back pullover

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EmmasMommy

I'm posting in regard to my daughter. I'm posting for my daughter. She's 4 and gymnastics obsessed. (It's all I hear about. She also wants to be a "ballet and gymnastics teacher" when she grows up)

She got a practice bar recently (belated birthday gift) and has been working on her pull over at home. We started first with the drill they did at class--walking up the mat and kicking over. This was pretty easy for her because she'd been doing it so long, so we moved onto getting her to do a proper pull over (chin up, feet together, pull over) with a spot. Then she started working on it with a thick mat beneath her. (The bar is 4 ft, so it was hard for her to do a pull over at that height).

Within a week, she picked up on it--first with a double mat, then single mat, and now with no mat. But there is one part she can't get... Once she gets her legs over, she can't get her body up to complete. At first I had to help her up, but now she can do it if I just hold her feet.

Any tips on how to help her get the rest of the way around?

She's 4, so we aren't in any rush. But I'd like to be able to help her in a useful way when she asks for my help (which right now feels like every 5 minutes.... the bar hasn't lost it's novelty yet lol). I'm not sure if there's anything else she should be doing.

She has a private session coming up with her coach, so we may address it then, but I'd like to help her in the meantime.

PS--Her coach knows she has a practice bar at home. We discussed it prior to purchase and I always talk to the coach first about what my daughter will be practicing at home.

Thank in advance for any possible advice.
 
Her head is heavy relative to her body, because the proportions of a preschool are different than an older child or adult. Soon she will grow into more ideal proportions for gymnastics skills. For now I wouldn't worry about it much, very common.
 
Its important at this point for her to get her toes as far down and close to vertical to compensate for all the weight on top. I find most young gymmies have this problem. While keeping their confidence high by not spotting (I know most 4 year olds want to do it by themselves) I hold my hand down low to where their toes should be and tell them to reach their toes down to my hand. Using the leverage from my hand they pull themselves up, without any verbal cues they realize that it only works if they have pointed toes, straight legs and a tight body.

Working two-fold, I like using this method as well with the older ones and focusing on praising the good form and they deepen their muscle memory. Rather than, verbal corrections which come off rather annoying for the kids as well as myself :)
 
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Thank you everyone who responded!

Coach Casie--very helpful tip! I think I had her do that once, and she got very close that way, so we'll stick to that. She's very good about pointing her toes and keeping her legs straight, but I think you are right that her problem is that she isn't aiming her feet toward the ground enough as she tries to lift up. We'll work on this with your suggested technique! Thanks again!
 
Of course I'm not going to let her fall hehe. We also have safety mats. As I said, we discussed with her coach first, and she only practices skills at home (with my help) that her coach has approved and that she has been working on in the gym for a while first.

But I do appreciate your concern. I have 3 kids and I treat them all differently. For example, I don't let my 6YO try stunts on the bars because he is autistic and does not take gymnastics and also very fearful and not very coordinated or strong. My 4yo is more coordinated and stronger than he is. She's also been in gymnastics for a while and has had professional training and as I said, does not do anything at home that wasn't first approved by her coach.

She's also not the first 4yo to have a practice bar at home. There are 4yo's doing more advanced things than pullovers, too... because they are capable and ready. I just kids based on their ability, not on their age.




On a side note, my daughter just told me that she wants her coach to live at our house so she can do gymnastics all day for 60 hours a day until she's a grown up and can do it by herself. :p
 
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She also wants to think about bringing her hands and wrists to the top of the bar. I assume she can hold a front support on the bar. She wants to shift her wrists around the bar into the position of front support. This is tricky for young gymnasts to understand, but if she can point her toes down and shift her wrists up, she should be able to get it in time. No hurry, as you said.
 
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I was going to say the same thing as fuzi. Make sure she's moving her hands to the top of the bar!
 
Great advice! I've mentioned it to her a few times (moving her hands) but didn't realize it's importance. Maybe I can have her practice the motion of just moving her hands while off the bars. thanks again!
 
a) She's 4.
b) Home coaching rarely ends well. Roles blur, gym becomes a chore and everpresent, etc.
c) She's FOUR.
 
