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Mar 5, 2008
Hi. I'm new to the forum. My daughter is a Level 8 (first year) and still has not truly gotten her giant. She has alot of fear on doing it. She CAN do it, but balks alot of the time, and quite frankly...they look real ugly when she does do them (which is rare). This obviously is hurting her scoring in meets. Our gym coach chose to move her up (actually last year she did level 7 and then moved right into 8), where she did level 8 (and even made and competed in states) without her giants. Now once again a level 8 (obviously) and she still is not doing them. Is there some trick to help her master this?? The coach has mentioned something to me about the "tap". He says her shoulders get over, but not her feet. I'm just a mom, not a I have no idea. Its frustrating to watch her...she is a decent gymnast, and has good form..and manages to do ok on all other events. Is there anyone who can give me some insight??? She is losing her self-confidence and dreads competitions now. (she is 12) I hate to see her give up.
Jan 2, 2008
Bay City, MI
They say at about age 11 gymnast get a fear for things and can take a long time to get rid of. My daughters level is doing higher level skills already and I think they do it so they don't get the fear before they are 11. We have a 12 old level 6 on our team that does a great beam routine but when it comes to the backwalkover she freezes. She still gets good scores but loses .60 I think for not doing it. They have to get the confidence in themself that they can do it and with time things will come, especially if they don't let her move levels until she gets it. Our gym you have to have all the skills before you can move levels.


I would make sure she is not pushed too hard on this skill since it's obviously becoming somewhat chronic. Let her learn at her own pace. This will probably include what seems like an excessive amount of drills. Let her do baby giants over and over. Let her do strap bar giants over and over and over. Let her do low bar giants. Get her to do a lot of whatever lead-up drill she's comfortable with, then gradually move on to the next hardest drill. Have her coach spot her over and over. Ask her what bar and matting setup makes her most comfortable. Keep the pressure of having to do the skill low and let her learn it in her own time. Don't force her to do it in competitions or the fact that she can't do them is going to be all she can think about which will freak her out and probably make it even harder for her to do them.

Mental blocks are so tough to work through. You need to have very good communication with the coach about what her training plan will be and what specific things she thinks she needs to finally get over this skill.


Without actually seeing her do the skill, it sounds like she could be arching on the way over the top of the bar instead of coming over hollow, with her toes first. Learning how to swing on bars, especially swinging giants, can be extremely scary, but they will eventually become fun. Fear is a constant factor in gymnastics, and over coming fear is something that gradually becomes stronger.

When you do a giant, you there are 2 basic shapes: A scoop (hollow) and a whip (tight, slight arch). As you begin swinging down for the giant you want to be hollow, then right under the bar you whip, then you tap (kick) your toes back up into the hollow shape. Many gymnasts do not keep kicking their toes over the bar, so they end up going around arched; which can also lead to not completing the skill. Here's a video a girl who is not quite hollow going over the top: In this case, she needs to whip a little later and kick her toes up and over the bar harder after the whip.

Hopefully that'll help you out.

Also, as far fear, I suggest doing lots of reps with spot, and trying to do more than just one in a set.
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