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Gymnastics/Mental Block


QUESTION: Hi,I have never had mental blocks with back tumbling until now. My coach really wants me to do a round off full for my beam dismount. I would say tumbling is my strong point and I have up to a double back on floor. However, when it comes to beam and even just on a line on the floor, it terrifies my to flip out of a round off. I feel more secure doing round off back handspring back tuck. Even on the floor I can't convince myself to do a back tuck out of a round off. Any ideas to fix this?

ANSWER: Hello Hayley,
         I am very glad to help you.  Okay… have lots of choices!  Keep an open mind!
1.   I have girls doing cartwheel back tuck & cartwheel back full.
2.   Also consider back walkover to a back tuck, layout or full off the end.
3.   You can also consider a gainer back tuck off the side of the beam.  It is not as hard as you would perceive.  
4.   I even had a girl liking the gainer back tuck so much we did a gainer full and were working it from a cartwheel so the leg on the cartwheel would pass the beam to life the back tuck/full.  You probably remember Svetlana Khorkina doing that skill with a double full.  It was quite an eye opener.
The big deal with new elements or troubling elements is to break down the process to much smaller progressions.  This helps you to not be distracted and interpret the element better with more emotional comfort.  I hope I have helped a little and I wish you the very best.  Jack Leonard

---------- FOLLOW-UP ----------

QUESTION: Well I already have a 2 foot back handspring to a full off as my dismount. The main focus is getting the round off so I can work towards double backs off beam. I'm really just looking for a way to get past being afraid to flip directly out of a round off. Thanks!

Hello Hayley ,
         I am very glad to help you.  Hayley I did not know you could already do a back handspring to a flip (dismount) off beam!  That is great.  Don’t worry about the roundoff…..a lot of gymnasts don’t like it because you have to turn and it could turn a little mistake into a big mistake.  A lot of high level gymnasts have chosen to work back handsprings into their dismount.  A back handspring (one or two) will give you more true momentum for the harder skills and you can already do it!  I suggest doing two back handsprings connected and then you’ll have the speed you need for double backs.  Several kids at Hill’s did that and currently do that.  I wish you good luck in your decision making….but I think you are on the right track.  Just keep working the one back handspring into two in a row and you’ll fly high into your new skills!    Take Care – Jack Leonard


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Jack Leonard


Former 5 time Natl. Tumbling Champ, 3 time Natl. Vaulting Champ, Natl. Floor Exercise Champ; Ass`t coach of Dominique Dawes for 6 years; Owner/Director/Head coach of Kauai Gymnastics Academy on the island of Kauai in Hawaii; Retired Physical Ed teacher; Childrens Fitness Expert; Expert Consultant for gymnastics litigation; Retired Mens & Womens HS Gymnastics coach for 32 years. National coaching honors for Men in 1981 & Women in 2001.


I value the following awards because they were given by acknowlegement through my peers: The Nissen/Grissold Award given to the outstanding Tumbling and Tramp Athlete(1972), National High School coach of the year in 1981 for men and 2001 for women, 10 time County Coach of the Year. Medal Award given at the first World Tumbling Championships in London, England for dedication to the sport. Lastly, having the opportunity to coach Wes Suter(1988 Olympian)in his intermediate years and Dominique Dawes(1992 & 1996)

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