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Gymnastics/crooked tumbling


Hi Mr. Leonard, I'm a cheerleader and I am capable of tumbling. My only issue with my tumbling as I learned at a rushed pace I never had much time to stay on skill and work on it to the point of mastery. When I tumble I been told I tend to turn my head to my right shoulder causing me to go crooked. I have some what fixed this but even when I manage to tumble straight my body is in a crooked position. Such as I am squeezing on side of my core making my body go crooked. Is there a drill you could recommend me or to what point should I backtrack my backhand spring in order to fix my problem. Thank you for taking your time to read my message, your response is greatly appreciated.

Hello Ralph,
         I am very glad to help you.  Okay, usually the reason someone is crooked in the back handspring is because the hurdle prior to the round-off is crooked.  Being crooked in the round-off sets the gymnast up wrong.  A gymnastics hurdle is basically a step hop step.  Usually a gymnast will hop to the side anticipating the turn of the cartwheel action.  It is important that you have someone watch your hurdle and see if the hop or the step after the hop is not correct.  The next thing to think about is do not throw your head back before your arms get next to your eyes.  This allows the body to stretch in a line that is practical for your skill.   Finally, a good way to get rid of a phobia is to revert back to basics.  Basics help to achieve better alignment and interpretation of the element.  I suggest back walkovers or a big cylinder to lay on to feel any poor tendencies.  I wish you the very best and 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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