I respect that is your opinion. She's my daughter, and I think I know her better than anyone else. I'd hardly try to put out a blanket statement about all kids. She's happy and healthy and that's what's important to me.

Thanks again to everyone to helped. Is there a way to lock the thread now that I've gotten some answers? Really no point in the thread turning into personal attacks about the choices I've made as a parent in what I allow her to do.

To those who were supportive, thank you again. She's getting the hang of it now. I have her point her toes to the floor and gently touch her hand and remind her to move her wrists. She can do it without much help--I'm thinking at this point it's just a confidence thing so she'll get it when she's ready :)
 
Many people on the site have wondered why the "parent" forum is just for parents. This post is a perfect example...notice the coaches are just hammering right now.

This post was placed in the "skills & drills" forum though...so the coaches have the right to answer. However, the answers need to be on topic...not comments about 4 year olds.
 
Though the posts need to be on topic, they do not need to agree with home coaching. I for one believe that a four year old should just be enjoying being a kid and not being "coached" at home by an eager parent.

You may know your 4 year old better than anyone else, but many of us parents of older kids have had very eager kids like yours. Coaching is best kept for the gym in my opinion.

Also note that you cannot come to a place like the Chalkbucket for advice and ask for a thread to be closed when you get advice you do not like. Forums just do not work that way. I do not see any personal attack., The question was posted where any member can answer and therefore you could be entitled to hundreds of different opinions.

The question was about home coaching of a four year old, how else is anyone supposed to answer? Sorry but I do not get where CoachGoofy is incorrect.

Not amused at all.
 
Though the posts need to be on topic, they do not need to agree with home coaching. I for one believe that a four year old should just be enjoying being a kid and not being "coached" at home by an eager parent.

You may know your 4 year old better than anyone else, but many of us parents of older kids have had very eager kids like yours. Coaching is best kept for the gym in my opinion.

Also note that you cannot come to a place like the Chalkbucket for advice and ask for a thread to be closed when you get advice you do not like. Forums just do not work that way. I do not see any personal attack., The question was posted where any member can answer and therefore you could be entitled to hundreds of different opinions.

The question was about home coaching of a four year old, how else is anyone supposed to answer? Sorry but I do not get where CoachGoofy is incorrect.

Not amused at all.

Actually the post and question is about a "back pullover".

Any tips on how to help her get the rest of the way around?
 
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Actually the post and question is about a "back pullover".

The OP's post is asking how should a parent home "coach" their 4 year old child to do a back pullover. I can read.

My suggestion is to let the coach at the gym coach her. Nuff said.

I do not believe CoachGoofy is off track, just that the OP is asking for advice that many coaches would not support.
 
Congratulations on finding something your daughter loves to do and wanting to spend time with her while she does it! As a coach we don't usually encourage coaching at home, but most gymnasts are going to do gymnastics at home no matter what the coach says and if you can help her and make sure she is doing what she is supposed while having fun and staying safe, then nobody should tell you not too. If your child chose to play soccer and wanted to practice kicking the ball in the back yard and you were out there with them teaching them how everyone would think what a great parent you are!!!!

A trick I use for getting them to keep their feet down is putting a small mat (at the gym I use a little wedge, or small foam stairs) that they can just touch their big toes on the very top of it at the end of the pullover. They are then still supporting themselves on the bar but have something they can reach their toes too, it works a lot like putting your hand on her feet but she would be doing it by herself to boost the confidence level a little more.

Have fun gymnastics is such a great sport, once our daughter got her pullovers she did them over and over and over, she did not feel like this was work, this was playing to her and still is, while the skills are getting more difficult she still thinks it is playing and can't wait to learn something new!
 
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Just to go on the record here. The Chalk Bucket does not encourage coaching at home as we know gymnastics can be dangerous and should be performed under the care of a professional coach.

With that being said...the question was about pullovers. Please check out the following threads on the site about pullovers:

pullover - Search Results - The Chalk Bucket
 
Well, I don't think doing pullovers at home at 4 is really that big a deal, so I'm not worked up in that regard. However I stand by stating that physiologically a child that age has different proportions and part of that is having a relatively heavy head, which makes getting on top of the bar difficult even when you try to show them technically correct ways. It is not true that "lots" of four year olds can do more difficult things than this either. I work with lots of 4 year olds, and some (relatively few) may be able to mostly do a pullover and back hip circle, but virtually none of them can smoothly get on top of the bar. Once they're closer to 5 they start to have a little more luck. Again, I'm just trying to give relevant information as it relates to the skill at hand and preschoolers. If she's excited to work on it, that's great, as long as you don't overdo it but most people have common sense.

