For Coaches Teaching Basic Back Twisting

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Coach.Simon

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Oct 5, 2010
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Hello, once again!

I'm in need of assistance...a little background...
I've recently taken over the bulk of the intro to intermediate rec tumbling classes at my gym (I mainly teach Artistic 4-6 though)
Some of the girls in my classes are progressing quickly, and I believe they are ready for twisting!
I can teach up to a half, however all of the girls are landing their halves on floor perfectly (out of ro-bhs) and I am unsure of the best way to go about teaching them fulls.

This might be lengthy, sorry in advanced, but I want the best possible advice...

First. I hear alot of this "Layout and immediately afterwards do a half/full turn". I used the search function and read up on this drill, however never got any "reason" why, other than teaching them to turn late. I know that for halves, you are supposed to teach your kids to pull and initiate the twist very very late, as late as possible, as halves don't require much force.

Is that the only reason for doing layout rebound half turn?

Next question. To teach my kids twisting, I have them do the drill where they do a set/stretch jump, and after leaving the trampoline bed pulling to one side, looking and dropping one shoulder down (not back) to start a full turn from mid-air. I was taught this drill from another coach at the gym, but was wondering what drills you guys use?

Next. On the set, setting with the arm of the same side your turning to, setting with that arm out at a fourty five degree angle instead of by your ears. Is this advised? Is it helpful? I read about this when I used the search function, however no one confirmed or denied if this was good. Apparently it initiates the twist sooner without sacrificing the set, which I can see...just wanted your thoughts.

And lastly, the pull. I teach both arms set then both hands come to the shoulder your twisting to...however I recently have gotten an influx of cheerleaders who all have ro-bhs-back layout. While talking to the flyers of the group, they all told me they pull with straight arms down to their hip, which I understand is how flyers twist when stunting.

Is that a viable way of teaching twisting? I have never seen a gymnast twist by pulling their arms straight down to one hip, like cheerleaders do. What should I do? The girls were able to do the set-and-full-turn-while-in-mid-air-not-twisting-from-the-ground drill when they did their pull to their hips, however I dont want anything unexpected happening.....

Sorry for this giant block of text.

TL;DR/Summary
-How do you guys go about teaching twisting to kids who have perfect/close to perfect layouts that set up, have no funny shapes, dont have a pike down, and don't travel backwards at all?
-What drills do you use? What do you tell your students? Any "magic words"?

Thank you in advanced :D
 

tumble-ready

New Member
May 20, 2011
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California
Twisting is actually the easiest part of a full. The part most athletes find difficult is keeping the body straight while doing the twist. I am a firm believer in teaching a late twist. It is much easier to bring the twist a little sooner as needed, than to ask an athlete who has been taught to twist early to wait longer before twisting. So far you are on the right track with the late twist. The athletes that have a half twist already can progress to the full by thinking this way: "Start the half, then pull the full". They don't do the half and try to pull faster, or sooner, or try to get further each time until they get all the way around. What it means is they "start" the half. As soon as the athlete begins to roll the half they should pull the full. Always emphasize the importance of keeping their mindset on the fact that this is still a layout. They should not be focused so much on the full (because that is the easy part), but the layout.
Next is the pull. Many different techniques out there that work. I don't recommend setting with one arm out at a 45 degree angle. This could create some problems. What I recommend is setting with both arms up by the ears and then opening both arms to a high "V" (cheerleaders will know that term) or 45 degrees and pulling the arms to the center of the chest or to the same side as the twist. The pulling of the arms is important also. It is not just dropping them freely, but with tension in the body as if someone was holding them and resisting. This is the same as the layout pull. Twisting with the arms by their side is more of a trampoline style full used for various reasons for trampoline and I would not recommend it for floor tumbling.
My last recommendation is using basic bed tricks with twisting on trampoline. The best drill I know (for half and full) is the athlete bounces to a back drop, and pulls over (flipping backward) to a stomach drop. Begin with that until the athlete can use the pull of the arms and lands consistently flat on stomach safely. Next add a half twist after the pull over and after they land on their stomach. Next add the half twist just before they would land on their stomach so they land on their back. Next pull over, half twist to back, then bounce and roll over to stomach to finish the full. Next pull over, "start" the half twist to back but continue to stomach to make the full. You can use a soft light weight mat (like a sting mat) that you can slide under the athlete as they bounce off their back and begin the pull over (helps with those short landings and helps eliminate some of the fear). Try to have the athlete doing the drill for the half to spot the tramp after the pull over before the twist and look toward their hips as they twist still looking at the tramp. This will teach them to keep the head in during twisting which helps maintain the straight body. If they look over their shoulder, they will tend to arch during the twist which makes the twisting a little harder and will probably result in piking down for the landing. For those athletes still working on their back layout, I recommend teaching front tucks with twisting. Very easy and fun. Let me know if you would like my technique for that. I would love to share that with you now, but this reply is getting lengthy.
 
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CoachGoofy

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I'll get back with some twisting drills in a bit, but:

a) it's absolutely possible to twist-and twist well-with your hands at your hip. That's how T&Ters do it.

b) I teach the late twist because I do not want them twisting right off the ground.

c) I have kids twist with symmetrical wide arms, not uneven ones, and then only if they're not going to sacrifice earlier skills to do it (so mostly more advanced kids who can twist out of whipbacks, then getting their arms slightly wide is eaaasy).
 
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Coach.Simon

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Oct 5, 2010
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@tumble-ready

Some people might be daunted by walls of texts/lengthy responses but I'm not one of them; your post can NEVER be too long to me - it will ALL always be read and mental notes will be taken :p I need all the help I can get...lol

@CoachGoofy
Ok glad to hear you both advocate the late twist, I agree with the "Its easier to tell a kid to pull sooner than later", I heard that alot at congress the last few years haha. Alot of my twisting "drills" and knowledge comes from congress, however they were talking about drills meant for high optionals... I extracted what I could from their drills though.

