For Coaches Coaching workshop 17th Jan 2010

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Club Owner / Manager
Mar 23, 2009
West Midlands, England
Hi all,

Yesterday I went to a coaching workshop, led by Colin and Christine Still (Colin is one of our National coaches and Christine is head coach of Park Wrekin gym club but most of you will have heard her comentating on BBC gymnastics)

Unfortunately I had to leave before vault, but thought I'd share some of what they were talking about on floor, beam and bars (I'll have to do it in separate posts if thats ok, as I just won't have time to write everything in one go!)


We covered twisting and oh my goodness didn't they just make it look easy!!
Colin made a very interesting point, that a gymnast will NEVER triple twist if the Roundoff is not good enough - I'd always thought it would be to do with the bhs and angle of take off, but apparently it is the roundoff which is the biggest cause of poor tumbling!

He pointed out a little gymnast who dropped her arms out of the hurdle, so that her shoulder angle closed and the roundoff veered to the side. He got to work on correcting this, just purely by telling the gymnast to keep her arms by her ears throughout and using the line on the floor as a guide (this is obvious enough!)
Again going back to basics he showed us some conditioning exercises for the 'courbette' phase of the roundoff and bhs.

Place a springboard on the floor and have the gymnast kick to handstand, push through the shoulders (he really emphasised the fact that the back should not arch) to 'snap' to the feet and rebound jump onto the springboard with straight legs.

Next - link the courbette action to a bhs - he also placed a 60cm high block a short distance away from the board so that the gymnasts had to jump straight backwards onto their backs out of the bhs. He gradually moved this further away so that the gymnasts had to work hard to push off their hands out of the bhs.

Next he took them to the 60cm block and had them perform the same drill as the first on here. He only asked the older/taller girls to do this and said that if a younger/smaller gymnast were to do this he would put a springboard in front of the block.

Next they had to perform the courbette action on the 60cm block and then rebound jump upwards and forwards to land on the block on their back in a tucked position - again this was to a) encourage a strong blocking action from the hands and also to introduce the hip lift for somersaults.

Out of all of these drills he said the most important was the very first which he gets his gymnasts to do during every training session - He coaches Beth Tweddle on Mondays and he said even Beth does a set of them every Monday!


He had the gymnasts perform robhslo onto a mat in the pit, and began to fix any problems with these. He wanted to see a high layout, finishing pretty much as close to the take off position as possible. He wanted to see the gymnast's arms go up to the ears, then to the legs as they reached the upside down phase.

Half Twist:

Next he had the gymnasts robhslo as normal onto the mat, then jump half turn immediately.
when he was happy with that (took about 2 goes each) he asked them, instead of bringing their arms to their legs to bring both arms down towards their legs but just off set to one side.
He didn't want the gymnast to think about anything else and before they took their turn he asked them to show him what they were going to do.

There was one little gymnast there who had never twisted before and with the above instruction performed a half twist first time! (After the first one she did start trying to use her brain, which according to Colin is a bad thing! So he took her back to the half turn jump for one go and then she performed the twist again properly!) As this was her first time performing this skill, Colin didn't attempt anything else with her and suggesting working this for a week or 2 then adding an extra half.

Full Twist:
Once the gymnasts had the half spot on, he asked the gymnasts to land the half and immediately put another half turn jump on the end. Again they did this a couple of times before further instruction was given.

For the full twist onwards he wanted the arms thus:
arms to ears on take off,bring them half way down, slightly off centre, then in to the chest, elbows in, one hand in a fist, the other wrapped around it (hope that description works!)

He asked the gymnasts to do a number of full twists, actually landing with their hands in the above position so that he was sure they were getting them there!

11/2 twists up to triple twists:

He used the above technique right up to a triple twist - only one gymnast almost managed it! He always worked in half twists and took it back a phase if the gymnast was struggling.

One gymnast made the 2 1/2 twist but was actually still twisting as she landed, so he had a close look at her layout and decided the problem was that she was taking off very late and throwing herself into the twist. He took her back to the double twist and worked on that until he was happy with take off, then added the next half back in.

One gymnast actually struggled with the full twist and again the problem was with her layout, so he asked her to really try and get the layout as short as possible, trying to finish falling forwards slightly. She didn't get it spot on, but for the purposes of the course he allowed her to move on to the full twist and there was a significant difference!

He mainly emphasised taking time over the twist and really getting it right before moving on to the next phase.

Colin said that when gymnasts are ready to add another half, they naturally put more effort into the robhs so the coach doesn't really have to say anything about that, but for those who don't do it naturally he said to do the conditioning I mentioned at the beginning. He also mentioned that only the most powerful gymnasts will be able to triple twist.

FORWARDS TWISTING (this was much more brief that backwards twisting and I'm only writing what I remember as I didn't take notes on this part!)

Colin had the gymnasts handspring front onto a mat in the pit then half turn jump to land with one arm by their ear and the other by their side
When he was happy with this he asked them to do this arm action when they would normally be bringing both arms down He wanted them to land the half twist with their arms still in this position.
Again when he was happy, he asked them to add a half turn jump onto the end, but this time he wanted them to only bring the arm half way down, and then wrap the arms in (into the same position as in the backwards twisting).

He emphasised that the handspring had to be good in the first place and encouraged coaches to spend more time on these. He also said that putting in a small platform, such as a springboard was a good idea (although he said a springboard might be too high) as the gymnast's muscles would get used to performing the skill correctly.

While we were watching, one of the gymnasts performed her full twist in 2 directions (half in one way and half out the other!) Colin said if he was her coach he would avoid forwards twisting if possible! But if he was to persevere would go back to the half twist with half turn jump until it was set in stone!

That was all for floor, but I hope it helps someone! It was a really good refresher for me as I've not taught twists for a while but am coming up to teaching them hopefully some time in the near future!

I'll write about beam and bars a bit later as I have run out of time but we covered:

Beam basic acro - cartwheel, bhs, series of bhs, bhsloso and roundoffs
Bars - pirouettes, Mo's and Tkatchevs.


Oct 22, 2007
hey what a coincidence!! I also went to a work shop on twisting over the weekend! (We had a big coaching conference that went over 4 days and I attended 4 lectures each day!)
The guy taking it also focussed a lot on round-offs ...... sooo many drills! If anyone is interested let me know and I will try and remember them all and post them.

He used the tramp for most of his progressions and did much the same. Layouts, layout jump 1/2 turn, layout 1/2 etc etc.
He encourages the gymnasts to initiate the twist by pulling their arms over to one side and keeping the straight rather than pulling them in bent (or whatever other techniques you can use) while they are still learning them.
He also really stressed that the layout should take off leaning slightly forwards not back or even up right. This causes the layout rotation to slow down and enables you to get more twists in.
The reason for doing progressions in 1/2 twists was to develop awareness. He also encouraged to teach punch front out of all 1/2 twists to encourage the gymnast to stand up forwards and to continue the rotation of the skill (plus its benificial in the long run for connections).

I would love to hear some of the other stuff you learnt..... :)


New Member
Aug 27, 2009
The guy taking it also focussed a lot on round-offs ...... sooo many drills! If anyone is interested let me know and I will try and remember them all and post them.


I would love to hear the round-off drills...we can always use work on round-offs!
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