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Question
Hello, I was wondering if you could help me regarding my gymnastics. I really want to move up to level 7/8. I last competed level 6 last year. But got hurt and am now an xcel. I know my hymns requirements but needed some skill help.

Vault:
Tsuks, back tucks into pit, off table, and onto resi scare me. I buckle my knees on my standing back tucks which makes a weird feelin in my head and it's almost like I get disoriented. But I never have this problem with ROBHS tucks on floor.

Bars:
I get really scared to do cast handstands because I'm not very strong in my shoulders to do them. Do you he any drills or conditioning to help strengthen that an make me be able to cast higher am be less scared?
Giants are also a problem. I get scared on the fast downward swing and feel like I'm going to peel off. I also have a hard time not arching and keeping my arms straight.
Flyaways are terrifying for me too. I can do a flat back dead cow drill fine. But when I flip I either hold on too long and throw my head back and hit my feet an close my shoulders or I let go too early and face plant. Both of which are not fun.

Beam:
I can't do back tucks off. Even walkover tucks I just get so scared.
Also I undercut my bhs and never get my hand on. I am a lefty so I put my left foot in front and opposite hand in front. My left hand never gets on and I I crocked leaning to my left.
Handstand forward rolls also scare me a ton. Idk why.

Floor:
I land my FHS with my feet in front making it almost impossible to flip. I try to kick after and wait but I end up hesitating or bending my knees.
My back layouts are pretty pikey. I watch the other optionals and they are completely straight. Why? I also have a hard time setting with my arms up and I travel back a lot.
Standing back tucks are bad too. I do to open my shoulders all the way to "set" and I buckle my knees.

I don't have a lot of practice time so if you could give me drills to do at home to that would be great!!!!!

Answer

Hello Carolyn,
         I was wondering if you could help me regarding my gymnastics. I really want to move up to level 7/8. I last competed level 6 last year. But got hurt and am now an xcel. I know my hymns requirements but needed some skill help.

Vault:
Tsuks, back tucks into pit, off table, and onto resi scare me. I buckle my knees on my standing back tucks which makes a weird feelin in my head and it's almost like I get disoriented. But I never have this problem with ROBHS tucks on floor.

My feelings on your disorientation is that you need to have your coaches break down the skills into more parts.  I believe this way you can practice at your comfort zone and get tuned in to your awareness.

Bars:
I get really scared to do cast handstands because I'm not very strong in my shoulders to do them. Do you he any drills or conditioning to help strengthen that an make me be able to cast higher am be less scared?
You need to do some weight training which will develop your strength sooner.  I suggest lat pull downs, benching and delt work (with dumb bells) raising your arms parallel in front of you while sitting.  Also, without weights…..forward roll straddle press handstands on floor (26 of them) will help develop some of the muscle memory you lack.

Giants are also a problem. I get scared on the fast downward swing and feel like I'm going to peel off. I also have a hard time not arching and keeping my arms straight.

Okay, if you arch in your down swing……you will peal off!  The palm of your hands should be on top of the bar and your body hollow.  Stretch your hips past the bottom then raise your legs to the hollow and lock it out.  Keep your head neutral.  If you wish to see it…find a you tube video.

Flyaways are terrifying for me too. I can do a flat back dead cow drill fine. But when I flip I either hold on too long and throw my head back and hit my feet an close my shoulders or I let go too early and face plant. Both of which are not fun.

You need more drills.  Remember …..your body and thigh, your thigh and lower leg should be at 90 degrees as you release for a tuck flyaway.  If you pull your knees in before you release the bar …..you are pulling/traveling towards the bar.  Only pull your knew in after you release the bar.

Beam:
I can't do back tucks off. Even walkover tucks I just get so scared.

Go to the tumbltrak and bounce near the red warning track 3 times (with your back to the pit mat).  On the 3rd bounce do your back tuck and land on the pit mat.  This drill will allow you to feel the push back action.  Also remember, a back tuck off beam is performed by only being off balance when you are push off not sitting.

Also I undercut my bhs and never get my hand on. I am a lefty so I put my left foot in front and opposite hand in front. My left hand never gets on and I I crocked leaning to my left.

Whatever foot is behind you when you start your back handspring designates the same hand first on the beam.  Your hands should be on the beam one palm after the other.  I believe you are undercutting because you are probably bending forward with to much drama.  Bending forward to much will instinctively throw your hips forward and make you undercut.

Handstand forward rolls also scare me a ton. Idk why.   Do not bend you body line until your shoulders touch the beam.  It will take some courage…..but the roll will touch all parts of your spine and you will have the best chance of success with your forward roll.

Floor:
I land my FHS with my feet in front making it almost impossible to flip. I try to kick after and wait but I end up hesitating or bending my knees.

You need to practice two front handsprings in a row to allow a better back kick and to feel the connection.  This follow through of a tough second skill is so important.  Please try that first.  Perform the first handspring as a step out and see if you can get your hips over the front foot as it lands.  If you can do that .

My back layouts are pretty pikey. I watch the other optionals and they are completely straight. Why? I also have a hard time setting with my arms up and I travel back a lot.

You may not be strong enough in your back and legs.  To strengthen your back do a ton of tic tocs and for your legs PLYOMETRICS!!!!!!.   Remember, the body needs to pull the legs around in a hollow.  Don’t fix the flip by shortening the line and piking  or tucking.

Standing back tucks are bad too. I do to open my shoulders all the way to "set" and I buckle my knees.
Think of your back tuck as a tuck pullover on bars.  It is the exact same trick. 


I don't have a lot of practice time so if you could give me drills to do at home to that would be great!!!!!

I gave you some drills throughout some of my answers.  I know you love gymnastics so much…….please next time…..ask fewer questions or just come to my gym in beautiful Hawaii.    I wish you the very best and take care – Jack Leonard

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Jack Leonard

Expertise

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.

Experience

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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