainly helps teach a higher jump. For this reason it’s also a good one to use as a beam side station for higher level gymnasts working straddle jumps on the beam.
This next drill will help teach fast legs if you have them take off from the floor or a panel mat. I like to have them take off from a spring board, making the actual straddle jump easier if you are using a high resi mat. I do this because I want to focus on the upper body positioning. doing it this way (with a spring board) will make it much easier for the gymnast to center their attention on where their arms are, whether their ribs are in, how their chin and shoulders look, etc.
If you’re looking to build even faster legs this is a fun drill for gymnasts to do on tramp. It requires them to do two full straddle jumps before hitting the tramp again.
This is a great drill to help teach the hip turnout action in a straddle jump.
To build up muscles for stronger straddle jumps, you can do some of what is shown in these videos. Once again, they make for great side stations.
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!