It is amazing to me, that even at the International Elite level, how many gymnasts have insufficient swing into their kips. Now many people are already aware of how many International Elites end up in a virtually dead hang, when they do toe shoots, stalder shoots or free hip shoots to the high bar. With all of the other extremely difficult skills Elite gymnasts are doing, it seems strange that those skills are so hard for gymnasts to perform with swing and amplitude.
Kipping From a Dead Hang is Impressive, But Not Good Bars
When gymnasts can kip from a virtual dead hang, because they are strong enough to do so, they certainly do not need to swing very much into any other kip in order to make it. Strangely, many high level gymnasts do not swing into glide kip mounts and many gymnasts doing a jump to high bar kip mount have their board placed so close they get virtually no swing at all.
Swing is the Essence of Bars
Swing is an important component of bars. It is, in fact, the essence of bars. To exhibit so little swing on the simplest of gymnastics skills is a sign of poor coaching attention to detail. It is both a coaching error and a competition deduction.
What is the Max Swing for a Glide Kip?
While I have to admit that while teaching kips, I do not have gymnasts initially maximize their swing, but when they have kips firmly under control, I certainly do. The theoretical maximum amplitude for a glide kip would be for a gymnast to jump to a fully extended position horizontal to the bar (or perhaps even higher) and then glide into the kip. After gymnasts have done kips for a while, I find it fun to just hold gymnasts out horizontal from the low bar and let them go and see if they can make the kip.
Board Placement Determines Swing
When doing the jump to high bar kip mount, coaches should place the board far enough away so that swing is maximized. Obviously, the size of a gymnast and their ability to jump will determine exactly how far the board can be placed, but the object should be to create swing.
Train Swing on All Bar Skills
Gymnasts should be aware that their routine is being judged on swing and should train to demonstrate their capacity to swing doing the complete range of skills, not just on circling skills.