The Effect of Insufficient Low Balance Beam Stations

What is the effect of having too few floor line, foam balance beam and low balance beam stations? Sloppy, inconsistent beam routines with higher than average numbers of falls, which drastically retards a gymnast’s ability to win in the all-around and for winning team scores.

How To Recognize the Problem

When a gym or team practice area has only high balance beams or more high beams than low beams or inconveniently placed low balance beams, the team is at risk of having to learn skills on high beams instead of learning them correctly and without risk on low beam stations.

What Are the Consequences

Gymnasts are tentative in their approach to beam. Skills are executed with emphasis on perceived safe landings instead of emphasis on correct technique. All gymnasts are concerned about is having their feet on the beam and no thought as to turnout, square hips and shoulders and arms by ears execution. Gymnasts have poor skill execution. The details of execution are overlooked by gymnasts who have to place too much emphasis on saving their lives.

How Does it Effect Spotting?

Coaches spot too much and weaken gymnast’s self-confidence. When new skills must, because of the equipment situation, be taught on the high beam, coaches must spot skills from the very beginning creating a potential spotting dependence situation.

The situation can actually be aggravated the better the spotter the coach is. A good spotter can achieve a much faster “spotted” progress situation that far exceeds a gymnast’s real abilities and internal confidence levels.

The necessity to spot reduces the effective amount of beam training time as gymnasts must wait “in line” for the coach to spot them on new skills, that could be practiced alone on low beam stations.

Solving the Problem

The solution to the situation is to increase the number of floor beam and low beam stations. Medium beams can be sacrificed more readily than low beam stations, so they could be replaced with low beams.

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