Mill Circle

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nevertooold

I am curious about the seemingly widespread opinion that a mill circle is either very difficult, or a waste of time.
In my experience I cannot think of a single girl who was strong enough to do a straight arm front hip circle or Kip who could not do a mill circle with ease. Maybe one.

Not to say there isn't some strength and timing involved, but it's just not that difficult compared to the bar skills which follow it. There is so much lamenting about the dreaded mill circle when realistically the majority of the girls who cannot do it just need to get stronger.

Lots of opinions that we shouldn't waste time teaching this skill but a well conditioned level 3 or 4, who understands what to do can pick this skill up relatively easily in my opinion. So what gives? Any coaches or parents think that a child unable to do a mill circle would really be able to do the level 5 bar routine competantly? I cannot imagine a girl who couldn't mill circle doing a straight arm Kip cast to horizontal.

Just saying.
 
I agree for the most part, I also think it is important that the kids get strong in that grip compared to the relative amount of time we train in the other grip. The argument "well they won't use it again until front giants" is just a function of a poor training plan. Yes, if you never touch anything in undergrip again because it isn't part of the routines at that level, then there's a gap. You can continue to train to get stronger in the undergrip with girls as early as level 4/5 (as shown by the mill circle) and there are a variety of drills from L5-7 that can be used in undergrip.

YouTube - Introduction of the Front Giant to young gymnasts (Ages 5-7)

YouTube - John Smith - Gymnastics BAR grip change drill

I believe the intention of the mill circle in L3 and L4 is the early introduction of an alternate grip skill. The focus of these levels is to provide an introductory foundation or "library of movement" (I got that last one from Tom Koll, nice huh?). Sometimes the kids will fall on mill circles. Oh well. We do our best to prepare. But ultimately it's level 4. They're going to fall on things while they figure it out. I once fell three times on the scale in the level 4 beam routine. I managed to get out of level 4. We need to keep some sense of perspective and not freak out over the skills because we expect all level 4s to be performing to the standard of the few popular youtube channels.

And after the mill circle it's up to coaches to continue to introduce drills and exercises to maintain and build strength in alternate grips. The mill circle is one introductory skills that was placed where it was in the program because it makes the most sense to place it there (rather than have a pause in the L5 or 6 routines which emphasize swinging and casting). The level 3 and 4 routines emphasize control and strength to me and it makes sense to emphasize this in both grips.

The change I would make before anything is to have a cast requirement in L4. Possibly do three casts into the BHC in level 4, with the cast requirements being progressively higher.
 
i don't want to debate the mill circle. suffice that it was in the class 3 compulsory prior to the system 1-10 that you all know and enjoy today.

back then it was turned the other way. you did the mill circle, let go, catch the high bar. you're lucky you were not around in the 70's and 80's to see the types of injuries this skill with it's connection caused.

today? same thing. now they either fall back off the bar if their short or fall long when their wrist and thumbs don't keep up. in any event, they cause a lot of unnecessary injuries. the russians used to laugh at us that this was in a routine at that time of gymnastics. they were over it in the 50's and when the girls bars were the boys parallel bars with 1 bar raised higher than the other.

best to spend your time doing reverse grip casting and reverse grip handstands on low bars and floor bars.

there is NOTHING that a mill circle can teach you that 10 other safer and more fundamental drilling skills will do better. mill circles are dead end. no pedagogical food chain. on empty.

that's all on this one.:)
 
Regardless of whether one falls on the library of movement side or dead end skill side, my concern is the reputation the mill circle has of being so difficult. Parents come to a board like this and hear that mill circles are the problem when probably the amount of bar skill specific drills and conditioning their child is doing are the problem.
If we got rid of the mill circle, then what? The same kids would be unable to do a well executed front hip circle or Kip.
I would be curious from gyms that begin competing at level 5 and don't train mill circle if most all their 5's couldn't pick this up in a few attempts. B/c useless or not it's just not that difficult. (unless the kids just aren't ready which is probably most of the problem, and if they aren't ready for mill circle I suspect they aren't ready for much of anything else on bars)
 
