Flyaway from the Bar

I recently put up a flyaway gymnastics minute on youtube.  A minute is a pretty short time to talk about a flyaway so I am going to discuss it a bit here.First and foremost the gymnast must be doing a good basic swing.  By now most everyone understands that the basic swing is a pike or hollow on the way down, an arch in the shoulders and upper back in the bottom and a pike or hollow in the front.The thing that many people do not completely understand is the relaxation at the bottom of the swing. During the downward swing the gymnast must push away from the bar to eliminate any shoulder angle going into the bottom.  Once the shoulder angle has been eliminated the gymnast can completely relax through the bottom of the swing.  This is extremely important and if the gymnast doesn’t do this it will change the point of release.After the gymnast has achieved a bottom free of any tension in the shoulders there will be a natural kick that comes as a result of the arch in the bottom.  Once the gymnast becomes used to what the natural kick feels like he or she can help that kick which will in turn create much more power into the point of release.  It is important to note that when the gymnast kicks there may be a tendency to use the shoulders.  This will create a shoulder angle and can result in the gymnast traveling back toward the bar.  Therefore, during the kick the gymnast should be encouraged to maintain an open shoulder position.When doing a tuck flyaway the gymnast should bend the legs at the end of the kick and look for his or her knees.  If the head is kept in a neutral position and the gymnast waits to see the knees that can be the cue to let go of the bar.  When doing a layout the gymnast should wait to see his or her toes and then let go of the bar.  Hopefully, the cue of looking for the knees on a tuck and the toes on a layout will make the point of release consistent.Note: when the gymnast wants more rotation in the case of a double somersault the kick of the knees at the end of the swing will be more vigorous and could result in a slight closure of the shoulders.  This will increase rotation greatly.  It is just important that the gymnast does not close the shoulders a lot since that will result in going back toward the bar.  Consequently, I do not emphasize closing the shoulders at all when talking to the gymnast.  I am just aware that it is taking place and if the gymnast starts to come close to the bar, I encourage the gymnast to keep the shoulders more open at the point of release.Good Luck

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