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AmandaPanda

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Mar 14, 2022
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My daughter is an excel gold gymnast. The past 1.5 years she has been working on her back tuck with both private lessons and during open gym. After a couple months of great back tucks into the pit, she got the courage to try them on the floor. They look great. Nice and high and safe. She did about 10 of them during open gym. She was nervous to ask her coach to let her try at practice. When I approached the coach she seemed almost annoyed that I said she did them and refused to let her try them until she completed all 5 drills. My daughter easily does 4 out of 5 of the drills. One of the drills scares her. She goes up to a handstand on a block and then lands on an angeled trampoline and then is supposed to back tuck into the pit. She freezes every time on the back tuck part. The coach says she has to be able to do all drills until she will permit her to do a back tuck on the floor. I was very upset that she has to do drills that teach her how to do the very thing she can already do. I’m all for safety but I feel like there are many paths to safely learning a new skill and requiring a drill for the sake of it is stunting her progress. I’ve also had other concerns with the coach being very “ my way or the Highway”. curious if this seems unnecessary to anyone else?
 

CuriousCate

Proud Parent
Jul 12, 2016
643
We have a few 'my way/highway' coaches at our gym and I have usually found that their way has a logical reason backing it up, most often related to the progression of the skill.

For example, my kid had a standing back tuck for over a year before being allowed to connect it to a RO-BHS. The main thing she was missing in order to be allowed to connect it was similar to what you mentioned - handstand on a block landing on spring board, straight into a back tuck into the pit.

The coach kept telling her that the proper connection was more important that the skill itself since realistically, she'd only be competing the back tuck for maybe one season (she actually only competed it in one meet to score out of level 5) and then move to back layout, twisting, etc.
 

AmandaPanda

New Member
Mar 14, 2022
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We have a few 'my way/highway' coaches at our gym and I have usually found that their way has a logical reason backing it up, most often related to the progression of the skill.

For example, my kid had a standing back tuck for over a year before being allowed to connect it to a RO-BHS. The main thing she was missing in order to be allowed to connect it was similar to what you mentioned - handstand on a block landing on spring board, straight into a back tuck into the pit.

The coach kept telling her that the proper connection was more important that the skill itself since realistically, she'd only be competing the back tuck for maybe one season (she actually only competed it in one meet to score out of level 5) and then move to back layout, twisting, etc.
Thanks. I appreciate that point of view. I think my frustration came from when I asked about it she was very defensive and couldn’t provide a real why, just that it was the rule. I completely understand processes and skill progression but if someone can’t articulate the purpose reason to not even permit someone to show them their new skill, I have to ask why. My daughter was next to me the entire time and never once did she congratulate her on doing the RO back tuck at open gym. I feel like if I were a coach I would let the athlete know that I was proud of them but that we still need to work on a few things before doing at practice to ensure their safety.
 

gymgal

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Aug 22, 2008
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Thanks. I appreciate that point of view. I think my frustration came from when I asked about it she was very defensive and couldn’t provide a real why, just that it was the rule. I completely understand processes and skill progression but if someone can’t articulate the purpose reason to not even permit someone to show them their new skill, I have to ask why. My daughter was next to me the entire time and never once did she congratulate her on doing the RO back tuck at open gym. I feel like if I were a coach I would let the athlete know that I was proud of them but that we still need to work on a few things before doing at practice to ensure their safety.
Not sure if this is the case but many coaches don't like gymnasts working on skills on their own. If your dd was told she needed to go through the progressions and she went ahead and worked on the ROBT in her own way, the coach may have been irritated by that. It's like when gymnasts practice skills at home and then the coaches have to work to correct the bad form. Right or wrong, you requesting a reason why indicates to the coach that you don't have trust in the gym's process
 

AmandaPanda

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Mar 14, 2022
3
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Not sure if this is the case but many coaches don't like gymnasts working on skills on their own. If your dd was told she needed to go through the progressions and she went ahead and worked on the ROBT in her own way, the coach may have been irritated by that. It's like when gymnasts practice skills at home and then the coaches have to work to correct the bad form.
That’s a fair point. But they have encouraged girls to work on skills at open gym
 

CuriousCate

Proud Parent
Jul 12, 2016
643
I also wonder if this coach is just following the progression protocol set forth by the gym and perhaps doesn't fully understand them herself? Seems odd, but could be possible if she is new or young.
 
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Aussie_coach

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Jan 4, 2008
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It could be the fact that she did it from a round off, rather than a round off back handspring.

I won’t allow my gymnasts to do back tucks out of round offs when first learning the skill because ultimately I wasn’t them to develop the round off back handspring back tuck.

Practising back tucks out of the round off can get them into the habit of going up instead of backwards. Then when they go to do a round off back handspring, often the back handspring will be too high and lack power. This will then ultimately stunt the gymnasts progress.

They will learn the round off back tuck later on for vault drills, beam dismounts etc. But not until the round off back handspring back tuck is very solid.

There are rare occasions where we might do it from a round off early. Like a gymnast with tight shoulders, for whom the back handspring does not create the power needed.

The coaches annoyance is not necessarily my way or the highway annoyance. It may be genuine concern. I get cross with my gymnasts if they throw a skill they are not ready for because I care and don’t want to see them get hurt or impede their progress later on. The kids don’t always understand why (though I always explain it).
 

PreciousJ

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Feb 16, 2021
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It could be the fact that she did it from a round off, rather than a round off back handspring.

I won’t allow my gymnasts to do back tucks out of round offs when first learning the skill because ultimately I wasn’t them to develop the round off back handspring back tuck.

Practising back tucks out of the round off can get them into the habit of going up instead of backwards. Then when they go to do a round off back handspring, often the back handspring will be too high and lack power. This will then ultimately stunt the gymnasts progress.

They will learn the round off back tuck later on for vault drills, beam dismounts etc. But not until the round off back handspring back tuck is very solid.

There are rare occasions where we might do it from a round off early. Like a gymnast with tight shoulders, for whom the back handspring does not create the power needed.

The coaches annoyance is not necessarily my way or the highway annoyance. It may be genuine concern. I get cross with my gymnasts if they throw a skill they are not ready for because I care and don’t want to see them get hurt or impede their progress later on. The kids don’t always understand why (though I always explain it).
Sorry to hijack the thread - I wasn't the original poster, but this is so helpful to read why the ROBHS is taught that way! My DD is still struggling with connecting the RO to her BHS but reading your post definitely clears up why the skill is so important. Her team hasn't begun adding the BT to the ROBHS yet (DD and a few other girls are still trying to connect the RO and BHS). As a parent, I like seeing/hearing the "why" behind the progressions.
 
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Tmacs

Proud Parent
Feb 19, 2019
195
When our head coach came on, people did not like her... she made optionals go back and relearn the round-off. And then add the back handspring. Her reason was and still is that a round off back handspring is the most important skill. All the tumbling that comes after that is based on correct form on the round off.
I didn't understand completely until this year in L5 when I've seen my dd and her teammates who have been doing ROBH back tucks since last summer yet most of them have struggled with a mental block at some point this season... even after meticulous instruction on form. I now see why our gym seemingly progresses kids so slowly- they want to avoid as many mental and physical issues as possible.
 
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pinkytoes

Proud Parent
Feb 7, 2022
12
Totally understand how gymnasts and parents become frustrated when they feel their kid can do more. But trust that your coach knows what he/she is doing. Skill progression through drills promotes proper form which is needed for high scores, further progression and most of all- safety! After all, gymnastics is a serious sport where serious injuries can occur. If you don’t trust your coach, that’s a whole different story.
 
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