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I just started coaching a level four boys team, they are very good boys, but very inexperienced. I do not have much experience coaching boys, however I was a gymnast for 10 years (I'm female). :confused: I feel that I am at a loss for drills on the Rings, and for the Pommel Horse, and even the Bars.

Any drills would be very helpful!

Thank you!

Geoffrey Taucer

Staff member
Gold Membership
Jan 21, 2007
Baltimore, MD
On high bar, the main focus should be on tap swings. Otherwise, it's more or less the same as girls. There's really only three skills in the level 4 boys routine: a pullover, a cast undershoot (and they're less picky about cast shapes on the men's side; they don't have to be hollow; they just have to have tight legs), and tap swings. I believe more than half their score comes from their tap swings.

Pommel horse, the main focus should be on mushroom, and there really aren't many drills for that; you just gotta have them do a million circles, reminding them to keep a tight and extended body. Ideal position for a circle is as extended as possible; the natural tendancy is to hollow, so I tell all my boys to try to do their circles in a tight arch, with the hips lifting up in front and the heels lifting up in back to try to combat that tendancy. As for the horse itself, anything you can have them do that involves leaning and shifting their weight while keeping arms straight will help. THe level four routine itself is basically just a couple of drills strung together.

Rings is a bit tougher. The strength elements at level 4, while not necessarily easy, are not particularly technical, and are pretty self-explanatory. The swings are the hard part (and since they just changed the definition of an ideal basic swing, we're all sort of scrambling to figure out how best to teach the new swings). The idea is that in the front swing, the toes should come up and over the top, almost to inverted hang, but pressure should be applied outward and backward near the top to stall the swing and stop it from reaching a full inverted hang. In the back swing, the heels should rise as high as possible, and the chest should remain pressed down to whatever extent possible; position should be like a reverse candlestick, with the hips and lower back more or less straight, and most of the bend should be in the chest.

Another thing to watch for: as the gymnast swings backward, the hands should turn so the palms are facing out, and once the swing gets powerful enough, the gymnast should push the rings out to the side a bit (though the chest should remain the lowest part of the body, and shouldn't rise more than necessary. As the gymnast swings forward, the hands should turn so that the palms are facing in and slightly back.

Hope this helps!


On High bar, just try to get those lil guys hollow with their head in on the back swing and make sure they hop on the first tap swing ( if that's still in there from last quaddrenium ).

I like to teach a leaning front support to inverted candle for the undershoot. I spot this to insure there is no pike and the head is in and eventually they'll add a cast. However, pullup to inverted candlestick is a good drill but can be tough for many young L4's.

Getting them to keep their legs together on their 1/2 turn is always challenging. With some boys, the usual drills work and sometimes they just don't get it like one guy I had last season.

Rings is all about building swinging. Relax in the shoulders, keep the head in. Focus on teaching the swing in one direction at first and not trying to concentrate it on both ends at first helps.

We do hug the twinkies a lot ( lay your torso on a block and raise your legs past horizontal ). We also would do candlestick holds by holding the base of a beam or pommel or PB with straight arms ( head in ) and trying to just hold the candlestick perfectly straight. Eventually we would lower this diagonally until they could hold it horizontally.

Do a whole lot of walking on the p-bars and pommel horse besides skin the cats, etc. Lots of swinging and shrugging on pbars and supports on rings. It's very difficult for those lil guys to build a nice support on pommel.

Gymnastics Skills Index

has a bunch of video index for skills. Look into gymsmarts for men's basic dvd's or Greg Schram's videos though a google. Hopefully, you have the Compulsory DVD as well to kind of work things out as well.

Good luck. I had posted my warmup over at D&S in one of my posts and I may have broken down how many times I hit events per week and what duration.

I know when I was starting my boy's team, I went over to the other local gyms with both teams and just started taking notes and observing. I was pretty much on my own at that gym with very people really knowledgeable about MAG besides whatever resources I could get my hands on.

If you're limited in resources ( obtaining videos ), either check out youtube or drillsandskills and try to see their basics or I can possibly video some of the L4 stuff and drills.
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