Now if you were letting her jump on her head to teach her a "back handspring" obviously I'd say differently, but this isn't really the same thing (although note that all the youtube videos of 4 year olds doing "back handsprings" to their head are suffering from a misunderstanding of the same phenomenon - proportionally it is virtually impossible for most children this age to do that skill. Obviously...that is more dangerous than a pullover so I am not saying it is the same thing in that respect). The truth is if she has the natural strength to pull her legs over the bar at this age, what is probably going to make it click may be less drills and more physical development. Once they're a little more developed, generally it's a matter of telling them not to kick their legs and slide their hands on the bar. If they can do the pulling part, that's most of it.

Not trying to hammer anything...just trying to paint a more complete picture of the cause and effect at this age. She will get it if she can do the pulling part.
 
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Thank you so much, audra. :)

My oldest son has autism and has been getting in home therapy since he was 18 months old (she was 4 months old at the time.) So this has been years. Since that time, I've always made an effort to spend one-on-one time with her, to be sure she didn't feel left out. I think she could tell the difference between my son's structured time and me and her just hanging out, which they BOTH get. She wanted to DO something. So around 2 I started her in the Mom and Me stuff. But she wasn't ready, IMO, so we didn't do more than one session.

A year later, she started tumbling around the house and I didn't want her to get hurt, so I showed her how to do it correctly and safely. I am not a coach, but my dad was, and I used to teach gymnastics birthday parties and assistant coach at the gym I worked for, so I was able to help her with some basics. I think it really helped us bond because this is what she wanted. Something structured, like what her brother had. And we'd tried a few things before--time reading, time working on colors, etc. She learns that stuff quickly and we still do those things, but it wasn't the same as the joy she has now. I CONSTANTLY tell her she can do anything she wants. Sometimes she says she wants to do baland I say okay, when this session is over, we'll sign you up for dance instead. She says, no... I want to do gymnastics AND ballet. I say if we can afford both we'll do both. If we can't, she has to pick one. So far she has picked gymnastics every time, but if she wants to do something else, that's fine with me.

Just to be clear, I'd hardly call this "training" her at home. It amounts to a couple minutes here and there. Maybe 10 pullovers total throughout the day, max, and she is dragging me away from my work to do it. I follow her lead and we never do anything that her coach doesn't approve. The coach has even given me things to work with on her at home because she knows Emma likes to practice so she'll say, next time Emma wants something to do at home, have her work on _______.

The coach knows that I'm not pushing her but instead creating a safe environment. Instead of "no, you can NEVER tumble in the house" (which will just result in just about any child doing it behind their parent's back, in my observation), I say, "You can do *these tumbles* in the house, with my help and supervision. And they are things approved by the coach and it's not like gymnastics takes up every second of her day (though it would if I let it). She has a balanced life. We spend time every day playing outside, watching cartoons, reading books, snuggling on the couch. She plays times alone playing with her siblings or just playing with herself using her imagination.

She'll be 5 in November, and she already has all her pre-reading skills and can do some short-word/simple sentence reading. She speaks english and spanish. She knows her ABCs and 123s in english and spanish. She can do some basic math and she can tell you what hour it is when she looks at a clock. She has memorized my phone number and most of my husband's. NONE of this is from me "drilling" things into her. She learns things very fast. Like the telling time thing? I told her once, and after that, she knew how to tell time.

It's not as though we are spending hours a day working on gymnastics. I hate that I should have to feel like I have to defend my decision to allow her to practice pullovers at home. It was made with thought and with the blessing of her coach. I didn't expect her to "get it" so fast, so I hadn't yet had a chance to talk to coach about "form" or "getting up", which is why I came here to ask. I really appreciate everyone who focused on what I asked and offered support. We are not doing anything her coach didn't approve of, and the coach's decision was made based on my daughter as an individual, which is how coach's should make decisions.
 
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