There is no doubt that gymnastics and tumbling skills are difficult to achieve. Those that are familiar with the sport, understand the dynamics and the time it takes to achieve skills. It is a sport where it may take months and even years for a student to achieve a particular skill. But why can’t a student achieve a skill that they have been working on for so long? There may be many reasons but the most common are fear factors or technical errors. Both of which can be fixed and overcome.
It is essential that students build a strong foundation of basic elements when they start their tumbling training. Skills build upon one another as the sport progresses so having good technique with basic skills will allow faster and more positive progression.
For example, if a student has a great round-off, connecting a back handspring will be easier to accomplish. However, if the round-off is done poorly, the student would not be in a position to connect a successful back handspring. In fact, it is very common that when you see a student bust on a round-off, back handspring, it is not the back handspring that is the problem – it is the round-off.
When a student is struggling with achieving a skill, the coach needs to determine “why”. If it is a fear problem, the coach should take the time to continue drill training and spotting to help the student gain confidence. This should eliminate the fear over time. If the student is forced to attempt the skill when they are terrified, there is a good chance of an accident – and this would certainly increase the fear and prolong the accomplishment.
With more complex and difficult skills such as the back full twist or double full twist, the problem becomes more common in students struggling to achieve them. The most common problem here is the lack of proper technique. It becomes very frustrating for the student when they are not able to get the skill.
When learning these types of skills, there are prerequisites that need to be accomplished first – and accomplished correctly. To learn a back full twist, the student must first learn a proper back layout -which is not an easy skill to accomplish properly. To learn a good back layout, the student must have a great round-off and back handspring.
If these prerequisites are not accomplished with good technique, the student may never learn their desired skill. I’ve worked with many students who fall into this category and the last thing they want to do is take a step back and work to perfect the basics. However, this is what must be done if they are going to learn the more difficult skills.
The bottom line in this scenario is that steps should not be skipped in skill development. Why can’t they get it? More than likely, too many steps were skipped early in their development.
My training manuals: “Beginner Tumbling Training” and “The Round-Off and Back Handspring”. These are useful tools in training for all and any athletes needing to learn proper technique and safety. Great for gymnastics, cheerleading, dance, martial arts, and more.