Ask the Coach
Subject: Spotting Fulls
I am trying to find twisting drills and progressions to start with the girls as we are nearing doing layouts. Still have a few months before layouts are mastered but I know twisting takes time to get the air sense.
I have figured out the arm wrap using your tumbling ebook. I am just trying to figure out easy, simple progressions and good ways to teach and spot twisting.
Teaching fulls is easy. Teaching triple fulls is easy. Teaching progressions = tuck, pike, open, layout, layout 1/2, full, 1&1/2, double full, 2&1/2, triple full. Additional progressions out of those major somersault steps of progression can include standing jumps, jumps, walkovers, standing handsprings, punch handsprings, tucks and whips. I don’t use all of those with all gymnasts. I use them if they need the time and experience to move to the next learning step.
Set Lift, Snap Twist
I do teach memory positions and active memory positions. Twisting active memory positions include the standing set the lift (a little wider than normal layout so you have a radius to decrease and increase speed of rotation) and then simultaneously sharply hit the symmetrical arm wrap position with the head (but not the upper body) turning in the direction of the twist. Again, if they cannot do that while they are standing, they will not be able to do it in mid-air while flipping over. A wider lift will somewhat limit somersault height, but you are only doing a single somersault and you need to emphasize efficient twist, not maximum height yet.
Teach Some Jump Twisting, but Don’t Overdo
Any preschooler can do a jump full twist. Jump twisting is a progression and learning tool, but over-practicing it for learning fulls after gymnasts can already do jump 1&1/2 or jump double is not necessary and could lead to a bad habit of twisting early. Almost all of the gymnasts I have had who could do triple twists could not do a jump triple twist. Don’t waste too much time with this.
Master a No-Whipped Layout
Mastering layouts is indeed the key to mastering twisting. In particular, any layout that is over-rotated, will interfere with twisting, regardless of cause (throwing head, take-off angle leaned back, etc.). Short landings are OK for the set-up for twisting. On tumble tramp, which is where your gymnasts are going to have to learn twisting, gymnasts are going to have to have an exaggerated forward lean on their take-off angle because tumble tramps are slower than floor. What you are looking for is a leaned forward take-off angle that will result in a layout that goes up, rotates just enough and drops down to a stick. No stick = not yet ready to twist.
Learning Using Late Twisting is Best
My system of teaching twisting (most of which I learned from World Champion Tumbling friends) is based on late twisting. Late twisting eliminates the dangerous mistake of gymnasts doing all twist and not enough rotation and twisting early off the floor. It is the perfect just-add-one-small-step-of-progress method of learning. First have gymnasts do layouts, land and then do jump full turn (or more). That starts building the neural pathway for twisting.
Rotate the Layout, Then Twist
The next step is to have gymnasts correctly wrap a 1/2 twist ONLY AFTER they know they are going to land their layout on their feet. They should be carefully instructed that “If they don’t know they are definitely going to land on their feet, they should not twist.” and “Do the twist right before they land or even right after they land.”
Steps to Spotting Fulls
- Step 1 – Get familiar with spotting each gymnast on layouts.
- Step 2 – Standing jump 1/2 turn into your arms in horizontal position.
- Step 3 – RO FF and/or standing FF jump 1/2 turn into your arms in horizontal position.
- Step 4 – RO FF jump 1/2 turn into your arms into legs up position.
- Step 5 – RO FF jump 1/2 turn into your arms into legs up position, lift their legs over the top and walk across to other side, finishing twist and rotation for them while holding them.
- Step 6 – Normal Full Spot – RO FF Layout Twist (spotter lays inside arm on lower back to set and then lets gymnast twist while helping hold them up, and then catch them on landing with both hands. If gymnast messes up – wrap them up in your arms and catch them out of air and set them down safely).
- Step 7 – Continue to use inside arm to set and do “pitch and catch” spot.
Use Pit, Equipment Progressions and Spotting
You should be using some combination of both teaching systems to teach your gymnasts fulls. Same spotting method can be used up to double fulls and the late twist system for triple full+ twisting.