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Front Rolls

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MoonKid

Gymnast/Coach
Jun 26, 2007
95
Ontario, Canada
I know this is simple but I'm running out of ideas.

I have a gymnast in one of the recreational classes I coach who just cannot learn to do a forward roll. She is 6 years old and has been doing gymnastics since Sept. She does not seem to understand the concept of being tucked and rarely keeps her head in even though I repeatedly remind her to keep her chin in the "chin pocket" on her chest. Most of the time she basically does a headstand and falls on her back.

Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated.
 

Robindq

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Dec 16, 2007
418
27
Ontario, Canada
We get our kids who don't tuck in their head to put a sponge under their chin and have them hold it their throughout the roll without dropping it. Also as they get more advanced we get them to put a sponge between their knees so they keep their legs together, this may also help the tucking issue. Are you practicing them down a wedge?
Also for some of my kids I have found having them open there legs wider at the top of the wedge before they roll helps (like so they're in a star).
I don't know if i'm much help, but good luck!!
 

Valentin

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Nov 12, 2007
376
USA
Hi

Basicly what i tell rec kids is.
Stand up, bend your knees, put your hands on the ground, now tuck your head roll around.
That most likely will not fix your problem. Have a look if he/she is putting her/his hands to far infront. This usually results in them putting their heads down first. If she does tell her to put her/his hands almost if not on her feet (to start).
If she does this there is very little chance that she will stick her head out. Also tell her as he/she is putting her hands down to look inbetween her legs and if she can see the ceiling. This will guarantee that head in.

Things to watch out for is them doing it from like standing, in which case he/she will go down onto her/his head. So just once again if you use that Rhyme or something like it to remind them of the basic patterns of the skill, and then slide in the cue you want...like standup, bend your knees, put your hands down...remeber next to your fee...no tuck your head and roll around ..something like that..

Hope that helps... and with rec kids as you would know it really does come down to time...10 forward rolls once a week can make it hard to learn even the most basic or basic skills.
 
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hammy

Guest
I do pretty much the same thing as Valentin, except I tell my kids to duck their head, look for their belly button, and keep looking for their belly button while they roll. I also remind them that the back of their head (back by their ponytail) wants to touch the floor.
 

blantonnick

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Apr 17, 2007
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Have you tried explaining to the gymnast to roll on the back part of their head as opposed to the top of their head? You may find this will clue them into the process better then telling them to put their chin on the chest (which is the same thing)....6 yr old kids can perceive instructions very differently then 'older' people.
 

MoonKid

Gymnast/Coach
Jun 26, 2007
95
Ontario, Canada
Thanks for all the sugestions. I was sick this week so I couldn't try them out, but I'll deffinately try them this week.

Just to answer some of the questions:
Robindq, I have limited access to a wedge, but when she has done them there the rolls are mostly okay.
hammy, I have tried getting her to look at her belly button (that's what I tell all kids who are learning forward rolls) but that wasn't working very well so I switched to reminding her about her chin pocket, which worked a little bit better.

All of the other sugestions were new for me, and I will deffinately try them out.
 

lannamavity

Member
Sep 13, 2007
409
way out West
You may also want to remember that forward rotation is generated by pushing off of the floor with the feet and lifting the hips upward.

The kid can put his/her chin wherever they want, but they won't roll unless their center of gravity moves over their head.

Rolling off of or down an elevated surface is best...and there is really no point of having a kid try to do a roll on a level surface if they can't do it downhill.
 
K

KBT

Guest
Sometimes during warmups I would have my kids get in the tuck position that is used for a forward roll - head tucked in, arms around the knees and let them roll around on the floor in any direction they wanted. I can't quite remember why I was doing this, but the kids love it and it would maybe show her that to roll in any direction she needs to stay tucked in a ball. Kids lean pretty quickly that they stop rolling when they untuck.

What about a beanie baby under her chin to force her to keep her head tucked? Kids love beanie babies :)

Or try straddle forward rolls. For some reason they're much easier for most kids, but you still need a good head tuck to do them. I think it eliminates all the leg and back tucking so all the kid has to focus on is the head tuck. The beginning straddle stand position is much more natural for them.
 
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Geoffrey Taucer

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Jan 21, 2007
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I've recently started teaching candlesticks as a progression towards forward rolls with my beginners, and it seems to really help. Once they develop an understanding of the candlestick shape and how to stand up from it, a forward roll is simply a candlestick entered from the other direction.
 

gymdog

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Jul 5, 2007
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Or try straddle forward rolls. For some reason they're much easier for most kids, but you still need a good head tuck to do them. I think it eliminates all the leg and back tucking so all the kid has to focus on is the head tuck. The beginning straddle stand position is much more natural for them.
I agree with this, I also think it is much easier from that position for you to facilitate the head tuck, and for them to feel it, because you can have them think about putting their head towards/through their legs. I am trying to teach forward roll on beam to some kids who have a problem with putting the top part of their head down, and I've found if I have them squat, bring their bottoms up to the pike, and then stop them there for a second, it is easier to facilitate. I then put one hand (I reach over across my chest with my right if I'm on their right side) through the opening between their stomach and legs and one hand on the back of the neck and basically pull them through a tuck. I was actually thinking of putting up some mats next to the beam so they could straddle stand into it but it seemed a little difficult alignment wise, and this worked well enough I didn't have to (previously I had one hand on the outside of the legs and one on the neck, but this didn't work as well for pulling them through a "ball" position). They had fine forward rolls on floor but were having problems with the positioning on beam.

Edited: also, with the straddle, you could try on a mat having them reach their hands back through their legs to grab yours (directly behind them) and then sort of pull back as they push off their feet and roll through (tell them to look at you) to help get them to more of the candlestick position. They will probably have to bend their legs unless they are flexible but that shouldn't be a problem at this stage. It would probably end up pretty exaggerated but maybe it will help when they move to doing it themselves to think about tucking their head more.
 
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