I think it's a dreaded skill amongst us parents because it seems to be the most inconsistent skill for alot of the girls. Once DD learned a FHC with a very nice cast out of it she's never missed it again. Sometimes it's prettier or her cast is nicer, but she never misses it and completely falls. It's the same with her skills on the other events. I never worry that she's going to fall on anything on floor. Beam of course falling is always a possibility, but it doesn't happen very often anymore. The mill circle is in level 3 yet it was much harder for her than a FHC which is level 4. She was introduced to both skills at the same time and the FHC was much easier for her. She made her first mill circles in the summer and yet up to this point she would still be hit or miss. She doesn't have another skill that has been hit or miss. Maybe she was just taught incorrectly and that's why she has had so much trouble.
 
Regardless of whether one falls on the library of movement side or dead end skill side, my concern is the reputation the mill circle has of being so difficult. Parents come to a board like this and hear that mill circles are the problem when probably the amount of bar skill specific drills and conditioning their child is doing are the problem.
If we got rid of the mill circle, then what? The same kids would be unable to do a well executed front hip circle or Kip.
I would be curious from gyms that begin competing at level 5 and don't train mill circle if most all their 5's couldn't pick this up in a few attempts. B/c useless or not it's just not that difficult. (unless the kids just aren't ready which is probably most of the problem, and if they aren't ready for mill circle I suspect they aren't ready for much of anything else on bars)

I can't speak for any kids you coach, but DD has a really good FHC with a good cast, yet she's had trouble being consistent on her mill circle. She can do the low bar portion of the level 5 routine more consistently than than the level 4 bar routine. Maybe she's just a freak.
 
It's the leg cuts that make me cringe. I've seen a few finger injuries on those or close calls. I always spot the mill circle (at least standing there, even in meets) and shoot through, so while I think they are "potentially" dangerous in that sense, so maybe I've been lucky but so far I've never had a kid get hurt even slightly on those (and counting rec who need the skill to move up too I have had hundreds of level 3s and 4s). I do think it's important to closely supervise these two skills.

I've seen kids that don't have a mill circle consistently have a decent FHC, the mill circle takes a little more control to avoid doing two. I'm sure you don't have to learn a mill circle but I'm not opposed to its placement in the L3 and 4 routines.
 
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I can't speak for any kids you coach, but DD has a really good FHC with a good cast, yet she's had trouble being consistent on her mill circle. She can do the low bar portion of the level 5 routine more consistently than than the level 4 bar routine. Maybe she's just a freak.

This was my dd too. She had a beautiful straight armed fhc with nice cast and still had trouble making the mill circle consistently. She also went through the stage where she would go around twice. By competition season she had it, but it still was never as nice as her fhc. Honestly, I think the skill is harder for little kids. Older girls seem to pick it up almost immediately.
 
I disagree with the original poster, I know plenty of girls who can do beautiful kips but not one of them can do a mill circle, nor have any of them ever attempted to do a mill circle before.

This is of course because we do not do mill circles (or front hip circles either) in Australia.

In level 3 the kids do - Glide swing, pullover, cast, back hip circle and then either a toe shoot or underswing off the low bar, followed by 3 swings on the high bar.

In level 4 they do 2 glide swings, pullover, cast, back hip circle, bar change, 3 swings to a long hang pullover and then a toe shoot or underswing.

On level 5 they do kips on low and high bar instead of the glide swings and pullovers.

The thing I don't like about the mill circle and why I am glad we do not have it in our routines as that it requires the kids to stop on the bar. Our kids from level 3 are working to do a continuous routine without stops.
 
Personally, I think that mill circles might be there to teach control and stopping in a skill. Granted, the hand position is weird. However, I think that if you can control a mill circle it's a bit easier to control things like casts because of arm/hand strength. Maybe it's just me.
 
In Canada, we do not teach the mill circle. Well atleast where I am from in Ontario...
But my kids can still straight arm kip.

There are drills that can be used to teach straight arm kips and hip circles...mill circles= unnecessary in my experience and opinion.
 
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