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Linsul

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Sep 19, 2008
876
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..are easily fixed! I talk a lot about dance and figured it's time to put my camera where my mouth is. Additionally, I have a lot of girls on beam and floor that are currently learning coupé turns. Like most gyms, coupé and passé are on our evaluation sheets. There have been questions from parents over much the same mistakes, so I figured I'd share them here. They are indeed easy to fix if you have a mirror and can lay down! This is more for rec or early compulsory gymnasts, so if you're above that then this will probably be boring for you!

Coupé
Bcoupe2.jpg


That's what it should look like, I did it laying down and I highly recommend that for people first learning it or having issues with the position. You want to point both feet, pull one foot along the side of the other until the side of your big toe is touching the ankle of the other foot. It's a lot easier to get a feel for it when you aren't bearing your weight or having to balance. There's a bony ankle protrusion on the side of the foot where the toe should be touching; finding that first with your hands makes it a little easier.

Common Coupé mistakes:

Not keeping the heel in with the foot that's at the ankle.

Putting the foot on the shin of the standing leg, or behind resting on the calf.

Not pointing the foot that's going to the ankle, or even flexing it.

This picture illustrates heel out and on the shin incorrect placement.
Bcoupebad2.jpg




Passé:
Bpasse2.jpg


That's what it should look like, I did it laying down and I highly recommend that for people first learning it or having issues with the position. You want to point both feet, pull one foot along the side of the other until the side of your big toe is touching the side of the knee on the other leg. It's a lot easier to get a feel for it when you aren't bearing your weight or having to balance. There's what I can only describe as a notch at the side of the knee that's an excellent place for a toe to fit. Finding that first with your hands (while your leg is straight) makes it a little easier. When practicing be sure to not displace the kneecap, your passé foot should not be interfereing with movement of that joint.

Common Passé mistakes:

Not keeping the heel in with the foot that's at the knee.

Putting the foot on the shin of the standing leg, or behind resting on the calf.

Not pointing the foot that's going to the knee, or even flexing it.

This picture illustrates heel out and on the shin incorrect placement.
Bpassebad2.jpg


Whats bad about the bad?

Not ponting the foot is not only well, ugly, but also the act of pointing keeps the leg tight. This mistake should be avoided because while you can get away with it simply standing, you won't be able to turn without a tight leg.

Heel out is bad for a different reason, and is generally done in conjunction with having the foot on the shin or behind the leg on the calf. These problems typically come from a desire to 'brace' the coupé/passé foot against the standing leg. Again, you can't turn in that position. It throws off your balance usually by making you lean in on one side of the hips, which throws off your back alignment, and will hinder or totally impede an actual turn.

Easy fixes

Got a mirror? Seeing your placement does a lot in terms of awareness. Once you can see it, practice laying down on the floor where balance and weight bearing aren't issues. In the act of a turn, you have to snap that foot up quickly, so practice doing that on the floor as well.
 

Linsul

Active Member
Sep 19, 2008
876
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While I'm at it I'm going to do shoulders too.

This is HUGELY common, the shrugging of the shoulders. I did it with arms out rather than closed and in front (like they would be in a turn) because it's easier to see.
Bshouldersup2.jpg


Girls literally tense 'up.' Push those shoulders down! You don't have to be rag-doll relaxed, channel that tension into pushing down at the shoulder. Mirror is a great way to get a feel for the shrug so you know when you're doing it, and for the feel of pushing down. You don't want that in your turns or in your beam/floor skills!

Push 'em down!
Bshouldersdown2.jpg




Toepoint! This is near and dear to me, another thing that's easy to mess up and equally easy to fix!

Toecrunch is what I see most often from beginners. It's merely a crunch of the toes as the name implies, with no other part of the foot engaged in the action.
toecrunch2.jpg


Topfoot + toecrunch is the next most common thing I see. It looks like:
topfoot2.jpg


Now an actual toepoint, to the best of my ability lol. The top of the foot should be pushing down in the direction of the red arrow. The heel should be pulled up at the same time as shown with the black arrow. When done correctly the calf muscle is flexing, that is missing in the other two pictures. Mine is l-o-l as you can see!
toepoint2.jpg


Unless it's said specifically, it's easy for kids to think that 'toepoint' means just the toes and not the whole foot. Once they know that, bam, toepoint. Their arch can get more developed with practice, but once they have the concept there's no stopping them!





**This thread was an idea I had while taking pics for another purpose, I hope it was helpful! Happy to clear up anything or address some other common mistakes!**
 
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ellabella

Member
May 26, 2008
176
DD age 4 definitely does the thing where her heel isn't in line with the foot. And no one corrects it either!

Thanks for the pictures. Maybe I'll show her and see if it's something she can grasp.
 

Linsul

Active Member
Sep 19, 2008
876
Pripyat
DD age 4 definitely does the thing where her heel isn't in line with the foot. And no one corrects it either!

She's not alone that's for sure! It's something that is so easily fixed with awareness and simple practice. It doesn't get much easier than looking in a mirror and laying on a floor lol! In class I think it gets overlooked because you're trying to keep things going, the kids moving, etc. 15-20 dedicated minutes and a thorough explanation does wonders, and is something that parents can totally get in on if they know what to look for.

Thanks for the pictures. Maybe I'll show her and see if it's something she can grasp.

Np :) I'm a visual learner myself, I know I'm not alone there!
 

Geoffrey Taucer

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Coach
Jan 21, 2007
4,489
Baltimore, MD
Now an actual toepoint, to the best of my ability lol. The top of the foot should be pushing down in the direction of the red arrow. The heel should be pulled up at the same time as shown with the black arrow. When done correctly the calf muscle is flexing, that is missing in the other two pictures. Mine is l-o-l as you can see!
toepoint2.jpg

Nice toe point.

A toe point like this is not even possible for many kids without some fairly extensive stretching and shaping.

Anyway, excellent post, Linsul.
 

Linsul

Active Member
Sep 19, 2008
876
Pripyat
Thank you Linsul!! This is such a useful post!! Now I know what some of these things are supposed to look like!

Thanks! I talk a lot about this stuff, I figure talk is great but pics are better!

Nice toe point.

A toe point like this is not even possible for many kids without some fairly extensive stretching and shaping.

Anyway, excellent post, Linsul.

Thanks, and you are right on the extensiveness. I spent years in ballet along with gymnastics before doing gymnastics exclusively. Having said that I still pushed that arch like crazy for demonstrations sake lol! That's why I'm always pushing dance, ballet, etc. Gymnastics and ballet can certainly be done separately with amazing degrees of success. I think of them as chocolate and peanut butter. Awesome alone, SO much better when together.

When coaching a rec class, all I'm looking for is understanding of the concept. If their heel is engaged along with the top of the foot I am a happy coach regardless of the arch! A surprising amount of kids actually want to improve their arch. Every other week I spend 3-5 min on pointing. I don't aggressively shape their arch, just gentle pressure on the top of the foot and upward through the heel on a straight foot just to keep what we're going for on the brain. When I see a gymnast automatically point their foot when it's off the floor I get the warm and fuzzies. I love to be surprised with it when a gymnasts shows they've got it!

**EDIT** One thing I want to add to the thread in general is that flexing of the foot is as important as pointing it. I don't honestly know if this is common in gymnastics, but in dance tendinitis happens from heels not coming into full contact with the floor. After leaps, pliés, turns and such. Full foot contact with the floor when it's appropriate is very important, and the more you can flex, the longer you can keep it that way when bending for jumps and such.
 
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