Archive for the ‘Tumbling’ Category

Is A Front “Layout” On The Floor Really A “Layout?”

Tuesday, July 15th, 2008

My question to any of you who may read this is, Is a front layout on floor really a layout?  After all in most cases going backward it seems everyone encourages a hollow body position.  Do you use a hollow body position to do a front layout?  It is my experience that a front layout is in an arch.  Does that make it another skill or is it just different from back tumbling? Another question is: when you twist backward you do a layout then twist, do you do the same going forward? I have some definite thoughts on these questions but I would like to get some feedback before I start giving my answers.  Anyone want to jump in?

Thanks to Valentine for a very astute response to my question.

In answer to Valentine, I agree that there are two types of layouts.  Unfortunately, most coaches think of only the arched whipping layout as a “layout”.  This becomes a drawback when trying to teach a full twisting layout.  In my opinion the whipping layout should be in almost the same body position as the layout that goes up.  In other words the gymnast’s take off is hollow followed by a tight arch.  The difference in whether one does a whip or goes up is in the front handspring.  To create the whipping action the front handspring must rotate faster and land more arched than the handspring that is used to go straight up.   Remember that the hollow takeoff must come from an arched position in order to create power.

So, there are two very distinct “Layout” front flips.  Please do not be confused by the term “layout” and think that the layout that whips is the only way to do this. As a matter of fact if you try to twist the whipping tight arched layout the gymnast wil have a very difficult time twisting beyond a full.  In order to efficiently twist the front somersault one must rotate the front handspring less in order to stand up taller on the take.  However, note that to create the power necessary to go up you must still land the handspring arched and snap to the hollow position.  The difference is that to twist you never drive the heels to create rotation.  The body stays in the hollow and you begin the twist at the top of the somersault which will increase the rotation and allow you to land on your feet. Good Luck.

Front Handspring on the Floor

Sunday, April 27th, 2008

When I went to coach at Bowling Green State University in 1996 I inherited 18 gymnasts and in turn 18 different ways to do a front handspring on floor.  I was amazed that we had just won the Olympics as a country in Atlanta yet these young ladies none of whom were below a Level 9 did not know how to do a good front handspring.  Below is a progression as to how we can all better teach the front handspring.

We are luckier today than in 1996 and before in that we have tumble traks to use to teach tumbling.  Unfortunately, the more advanced technology, at times, allows us to skip steps that are extremely important to a skill.  In this case kids can do many repetitions thinking they are being sucessful yet end up learning to do a front handspring finishing with the legs bent and or the head forward or arms forward or even down.

We must use basic concepts to teach these skills.  We should not lose sight of the fact that a front handspring is merely a front limber done quickly with a coordinated push off the ground with the arms through the shoulders.  And most of all it is important to emphasize the finish being with straight legs, in an arch, with arms overhead and head back.  This creates a slingshoot effect.  With the body acting as a bow bent and ready to release into the next skill. That skill would logically be a  front flip.