Today I’m going to share one of my favorite drill for developing leaps. I call these leap hops, I’m not sure if other people have a different term for them. I start them on floor pretty early. And then as gymnasts get more and more proficient at them I start taking them to the beam.
This drill does several things. 1) It gets gymnasts pushing through their feet which we really want 2) it emphasizes the upward direction (ie the way we want leaps to go) and 3) it helps with general leg height awareness. When you have two legs splitting at once it’s harder for gymnasts to feel where each of those is. It also helps gymnasts figure out where their arms are supposed to be because there is less going on.
When gymnasts land I want them to plie and I want the leg that was up in the air to be maintained at horizontal. Also, I have them do it on both legs. One leg is their split leap, one is their switch. Note: please, please start these on low beam. Gymnasts often aren’t aware of what their bottom leg is doing and you can have a lot of falls the first time you do it, so be sure they are on a low beam to figure them out.
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Thank you for sharing the Leap Hop Drill. Could you list the steps for this movement very specifically? For example, is the starting position for the left leg to be at horizontal and arms by ears? Then, is the next movement to bend the right leg while bringing arms to horizontal. And then, push through whole right foot, jumping up, and raising arms back to ears when in the air? Also, when pushing off of the right foot, does the heel stay fully in contact with the floor until take-off?