Gymnastics/Kip

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Question
Hi Jack,
Do you have any tips on making a successful kip cast to handstand on uneven bars? My daughter struggles to make it up to a full handstand each time while competing.  Also are there any drills that her coach can assist her with using a floor bar?
Also, what optimal foods do you recommend  for a typical training day? She trains 22 hrs a week and is 9 years old.
Thanks for your advice

Answer
Hello Cheryl,
         Gymnastics is quite demanding and your daughter is now at a trick which demands more strength than she has (most likely)   She needs to be stronger in her hip flexors and lats (Latissimus Dorsi) Gymnastics gets progressively harder with bar elements which involve circle motion with centrifigal force which must be controlled through technique and/or strength.  I suggest keeping a journal and doing 10 sets of 8 leg lifts a day.  If that is easily achievable….add one pound ankle weights.  Also,  find a weight machine to perform lat pull downs with the hands parallel.  Perform 8 sets of 6 pull downs with ¾ of your max.  Weight training is huge for stimulating quicker muscle growth.  This will allow the specificity demands of the skill to be met sooner.  Don’t worry, your daughter will get the trick….she just needs to be stronger than the trick to meet the demands of the trick.  Okay, the use of a floor bar is great if you use it efficiently.  Most gymnast do not discipline the shoulder angle.  The shoulders position in going for a handstand should be levering in front of the bar until the handstand.  A lot of gymnasts bring their shoulders back early and by doing so will miss the handstand on the bars early.  The coach needs to remind the athlete to keep the shoulders in front of the bar longer.  I suggest straddle press handstands starting with the shoulders in front of the floor bar to feel the balance and control needed when casting through the correct line.   I wish you the very best for your daughter 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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