Day 2 – Floor and Bars
Or as it should be known, OMG TWISTING!!
We started off with some more biomechanics of spring actions, taking a lot about the vault and turning over from the board using the opposing force of the floor. We touched a bit on torque twisting as a demonstration of opposing forces but the big take away from this was the vault and what happens on the beat board. We also got into a lot about double fronts after yesterday’s discussion about spotting double backs. The key to training double fronts apparently is the timing of the kickout and a good high kickout for single front is the best precursor for doing a double front.
Our discussion on twisting started with the statement that generally we don’t spot twisting which was a big relief to everyone… However we did touch on 3 kinds of twisting:
Cat Twist (Hula Hoop)
I think the cat twist got lost in the day somewhere and we didn’t really talk about the arm positioning for twisting as far as the mechanics of initiating the twist. I think I was expecting a big discussion around the straight arm lead, the cross body pull, the head turn twist or the hip drive twist none of which transpired. What we did talk about was directional twist, being able to tell which direction is which when going back and forward and how to determine what direction an athlete should be twisting. They sound always twist the same way front or back but this may or may not be the same as the way they roundoff.
The athlete should always turn according to the arm that is dropping and the acronym to remember the direction of twist is FLIP and BLAST.
Forward look in pit
Backwards look at shoulder tip
So depending on which way they twist they should maintain this direction front and back. Both front and back twisting should be taught together to make sure they are both standardized but it’s apparently the norm to correct a front twist not a back twist.
The reason, for those who are interested why there is not a discussion about the arms etc is because the set is really the most important part of the twist, a good shoulder lift off the floor or a great extension off the vault is what is really required, then dropping the arm or bringing the arms in tight for a quicker rotation is really a mute point. Like Bill said yesterday the most important part of twisting is the somersault. This makes it possible for all the twisting action to be performed in the top half of the rotation between 90 and 270 degrees leaving the first 90 and the last 90 for takeoff and landing.
HS Pirouette on floor should be enforced both ways but on the bar should obey the preferred twisting direction. There is a lot to know about twisting but the important thing is that it is enforced the proper way from the very start.
It’s Day 3.
Pommels. Yeah it looks pretty easy but let me tell you there’s more to it. Just learning the terminology requires a degree in lexicology and a mastery of international names. Plus the fact that they have the same name for several skills and several names for the same skill and it’s pretty much if you call something a half kahre or a Czech you will probably be at least half right. The first half of the day was taken up with pommel and I have to admit I was fascinated and learned a lot about the different conditioning elements used to create the right torsional movement to achieve the double leg circle. The afternoon was taken with our second part of bars coaching including pirouettes on bars and then on to free hip, Endo and Stalder circles. These advanced skills are not spottable but are the kind of skills that require extensive patterning with progressions and a little bravery on the behalf of the athlete the first time they are performed. The emphasis here was on the Understand / Teach model which is critical when the spotting piece is taken out of the equation. Being able to isolate the shaping and biomechanical forces and counter forces at work goes a huge way to understanding the appropriate conditioning and skill development that sometimes isn’t apparent to the casual observer.