Gymnastics Hand Signal Communication

It is absolutely critical that there be proper communication between spotters and gymnasts. If mis-communication occurs and either is expecting something different from the other, the gymnast may be seriously injured.

Communication is Critical for Safety

It is especially critical to adequately communicate on vault and tumbling, where the coach in normally situated quite a ways from the gymnast and noise in the gym may hinder successful communication. On beam, bars and trampoline, the coach is normally within easy speaking and hearing distance.

Gymnastics Signals to Save Time

For clear communication over distance for both safety and time savings, a system of hand and body signals to indicate what the gymnast is supposed to do or what the coach is going to do needs to be taught.

Learn and Practice Signals

Teaching can occur over a period of time by giving the hand signals whenever giving the gymnast instructions within hearing distance.

Double Check and Make Sure

During this training time, it is absolutely essential to double-check and make sure the gymnast understands exactly what they are to do, either verbally or with the “Understand?” signal and the “Yes” response.

Hand Signals

Tumbling Signals

  • Half – Show palm and flip.
  • Single – One finger
  • Double – Two fingers.
  • Triple – Three fingers.
  • And ½ – 1 Palm down flat, chop with other hand.
  • Tuck – Fist.
  • Layout – Knife hand.
  • Pike – Knife hand, and bend
  • Cowboy – Lift leg in tuck and pull knee out

Vault Signals

  • Handspring – Knife hand.
  • ½ On – Show palm and flip.
  • Round-off – Turn both arms in round-off move.
  • ½ On Direction – Reach down and turn both arms in round-off move.
  • Round-off, On Direction – Turn and Show.
  • Heel Drive – Lift back leg straight.
  • Tzukahara – Lift arms, tuck leg.
  • Handspring, Front – Knife hand, and tuck or pike sign.

General Signals

  • Twist – Pull arms in twist wrap.
  • Yes – Nod head yes and thumb up.
  • No – Shake head no and cross arms.
  • Stick – Place arms straight forward and squat.
  • Spot – Lower arms, lift arms and tap up with hands.
  • Timer – T-up hands.
  • Turn It Over – Roll hands forwards or backwards.
  • Understand? – Two thumbs up and lift.

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