Also when you say symmetrical/wide, do you mean like iron cross wide? Also, considering what tumble ready said, do you have them set out/wide and THEN pull to the hip on floor? I haven't had my kids start whips yet, but I can possibly see it in the near future. I might need to make a new thread about whips.

And front tumbling.

Ugh.
 
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CoachGoofy

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Iron cross wide? Heavens no. A kid tried that bc her body got all confused and it was...not pretty. I'm talking high-V wide. Set to high V then pull and look. It's WAY easier to get all the important bits in out of a whip, but USAG T&T also expects them to have whips before fulls so that makes teaching that a bit easier.
 
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tumblerK

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Feb 8, 2008
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LO
From what I have learned the layout-jump half turn drill has a couple of purposes. One is to encourage a late twist, but the other is to get the gymnast oriented. By doing the jump half turn after the layout they get used to seeing the other side of the room when they land and then when they actually try to twist they don't get lost in the air.

I have seen the same trick for getting halfs to fulls. Do the 1/2, land, and jump half turn to finish the full. This gets them oriented and will start pulling more than a half soon.

I have also seen the arms up by the shoulders and down by hips for twisting. Pulling to your shoulders just makes it easier to control the rotation of the layout.
 
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dunno

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Determining Direction of Twist/ 1st Things First
In order for tumblers and trampolinists to be competitive at the advanced and elite level, it is necessary for them to learn multiple somersaults with multiple twists. This task becomes much more difficult, if not impossible, when they perform their front and back somersault twists in opposite directions. Therefore, it is critical for coaches to make sure that their athletes are twisting in the same direction [vestibular]. One of the apparent causes of this problem is confusion over the twisting direction of a cartwheel and the practice of teaching a barani from an aerial cartwheel.

To avoid this, athletes and coaches must realize that a cartwheel initiated with the RIGHT foot forward and the RIGHT hand down first is actually considered a LEFT twisting skill. Secondly, the barani should be taught as a front somersault with a late twist. Baranis that are taught from an aerial cartwheel tend to twist too early [surface twist] and usually have a distinct, awkward appearance. Another common problem is that, even though coaches begin to teach their athletes to twist in the proper direction early in the learning process, athletes will sometimes switch the direction of one of their twists without being aware of it.

Therefore, it is necessary for coaches to periodically check the direction of BOTH front and back twists. It can save a lot of time and trouble in the future.To check twisting direction, stand to the side of athlete. Have them perform a barani and then an immediate back half or full. If they are twisting all in one direction, you will see their stomach on the barani and then see their back on the first half twist of the back somersault. Or you will see their back and then their stomach if they are twisting in the other direction. If they turn their BACK toward you at the beginning of BOTH TWISTS, or if they turn their STOMACH toward you at the beginning of BOTH TWISTS, they are twisting in opposite directions and you have a problem.

If you discover that you have an athlete who is twisting in opposite directions, you must decide to change either their back twisting or their front twisting direction. Although deciding which to change is rather arbitrary, usually it is easier to go back and re-learn the barani rather than the back full. Seeing this is not always easy and a lot of coaches have trouble seeing direction until they have had some practice. If you are not sure, have another coach help you determine the direction of twist. A spoon is the easiest tool to use to help the coach visualize what needs to take place.:)
 

gymdog

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Jul 5, 2007
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Ha, oh twisting.

Well I mean I always see all this stuff where it's like have them do this and this and this on the set...they are probably not going to do this if they're doing cheerleading hours and tumbling. Let's be realistic. If they're even doing a set, then you're probably halfway there. Most likely they are going to do a full (you can't even double full in NCAA cheerleading anyway because it's on hard mat). We don't need to worry about the most efficient technique for a triple full here (in which case most would probably suggest not setting with the arms by the ears, and not keeping the arms straight). Trampoline, on the other hand, I suppose you do. For artistic gymnastics it will depend on the kid...to even get to the level where they do a full on floor, bars is going to be the hard part ;)

As far as pulling an arm to your hip, I would do this for a full twist, but not a double full. There is really no reason in a full twist to be pulling that hard and I think it can cause difficulty. In my opinion they should learn an easy full to their feet and at that point if they have potential to double, they should be able to adjust their arm placement. I see all these kids trying to learn fulls with these wacky arm placements and they are just all over the place, can't keep their body position, figure out where to flip, or how to land. It's a balancing act. To some extent you want to create habits that will help long term...and to some extent, advanced techniques are for advanced athletes. If you're trying to tell a cheerleader learning a full to mimic the set and twist initiation techniques of an elite gymnast doing a triple full, I don't think you're going to be successful. The disturbing way most cheerleading coaches try to teach fulls is probably closer to that elite technique than the technique favored in artistic gymnastics (which is to introduce LATE twisting, and then advance from there as awareness and confidence increases) and the results are often absurd. Advanced techniques require

Basically, I agree with the introductions to twisting suggested by the article above, written by gymnastics rock stars ;) I don't think they need to do anything crazy to start...making sure they have a strong layout, and then start with half twist pulling one arm down to shorten one side of the body. Another thing I'd suggest though is to make sure they can do a decent layout WITHOUT pulling their arms (esp for cheerleaders). They should work on this for awhile then. Otherwise they may not really be strong enough yet to twist safely (see the explanation about twisting and flipping skills needing more energy in the article).

Edit: and I mean no disrespect to cheerleaders (I also work with cheerleaders). Being able to do a full is awesome in any case and something most people who start any tumbling or gymnastics won't ever learn to do.
 
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