Coaches Side Aerial + Back Layout Step-Out Beam Feet Placement

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Nov 24, 2012
Hello, coaches!

I have a question about the feet placement during a side aerial (D) + back layout step-out (C) connection on beam. More specifically, if you have a lefty gymnast which foot should be in front at the end of the side aerial/take-off for the layout step-out, and which foot should land first during the landing phase of the layout step-out. After thinking about it, I came up with the following scenarios, each with pros and cons.

Scenario #1: Land aerial with bad foot in front; take-off for layout step-out with bad foot in front; after pushing through legs on layout take-off, switch legs so good foot steps down first.

  • Steps down on good foot first out of her layout step-out, which is what she is used to doing.
  • Takes off with her bad foot in front on her layout step-out, which she is not used to doing since she has competed and trained taking off with her good foot in front (FF + Layout step-out).
  • Switching legs in the middle of the layout step-out might be difficult (and messy).

Scenario #2: Land aerial on bad foot, during the lever part of aerial, put trail leg (which is her good foot) down in front; take off into the layout with good foot in front and step out of layout on good foot first.

  • Takes off and lands her layout step-out on her good foot, which is what she is comfortable with.
  • Bringing her good foot forward after landing the side aerial has her moving in the wrong direction (forward instead of backward), may cause postural problems on the landing (shoulders down), and could slow her down. Although many girls switch feet at the end of their round-offs when they are doing round-off dismounts and still have great height. Although, they usually have a hurdle into their round-off and are flipping off the beam, and not on and into another acro skill, so preciseness isn't as crucial.
Scenario #3: Land aerial on bad foot; takes off for layout with bad foot in front; step down on bad foot first out of the layout step-out.

  • Provides less opportunities for complications—no switching feet out of the aerial or during the layout step-out, everything is moving the right direction, and just smoother looking.
  • Taking off and landing the layout step-out with her bad foot in front, which she is not comfortable with or used to.
I know most of the cons can be overcome with repetitions and determination, and that my gymnast's unique qualities (quickness, flexibility, fearfulness, etc.) will have a lot to do with which technique to use; however, I would love—and greatly appreciate—any opinions/past experiences/etc. that you all might have with this beam connection.
Avoid scenario 2. I would say your best bet out of the three ^ would be scenario 1. I have seen a few gymnasts train this series and that is one of the more common ways they executed it. Another possibility....bad leg aerial? She'll land with her good leg in front for the take-off the the layout. I guess it really depends on whichever skill she feels most confident with and is most consistent with...and is willing to experiment with. It is a tricky series.

Other about doing the back layout to two feet? Side Aerial (D) + layout to two feet (E). She'll still have to take off with her bad foot in front but it will avoid the messy switching of the feet during the split.

Or, if she's already competed FF+layout step-out, how about working on a front aerial and adding that to the beginning of the series that she's already competed? Front aerial (D) + bhs (B) + layout step-out (C)

Good luck!
I like the idea of the layout to two feet. She does that sometimes anyway when she's really crooked out of the back handspring. She competed a front aerial last year (level 9), but we are working towards adding a switch leap 1/2 out of it or a switch leap + Split jump 1/1 out of it, since she competed switch leap + split jump 3/4 last year anyway.

Thank you so much for your response!
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Would love to hear how it ends up going this summer!! Sounds like she's going to have a great routine :)
My daughter does this and when asked what she does she said she switches her feet mid aerial and does the BLO with her good side leading. It happens so fast that I never noticed how she switches her feet. Now that I am aware, I watched the other day, by golly she does switch feet mid aerial. Very interesting. I asked her if she could do the BLO with the other leg leading and she said that would seem way harder for her. Not sure which way is correct.
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