Tkatchev: Men's vs. Women's technique

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Geoffrey Taucer

Staff member
Gold Membership
Jan 21, 2007
Baltimore, MD
I have been studying Tkatchev techniques lately, and I want to run some thoughts by the other coaches out there. I have not taught or done this skill myself (other than bounce bar drills).

Feel free to provide feedback on any or all of this.

The men's Tkatchev technique has an exaggerated hollow (or slight pike) from handstand to around horizontal (sometimes this is done from a straight handstand, sometimes from a chinese tap). At this point, the gymnast snaps aggressively to an arch, leading with the chest towards the bottom. Around vertical, the gymnast again snaps briefly to a hollow, before finally snapping open to an arch and releasing to perform the Tkatchev.
From what I can tell, this technique creates strong counterrotation, and is dependent more on timing than anything else -- the flexibility requirements don't appear to be that high.

The women's Tkatchev technique comes from what looks like a traditional giant until slightly above horizontal on the ascent phase, at which point the gymnast snaps aggressively to an arch to release for the Tkatchev. This technique seems to depend on strong and flexible back, shoulders, and hips.

The men's technique seems to depend primarily on timing, and seems to provide for superior counterrotation and horizontal displacement (though obviously horizontal travel should not necessarily be maxed out, but kept within a specific range). The women's technique seems to depend primarily on flexibility and may allow for superior height.

For a taller female gymnasts performing the Tkatchev facing away from the low bar, the men's technique is neither possible (as the descent would require the gymnast's feet to go through the low bar) nor desirable (as too much counterrotation and horizontal travel would, again, cause the gymnast to kick the low bar after catching the release).

However, it seems to me (and the main reason I'm writing this is to get feedback on this idea) that in dealing with a shorter female gymnast or one who does her Tkatchev facing the low bar, the men's technique may be a viable and perhaps preferable option, as it would make the skill accessible to kids who do not have the flexibility for the traditional women's technique, and the increased horizontal displacement and counterrotation would allow for a much more powerful swing following the Tkatchev (allowing the gymnast to potentially connect another release, or to swing straight into a giant without a kip in between).

Thoughts? Again, I'd welcome any input on any of what I've written here.
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A lot of girls can also kick the bar in the front after a certain height, especially when they're closer like FIG. Also, it's more likely to kip out of the skill or do a release (transition) out, rather than a giant. I've never done releases on men's high bar before, so I can't say for sure, but I think the radius of our bar would have an effect on the difference, making it easier to cut the swing and kip out rather than do a big swing out. Also men's high bar bends more through the bottom of the swing it seems (again I can only say this from observation though) which loads the bar for more potential to do more of the upwards drive and get a lot of height. But I'm not sure how much of an effect this would have.

However while I've seen some of the release drills common from men's high bar coming over to the women's side (example: high layout flyaway to stand on the bar) these drills may still be underused. Also many on the men's side developing these skills may also be training towards kovacs so really emphasizing a strong drive rather than just getting over with just enough to complete the skill? Recently I've been seeing a lot of women's coaches do the layout flyaway to stand on the bar as a geinger drill, but I suppose it could have an application to a tkatchev. But from what I've seen it's more common to do drills like bounce on tramp bar to high bridge, swing through on a channel bar to high bridge trying to get the shoulders open, and then spot from there on the release (I've seen coaches literally lift girls through it from behind - but obviously they're just clearing the bar).
A lot of the differences is due to the difference of the tap swing besides the fact that men are typically stronger but less flexible.

If the female straddles her tap swing so she doesn't have to pike, it removes that issue but again the bar, flexibility, and strength/power are typically different.
I have to large degree the difference in technique are due to the the way the bar bends, which allows for a lot more of everything.
The technique you described (Geoffrey Taucer) about for the MAG is to facilitate
a- the tap (which is much earlier than for a regular giant, (it should ideally happen just before the gymnast passes the bar) This again helps bend the bar.. Its hard to describe but from the basically from the back till the point of release the bar bend pathway is like (not exacrtly) a C on its back. Like you said this really helps with the counter turn and getting height. Hence why male gymnast are able to do Layout tkatchevs... and even Liukins, and i am sure that in a few years we will see the Raggio.
THe MAG technique does indeed require less shoulder flexibility, but this flexibility will determine to a large degree if they gymnast will have an amazing tkatchev layout, or not... However i would agree that less shoulder flexibily is required for the MAG...but it should not be underestimated. The more flexible (and strong) the greater the potential for height.

The tkatchev drill of choice for the MAG gymnast is actually a tkatchev timer release to land ontop of the bar.. Its not the geinger drill...that drill like mentioned is good for Kovacs and Geingers (Gaylord II i suppose also) but doesn't have much if any beneficial training aid to tkatchevs.

In response to the main idea...about the shorter female gymnast. I think that it would be very dependent on the gymnast. One would have to assume that because of her height and essentially lack of weight, she would not be able to deform the bar very much...not to mention that the WAG UB bars are harder and stiffer to deform in the first place compared to MAG (i think)... I think to use the MAG technique on the UB to learn a tkatchev for a small gymnast might not be as effective..and the shoulder flexibility would need to be really good to at least make up some of the lack of deformation on the bar, to allow her to apply more force for longer...

In short... i think there maybe little to no benefit in using the MAG techinique for a short female gymnast.
Not sure if this adds anything new to the table, but basiclly i think such a technique would be more individually suitable for female gymnasts rather than a solution to improving technique in general.
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