WAG middle splits question

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Proud Parent
Jul 7, 2015
DD (8 years old, level 3) complains that her coach presses her and some but not all of her teammates down into middle splits each practice and that it really hurts. Is this normal? I asked why only some of the girls are pushed down and DD said they are the ones who have trouble getting their hips pointed it the right way. DD is very flexible so I'm wondering why she would need help with this and other not and also if this could be harmful in any way.
Well yes if it's done incorrectly it could possibly be harmful but I would hope your daughters coaches are well informed enough to not harm her. :)
As a coach, a lot of times I see girls that think they are very flexible but are really taking all the shortcuts available and appear way more flexible than they truly are. Is it possible your DD is getting corrections on form and positioning because she is "cheating" in her splits..? I don't mean this in a snarky tone at all, just I have a LOT of girls who at a glance "have" all their splits but as I'm walking around and putting them in correct alignment they're not really actually down at all CORRECTLY...
As far as the pain goes - it's hard to tell from an 8-year-old's response what pain means. To be perfectly honest stretching - particularly middle splits - hurts! Especially for a young child since they can't yet distinguish as well between the feeling of stretching and a harmful pain. I remember as a little kid feeling like I was going to die from practicing my splits.

Since your daughter said something about hips pointing one way or another, I'd imagine the coach is trying to get them to turn out their legs in their middle splits. Which isn't really the same kind of stretching as getting the middle splits down, and flexible kids don't necessarily have good turn-out.
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...and they're pretty unlikely to push a kid who isn't very flexible. They're probably correcting the ones who can cope with the corrections.
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Well yes if it's done incorrectly it could possibly be harmful but I would hope your daughters coaches are well informed enough to not harm her. :)CORRECTLY...

I was taught that the only safe way to push a gymnast down in their splits was to use the PNF technique (proprioceptive neuromuscular facilitation). Is that what you were taught as well?
It was late last night when I wrote my reply. I should clarify that my response was suggesting that the coaches were probably repositioning the girls into correct alignment and form rather than "pushing down into splits" :) I was taught how to properly align the girls to get the correct stretch as well as where to safely support them in manual stretching to each gymnasts' ability.
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It is possible to be very flexible but to not have good hip turnout. Ask you DD if when she does a middle split if her knees point forward or towards the ceiling. If forward, she probably needs to work on her turnout and that's what the coaches are correcting when they are pushing her down (stretching her hips so she can showcase her flexibility properly - this is a *huge* deal in dance, but is still important in gymnastics too).

Effective stretching is usually uncomfortable, especially for kids who are new to team and aren't used to intense training, so it's kind of something you need to figure out of it's too much for your DD to handle or not - most eventually get used to it, but there can be a few tears in the beginning.
If the coach is not trained properly it can lead to injury and a lot of pain. I'd question it for sure.
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