For Coaches proper landing positions

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Proud Parent
Sep 9, 2013
I teach more of a squat position (butt behind the heels, knees behind the toes, chest slightly forward) for high impact landings because according to the PTs and trainers that's how you prevent injury. Alternatively, I teach the straight up and down landings (butt tucked under) for forward facing jumps on beam, because that's what Mary Lee and Tammy insist is correct as well as what I was taught as a judge (also that would be correct ballet technique). I see national and Olympic team members use both techniques for forward facing jumps on beam, so there is clearly disagreement. For floor, what I teach depends on which of my gymnasts I am working with (the dancers vs. the tumblers who struggle to dance so they do more in the way of acrobatic jumps than real dance). Is anyone else bothered by the contradiction? When it really comes down to injury prevention, which muscle memory will the body defer to? Aesthetically, I see pros and cons to each depending on the jump.
I like the beam landing as described and like to stay as close to model as possible on all landings because it keeps the gymnast's spine aligned and forces them to use the balls of their feet for support during the initial contact with the landing surface.

The beam landing model can't be strictly adhered for landing with a lot of impact forces, but an initial attempt to have the low back/hip posture will make the remaining landing sequence better.
I am not sure it is a contradiction, rather than tactic of application.

K.Costa, has published oodles of material on human system requirements of female gymnasts in landing situations. Here is just one that I have found as a valuable reminder to me as I plan my yearly periodization training:,d.aWc . The fitness, and landing technique are the practical considerations outlined by the techno-weenie research. Female gymnasts mitigating large landing forces need to utilize many joints to be efficient. Top female gymnasts utilize a larger range of flexions/extension than less skilled gymnasts. With ground forces as high as 14 times athtletes mass larger range and greater joint range to managa a safe landing. Knees are a joint at risk for our female gymnasts. This is obvious to all experienced coaches/judges. This awareness has the daily coach strengthening quads, hamstrings and counting impact reps. Since most coaches focus strongly on core, back, chest and quads, articles and research like the above has reminded me to work the hamstring muscles that control the ecentric flexsion forward of a landing. (The hamstrings increasingly resist the knee flexing forward. )I have found that focus on hamstring flex and strength has made my athletes safer to handle the higher ground force or valga forces with more complicated gymnastics landings.

I see BB skills as potentially having different landing technique required as they generally land with less force. Lots of force, but less than could generated on other events. Since our high end athletes have high end strength and technique they can land a BB jump in structural alignment and link the next complicated jump.

Just different for different applications in my mind. The USA Gymnastics L3-5 code has landings that require strong core strength and technique that is within reach of my team gymnasts. As they mature in the sport, their strength and technique needs to grow also.

Admittadely I have presented a different way of thinking about your question. I hope it adds to the discussion.

Best, Eric -
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Gymjunkie; A quick add to my rather lengthy reply above below:

The landing shape/technique has to consider the movement that will follow it. Generally the fancy-fancy salto dismount pass that is conected to another salto or jump are much different beasts to consider and train.

As an everyday coach, I train, condition and prepare my female athletes to make safe, repeatable landings. If their is a judging deduction (I am aware of the extreme (too squatted and too tall (locked knee)) so be it, as my athletes have safely and effiecently landed their more comlicated skills. (I coach Womens L3-10, and no elites or college athletes.)

Are their specific/general landing deductions you have in mind?
More references: I went to my laptop and looked for some of the articles that I read this year on impact issues. Here are a few more that I found interesting. Granted I do enjoy reading this material.

Another good article:

Article with impact comparisons front and backward tumbling:

Article speaking to joint kinetics on landings: DeVita & Skelly.pdf

Article on Reaction Force comparisons between Yurchenko vt and FX:

Article on posture signatures of gymnastics landing positions:

Lots of late night reading above, SBG -
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