Archive for the ‘Glen Vaughan’ Category


Sunday, May 20th, 2007


The 2006 National Training Camp for TNT was held at Bounce California in Rancho Bernardo, California. I spent many hours watching the sessions for the athletes representing Trampoline, Tumbling and Double Mini. Each of the sessions impressed me in different ways – how high the trampoline participants bounced, how precise the double mini athletes had to be, and how much speed, distance and noise the rod floor tumblers generated.  

Viewing the rod floor tumbling sessions made me reflect on the evolution of tumbling: early circus performers with no mats, horse hair mats, floor exercise on wood floors, then 3/8” pads, tennis balls, tires, flex wood, 1”, 2”, 4” spring floors, and now uniform ROD floors used around the world. 

Some purists may say that tumbling is tumbling. I would like to present some of the ways the evolution of the tumbling surface has changed tumbling mechanics. The sprung floor system allows basic skills to be performed higher with more turnover, generating SPEED-DISTANCE-POWER, and thus has changed the dynamics of explosive tumbling. 

Tumbling well has always taken flexibility, strength and correct tight body shapes to utilize the rebound to the greatest advantage. The spring floor surface allows performers to perform with a more extended body shape and quicker take offs. 

The road to success is found through hard work and commitment to excellence. It doesn’t take talent to work hard. Tumbling and Vault success are more than ever based on speed to generate power and then the strength in the correct body shape to rebound off the spring board, vault table or spring floor system. 

Athletes now not only have the new equipment developments but also more knowledgeable coaches. The body shape, tension on round offs, back and front handsprings, fly springs, whip backs allows athletes to maximize performance. Constant surface push is critical. The round off and the correct hurdle into it are critical in turning the body 180 degrees to facilitate powerful back tumbling. (See Technique, Volume 19: Artemov / USAG: Dvd by Wills & Biggs). 

The round off, back handspring, and whip backs in correct body shape allows the chest to rise when snapping off hands and extending the feet in front of extended body to rebound into the next skill. The extended throw with arms extended behind ears and upper body arch allows hand placement to facilitate backward acceleration. 

If you watch a tumbler performing correct and powerful back tumbling, you will notice a rhythm created by the upper body whipping, followed by the total body snap. In order to have the athletes understand, have them stand tall, arms extended behind ears. The athlete should then change body shape from upper body hollow to hyper extended arch, mainly in shoulders, not in lower back. Body shape resembles a bent metal yardstick. Head should not pass arms. 
Remind athletes that backward tumbling should always push back until they want to go up. They then change body shape to tight straight and put feet back of center of gravity to allow rebound into take off. 

Success in forward tumbling mirrors much of the principles stated for back tumbling. A study reported in Technique by Phds’ Sands and McNeal concluded that the hyper extended arm and shoulder was proved the best body shape to generate powerful take offs. 

I feel one of the most important basic skills to be mastered for front tumbling is the headspring. Learning the kipping action, body shape change from pike to extended can be used in later more advanced forward skills. Front take offs in the hyper extended upper body shape allows the center of gravity to move upward and forward. If the performer’s upper body is in front fo the center of gravity, the body is thrown forward and down on take off. 

An analogy I have used successfully to help athletes understand is to have them visualize a spring loaded window shade. If the shade is extended all the way down and then released, the shade rolls up around the rod on top. If they can then flip on the way up in the same manner, they will experience success. Forward linear motion has already been established by the forward run and the front handspring or fly springs. When athletes are training front tumbling past head-spring skills such as handsprings and flysprings, they should be performed to an over rotated run out. 

Share with the athletes the importance in more advanced rebound tumbling that the center of gravity should be moving upward and forward. Take offs should be in the hyper extended shape to a subtle pike to initiate rotation for layouts, twisting and double saltos. Get strong, tumble fast and fly! 

A reminder; the two limiting factors that inhibit performance are lack of strengthand flexibility. Hard work and a knowledgeable coach help athletes practicewith the correct body shape and tension to handle the violent take offs and landings.


For more information on Glenn Vaughan, and tumbling, purchase his DVD from GymSmarts:

Tumbling for Speed and Efficienct by Glen Vaughan