Having coached both gymnastics and T&T (Tumbling and Trampoline), I have a different perspective on training gymnasts, when it comes to both tumbling and using trampoline to train for gymnastics. It is a distinct advantage to coach T&T if you are an artistic gymnastics coach, because you end up being a better tumbling coach and having better tumblers.
There is No doubt – T&T Tumblers are the Best Tumblers in the World
T&T tumblers do passes where they tumble out of double layouts, and out of even more difficult tumbling skills. In other words, they tumble out of tumbling skills artistic gymnasts are struggling to master. Because of coaching T&T, I have much higher tumbling expectations for gymnasts. That just naturally happens when you work with tumblers who pretty much start their difficulty with double layouts. Regardless of whether you coach T&T, there are a number of training ideas that you can borrow from the sport.
Whips are a Basic in Tumbling
Whips, in artistic gymnastics, are somewhat of a rarity, and yet they are a basic for T&T tumblers. T&T coaches teach whips shortly after teaching back handsprings and often before teaching any other salto. Whips not only add variety to artistic routine tumbling passes, but make it easy to use the same tumbling skill, like a triple full, in a number of different passes. For example:
- RO FF Triple Full
- RO Whip FF Triple Full/span>
- RO FF Whip FF Triple Full
- RO FF Whip Triple Full
Full Speed Tumbling
Having artistic gymnasts tumble from an all out run into their tumbling passes is a tremendous training technique. Gymnasts must tumble correctly at high speed and errors, not noticeable at slower tumbling speeds, become apparent, so they can be corrected.
Using Trampoline Daily
It is obvious to T&T tumbling coaches that using trampoline daily to teach air awareness and to do more tumbling salto skill repetitions in less time is a good thing. Trampolines are used in T&T training every day. Literally, gymnasts can train and do 10 double backs in less than a minute. You can’t get that kind of somersault skill numbers done that efficiently training anywhere but on trampoline. Plus it saves wear and tear on gymnast’s bodies. I am constantly amazed at coaches, gymnasts and training programs that do not use trampoline every day.
Using Multiple Tumbling Surfaces Daily
It is common for T&T tumblers to use the trampoline, a tumble tramp and the rod floor all in one practice to train their tumbling skills and passes. And it is a very different (and more difficult) practice to start on the trampoline, go to tumble tramp and then finish on the rod floor (a soft to hard surface equipment progression), than to do that in the reverse order (rod floor, tumble tramp, trampoline – a hard to soft surface progression). And in artistic gymnastics, you can add in the regulation FX mat to the equipment progression.
Using a Mini-Tramp to Train Front Tumbling
While using the trampoline and tumble tramp to train front tumbling works well, if you don’t not have an inground trampoline next to your pit, you can always pull over a mini-tramp or a double mini-tramp and do front tumbling skills off that into your pit.
Sliding a Mat In on Trampoline
Another way to make up for not having a pit right next to your trampoline, is to use a mat (usually an 8″ thick mat) and slide it in for the landings of your gymnasts when they are doing more difficult tumbling skills. Sliding the mat in allows them to bounce unhindered on the trampoline, but have a soft, giving surface to land on. Even your gymnasts can learn the timing of sliding in a mat, after awhile, so they can spot each other. That is common in T&T gyms.
Sliding in a mat is actually the genesis of this article. One of the t&T girls I worked with learned a layout full in, Rudi out (like a full twisting dive roll, then a 1&1/2 twisting layout on the second somersault. Now you don’t see that everyday and you never see it in artistic gymnastics.