a handstand roll on floor and tap swings on bar

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Dec 27, 2010
hi! i coach level B girls here in finland. they are between ages 7 and 11 and our level B is comparable to USAG level 3.

our level B floor routine is pretty easy to learn, but the girls have some problems with a handstand roll on floor. some of them bend their arms and pike their body too early so the handstand is not very straight and the roll rolls in place. it's quite hard to explain but i hope you understand.

we have tried to fix them by doing a handstand roll from a lunge on floor to a 10 cm thick mat (they put their hands on floor but they roll on a mat). it really helps and they can do very pretty handstand rolls with straight arms with that mat, but when we try to do the same long beautiful handstand rolls on floor they have the same problems than before that mat drill... some girls say that our floor is very hard and rolling hurts their heads and backs. i know that the floor is not very soft so we have used some extra mats on it but the girls have the same problems with other mats and other gyms anyway... do you have any handstand roll drills?

the second problem is their bar routine. i think that it's too hard for level B's. there is a pull over (from hanging position), two casts (45 degrees over horizontal), back hip circle and three tap swings in that (high) bar routine. most of my girls can do a back hip circle and 7 of 13 girls can do a chin up pullover. they also can do tap swings but their form is bad. they should swing all the way up to the horizontal in front but they can't do that. they should do the first frontswing directly from a back hip circle but most of the girls stop before that and then they bend their arms and just fall down to a hanging position from front support... and it's quite hard to continue swinging if you have no speed or power at all. our biggest problem is how to "tie" bhc and the first (high enough!) tap swing together. we have already done that USAG level 4 bar dismount but the girls don't know how to push their wrist up... when i spot them they do it correctly but they can't do it by themselves. any tips?

thanks :)

ps: i'm sorry about my poor english... ask if you didn't understand what i'm saying.
I understood perfectly! Hopefully these things will make sense due to the different words for skills.

1. Handstand roll: candlestick roll to stand and candlestick roll to jumps so they get stronger. Candlestick looks like this: Gymnastics Image Display and they should do it with their arms over their head like the one on the left. They can do it and just stand up and do it with a jump up after. This is how the end of the handstand roll should feel. If they let their feet fall too far to the ground instead of keeping feet up to the ceiling while rolling through the upper body, they'll flop too hard on the mat. You can stand up a mat and have them do their handstand stomach to the mat (or a wall) then they will try to do a forward roll but keep their toes near the wall while they bend their body so they don't flop (so they need to fold their body at first to get the hang of it, not try to fall flat so much).

2. Bars: for the pull up pullover AND the underswing (the thing that connect the back hip circle to the tap swing) have them practice a lever hold. Basically they try to hold themselves upside down with bar at their upper legs/thighs, toes to ceiling, head to floor. You can help them do this and balance themselves by pushing both your hands against their arms to keep them straight with toes to the ceiling.

Then on the floor have them practice the candlestick again and fall down on a soft mat with a flat body because this is important to not pike at the hips on the fall to the swing.
Handstand forward roll?

they need to learn how to maintain the hollow out of the roll and not just pike their butt to the floor. again hollow hold, rocks, candlestick rock and rolls

another basic drill before HS fwd roll is HS flatback to a soft mat, 8 inches thick. Wedge mats also suffice. They need to learn how to lean the HS forward, then roll out rather than try to roll from being vertical in the HS.


to underswing out of the cast/support, they need to learn how to drop back from support. this means pushing their shoulders back. many simply will not be strong enough in the core muscles or grip to not just pike or peel. they may pike if they feel like they are going to peel or they may be too scared to lean back

a good drill for leaning back is this:

from a support with a soft enough mat underneath...lean forward, then lean back, pushing the bar forward to land on their back on the mat

another drill is to go from a support to cradle hang with a spot. first they need to learn how to hold the cradle and perhaps have them swing in that position with a spot. you can also work pullup to cradle with a spot but this will more than likely to take more strength than many of those gymnasts have at that level.

your bar routine sounds a bit similar to the men's L4 HB routine. Here's the old and new versions of it.


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