Improvement of Technique

In order to improve technique in gymnastics you must have a very good command of your body and its movement. Many gymnastic movements are very complex and precise timing of the body movement is required to make a skill.

The best place to develop the important body control is by doing basic tumbling. However, in our program for example, basic tumbling is taught more up to the compulsory level, but when they advance to the optional levels we often stop teaching basic tumbling or spend much less time on it.

When I am working with my optional gymnasts often times they have trouble making a correction of the body position of a precise movement. They lack the orientation of their body awareness and the body control.

For example, we have many girls who pike in the hips before they go to an arched position for the front layout. This causes the somersault to whip too much in the flip and/or not get enough airtime to twist. Therefore, we may work on fixing this problem for a long time. Unfortunately, many of the girls may have a hard time fixing this simple problem.

Teaching the simple arched dive roll on the floor is not a very difficult task. When we teach the arched dive roll we never emphasize a hip pike before the arch in the air. Even teaching a early hip extension on the forward roll, as they start the roll, should help orientate the early hip extension as they take off for the front layout.

There are so many areas of technical fixes they can make if they have particular awareness and know how to control their body.

I believe that we can develop this awareness and the body control easier if we continuously work on basic tumbling. I remember that I worked on basic tumbling throughout my career. If you are at a higher level it might take only 10 or 15 minutes to do some of it. Also, if you are in the competition season you can do it as a part of the warm up.

I realize that some of you may be doing basic tumbling on a daily basis, but if you are not, you may need to consider doing it more. Sometimes, you may not realize when and how it is helping them. The awareness development and the body control are essential for gymnastics, so working on basic tumbling should never hurt the gymnasts.

In our summer program we have tried to combine the warm up and the basic tumbling as well as some conditioning exercises in the beginning of the program.

We have varied how much: flexibility, basic tumbling, conditioning (plyometric) and cardiovascular exercises we do from time to time. However, we are able to combine them and finish it within 30 minutes as a warm up.

When they are moving continuously for 30 minutes it is more than enough for the warm up and the conditioning. But we also allocate a separate time block for strength as well as for tumbling later in the practice.

The skills in the basic tumbling such as: a variety of rolls, various handstands, pirouettes, walkovers, and all the handsprings, are important basics and we need to continuously work them throughout the year.

Have fun coaching!

Edited by Dan Connelly

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