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Beam-Does it matter what leg you do the heel stretch on?

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MdGymMom01

Active Member
Mar 5, 2008
2,236
North America
I have a question...when doing skills on beam, particularly the balancing elements such as heel stretches, does it matter what leg you stand on? For instance, since my dd is a left handed tumbler she does her beam dismount differently than righties. So does this logic hold true for things like scales, arabesques, heel stretches (like Grace Taylor's beam routine heel stretch from Gym Dogs) and the skill Shayla Worley used to do on beam where she pulls her leg behind her? I was curious as to if there was a certain leg that you had to stand on while doing these balancing skills or if you could use whatever leg you are more flexible with.

I know...kind of a weird question, but I just thought I would ask!!!
 

Kayleigh

Member
Oct 6, 2007
261
27
Pittsburgh, PA
I don't think it matters... ?

I know that when I do stretches to the front or side, I lift my good leg. If it's something like a scale or otherwise behind me, I use my right leg. I think that's pretty standard, but correct me if I'm wrong. :)
 

gymdog

Well-Known Member
Coach
Former Gymnast
Proud Relative
Jul 5, 2007
5,121
I'm not sure what you mean by heel stretch...like a cheer heel stretch on beam? In an optional routine you can do whatever you want. In a compulsory routine you can't really insert extra steps (not without deduction anyway) so for example the arabesque has to be done on the foot you are on in the context of the routine at that part. Kind of gets complicated with the girls who want to do everything on a different foot! I had someone come in from a rec program, great gymnast will be competing 4, but she was leaping right and doing HS left...taught the whole routine the the pose after the leap and she didn't want to do HS right...had to go back and teach the whole routine left.
 

MdGymMom01

Active Member
Mar 5, 2008
2,236
North America
I'm not sure what you mean by heel stretch...like a cheer heel stretch on beam? In an optional routine you can do whatever you want. In a compulsory routine you can't really insert extra steps (not without deduction anyway) so for example the arabesque has to be done on the foot you are on in the context of the routine at that part. Kind of gets complicated with the girls who want to do everything on a different foot! I had someone come in from a rec program, great gymnast will be competing 4, but she was leaping right and doing HS left...taught the whole routine the the pose after the leap and she didn't want to do HS right...had to go back and teach the whole routine left.

Yes--kind of like a cheer heel stretch...I am only asking because my dd is very flexible and when she does get to optionals and she has the choice to add in different skills, I just want to know now and have her practice skills properly so that she doesn't have to "re-learn skills" later. Maybe I am just jumping the gun here.

When she was a base for cheer she practiced a lot at home for fun pulling bow and arrows and heel stretches, but she would pull her right leg. When she was actually a flyer she did have to re-learn how to pull everything because the flyers at her old gym flew on the opposite leg. I just don't want that to happen again that is why I am asking these questions now.
 

gymdog

Well-Known Member
Coach
Former Gymnast
Proud Relative
Jul 5, 2007
5,121
Well in cheer pretty much everyone (that I've ever seen, I mean I guess you could put everyone left) flies with the right leg as the base leg and pulls the left leg (i.e. we start teaching right leg as the base as soon as they put up a lib). In cheer everyone usually wants to go the same direction although of course there are opportunities in the choreography to move several groups together, then someone might go on the other foot, depends on the choreo and stunt sequence I guess.

In optional gymnastics, it's just one person, you can pretty much use whatever legs you want, whatever is comfortable. In the beginning levels I generally try to discern which is their dominant side and hold them to it, simply because it makes learning the USAG compulsory routines easier and eliminates confusion in series of skills, etc. Then again I know girls who as optionals do BHS with this leg, switch leap with this leg, RO with this leg. The optional judges aren't looking for which foot is being used. In the compulsory routine it will be obvious because performing it on the incorrect side is going to require inserting or omitting something to get on the other side. I'm sure in optionals the coaches will work with her to come up with a routine where each skill is performed optimally. Some might prefer to balance on the dominant leg while some may find it easier to pull the more flexible leg. For back kicks, the dominant leg is almost exclusively used as a base in my experience...the left side of my back is much more flexible and so is my left quad, and the pike/hamstring flexibility is better in my right. I can only do a scorpion pulling my left leg. My right side isn't anywhere near flexible enough for that :eek:
 

gymmom14

Member
Proud Parent
May 21, 2008
427
Interesting questions. What level is your dd? My dd is competing l6 this year and she is making big plans for her level 7 routines. She is always asking me how does this look, should I put it in my routine... etc.
 
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