Since balance beam is probably the easiest event to fall off of, it makes sense that extra and special training be devoted to minimizing the potential for falling and to teach gymnasts how to perform no-fall beam routines.
Learn the Basics of Balance
It is no mistake that this event is called balance beam. Gymnasts need to learn the basics of balancing on beam on both their feet and hands.
Build Solid Balance Habits
Learning to balance is a matter of repetition of correct balancing actions until they become correct habits that will can utilized on all beam skills.
Practice Balance Skills Regularly
There are basic beam training drills, called Beam Complexes that can correctly build these balancing habits if they are correctly and seriously practiced on a regular basis.
Train First or Train Later, But Train Balance
While it would seem logical that these skills be built in to habits before more advanced skills were even attempted, they can be successfully trained in conjunction with a beam skills program.
Beam Success and Consistency
The origins of use of this type of training in the United States derive from Nadia Comaneche’s perfect 10.0 scores in the Montreal Olympics. American coaches and other coaches from around the world realized they needed to figure out what the Romanians were doing to make them so successful and so consistent on beam.
The Romanian Beam Complex
The answer was what has come to be called the Romanian Beam Complex, which coincidentally is a training system to teach gymnasts to balance on the beam and which Romanian gymnasts would perform daily before their beam workout for 30 – 45 minutes every day. If you want to learn how to Stay on Beam, Click here.
The Romanians found that training their gymnasts to learn to move their arms and legs while centering the rest of their body over the beam at all times reduced and eventually eliminated falls on beam.
Stay Square and Turned Out
They found that teaching gymnasts to learn to keep their hips and shoulders square with the beam and with the hips and feet turned out resulted in better balance (which they have understood in ballet for years).
Soviet Beam Complex
Equally important to developing confidence and balance on beam is the idea that gymnasts need to learn to be comfortable on their hands on beam. Translate that to mean gymnasts will perform better on beam if they have mastered handstands on the beam.
Build Handstand Strength and Balance
To master handstands requires not only developing handstand balance but developing sufficient strength to control and maneuver handstands and control and maneuver passing through handstand positions (like in tumbling).
Again, it would be ideal to have mastered this strength and handstand control before attempting to learn gymnastics skills on beam, but training in conjunction with skill progressions and drills is better than not mastering it at all.
Give Yourself A Margin of Error
While balance on beam is a critical balancing act, there are actions that can be performed to give a margin of error to performing those skills on beam. This gives you more than one chance to avoid a fall off beam. Every beam skill, whether front back or side tumbling, dance or gymnastics, needs and has a number of margin of error producing maneuvers.
Train Margin of Error Drills Systematically
These are different according to the type of skill being done and while some of them are completely unique, they tend to fall into general categories. These general categories can be regularly trained to increase the chances of not falling on skills in that category.
Learn the Basics
Gymnasts need to learn as much as possible about the basics on beam so they can have more success on future more difficult skills. Gymnasts need to develop correct balance habits gradually over a period of time. And gymnasts need to learn what they can do to give themselves additional chances to stay on beam on the various categories of skills.
We have developed a product that can teach you about all of these and more basic skills and drills on beam. They can be practiced at the gym or even safely and effectively on a line at home. To learn more, check out our Secrets to Staying on Beam e-Book.
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