It is a common error to twist right off the ground, which means the salto has insufficient lift and airtime to complete either the layout somersault and/or the twist.
Twisting Wrong Direction
If a gymnast can’t learn a full after a long time of working on it, it is possible they are twisting opposite to their natural twisting direction (usually right shoulder back twisting if gymnast does left cartwheel). In a safe environment (a loose foam pit) try twisting the other way a few times and see if it is easier or you make rapid progress.
This most common problem on all back saltos really interferes with twisting. Throwing the head causes an arch in the back and twisting only really easily occurs in the straight position. Eliminating this error (starting in the layout) can make twisting easier.
Just like the above problem arching the in the back salto causes problems since twisting only really efficiently occurs in the straight body position. Eliminating this error (starting in the layout) can make twisting easier.
Head and Arm Wrap in Different Directions
It is not uncommon to see gymnasts trying to twist (and sometimes actually twisting) with the head turning one way and the arm wrap going the other way. Obviously this is an inefficient way to try to twist and can stall twisting progress. Make sure the head and arm wraps are going in the same (and correct) direction.
Head Out of Twist
This is similar to the problem above except instead of going the wrong direction the head is just sticking out of the twist and going in no real twisting direction at all. The head is an integral part of efficient twisting and needs to coordinate with the arm wrap and go in the same direction. Get your head in the twist.
Early twisting often robs power from somersault rotation. When you body and mind realize that there is a danger of landing short, the body’s reaction is often to open up out of the twist. Setting the layout over and knowing the body is going to rotate the somersault before twisting can fix this problem.
Whips are low (not much air time) and arch then pike. The body has little air time to complete the skill and even less time where the body is straight and can efficiently twist. Set up your layouts.
Lack of Coordination of Lift and Twist
There must be a balance between lifting (setting) the layout and wrapping the twist. Of the two, the layout is the most important and requires the most effort and energy. Face it, anyone can do a jump full turn. But who can do a standing layout. The correct balance must be found between the two and the two must be smoothly coordinated.
Lack of Coordination of Head and Arm Wrap
For twisting efficiency, the head and arm wrap must be tightly coordinated. They should snap into the twisting action at the same time. When the two are not coordinated, twisting efficiency suffers.
If you want to know more about tumbling and twisting techniques, drills, and progressions, you will want to buy and read our Secrets to 10.0 World Class Tumbling e-book