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For Coaches Help with a back layout

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Sep 27, 2007
My DD is working on a back layout for L7---she can't seem to figure out the body position. Her coach keeps telling her she is doing a whip instead of a layout. She has a beautiful flyaway off the the bars---is a layout the same position? Any advice would be appreciated...

Thank you!


Feb 22, 2007
A layout is a layout - whether it's a layout on floor, layout flyaway, a layout dismount off of the beam, or a layout flipping vault (tsuk, yurchenko, handspring, etc.).

Without seeing's my assumption...

If she's performing more of a whip on floor, my guess is two things...

1) There's some type of problem with her RO BHS that's causing her take-off position to be faulty such that her feet are not far enough behind her as she touches them down out of the back handspring. This will cause the layout to whip backwards. I won't go into the physics of it - just trust me on it. More than likely, she's piking down the back handspring, which creates segmentation and the only way that you can make the skill is to "whip" the upper body backwards as the body is essentially segmented into two parts instead of one.

Now, the piking down of the BHS could be caused by a laundry list of factors going all the back to the hurdle and round-off. There are so many things that could be going on here. But, my guess is that a lot of it has to do with the RO BHS as that's typically the issue. The tumbling leading into the skill is usually what is breaking down.

2) She may not understand how to rotate. As she rebounds the floor, she must focus on pressing/pushing the hips forward/upward as rotation is created through the hips. The layout position should be similar to a candlestick - maybe a little straighter - that really depends on the coach's preference. But, if the athlete is not utilizing those hips to create flip - how else are they going to flip? By whipping their upper body/head, etc. backwards.

I often hear coaches telling kids to "pull their toes." Jump up in the air and lift your toes up. Do you flip? No. The upper body comes forward/downward because there's an equal and opposite reaction because you've left the ground with no rotation. The only way you create rotation is to push those hips foward/upward for the fraction of a second that you're still in contact with the ground prior to take-off. Again, I'll spare you the physics/biomechanics of the whole thing. It'd be hard to explain without diagrams, anyway. But, just trust me.

So, those are my thoughts. Without seeing it, I can't give you anymore insight. The bottom line is that there's no one-word magic fix I'll almost guarantee. It's a process depending upon what the problem is. That's what so many coaches, athletes, and parents just don't get. It becomes even more difficult if the athlete has been doing the same thing for a long time. Just imagine how long that poor movement pattern has been drilled into the gymnast's brain. Trying to un-do that is not an easy task and sometimes nearly impossible depending upon the motivational level of the gymnast and their patience.

Anyway, I'll stop now - otherwise, I'll end up on my soapbox :)

Good Luck!
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