My 4.5 year old is having problems with her pull over. She has a great kick but seems to lack the upper arm strength to get over the bar, she also seems to kick outwards. Is there anything that we can can work on at home to help with this?
two ideas that might help, one is to obtain a large inner tube and place it between the two bars with one side slightly past the low bar so when the child stands on it they will be on a slight angle, have the child jump 3 times and on the the 3rd jump do a pullover, the other is to stand between the bars holding a trapezoid lengthways on an angle and have the child walk up the trapezoid keeping the arms bent and when they reach the top of the trapezoid kick over the bar
the inner tube can also be used for older beginner gymnasts who may want to step onto the tube and kick over
i find the tube builds self confidence in the younger and older beginner gymnasts and the spotting is miniscule
You need to make sure they are keeping their arms bent the entire time at first, until she starts learning the straight-arm pullover. If the arms go straight, she will never make it over at first.
Also, try telling her to get her bottom up and over the bar. Sometimes they just chin up to the bar and pull their legs up without actually "pulling OVER". Also, I find that if you tell them to kick their feet toward the back wall behind them, it givs them more of a lift over the bar.
Once their hips are over the bar, many girls have a problem actually sitting up, often because they are shifting their wrists too quickly and are thus unable to sit up. Hold their hands in place and tell them to PULL on the bar (this is usually the point where they want to start pushing down to sit up) and to ROLL the bar up their tummies like they are pulling on a rolling pin.
Also, many parents and coaches alike tend to put downward pressure on their feet or legs to help with the leverage for getting their chest up. This (while seemingly effective during spotting) is actually encouraging the wrong motion. Instead of applying pressure to the back of the legs, help them by lifting their chest a tiny bit as they pull on the bar. Once they make it all the way around, then tell them to shift their wrists and push up tall on the bar.
Bottom line: Don't stress too much. She's still very young and the skill will come Good luck!