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Lack of squareness in split

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momof5

Member
Proud Parent
Oct 26, 2007
375
My daughter is fairly flexibly and can do both her right and left cheat split. I say cheat because she sits both of them down on the outside hip. So not technically a perfect split. Sometimes the coach corrects her but the next time she does her splits she keeps making the same mistake. I have tried explaining to her what she is doing wrong but she doesn't get it. She thinks its right and doesn't see that it is wrong. Any ideas how to get her to understand what she is doing wrong. She is only 6 and sometimes has a hard time visually seeing the diferences between things that are similier.
 

lannamavity

Member
Sep 13, 2007
409
way out West
My daughter is fairly flexibly and can do both her right and left cheat split. I say cheat because she sits both of them down on the outside hip. So not technically a perfect split. Sometimes the coach corrects her but the next time she does her splits she keeps making the same mistake. I have tried explaining to her what she is doing wrong but she doesn't get it. She thinks its right and doesn't see that it is wrong. Any ideas how to get her to understand what she is doing wrong. She is only 6 and sometimes has a hard time visually seeing the diferences between things that are similier.
That "cheat split" is still important. Few kids can get all the way down in a square split, so they rely on turning a hip out to complete extension in a leap/jump.

She should be doing other stretches (hip flexor/hamstring) to increase her "square split".

Maybe focusing more on her torso positioning could help. If she understands that her belly button needs to "look out over her front foot", it could help. Splits between panel mats could square her up as well.

It's going to take time. The bottom line is that a split is not always a fun activity for some athletes...it's like doing taxes or reading an instruction manual...boring.
 
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xleahcarx

Guest
My daughter is fairly flexibly and can do both her right and left cheat split. I say cheat because she sits both of them down on the outside hip. So not technically a perfect split. Sometimes the coach corrects her but the next time she does her splits she keeps making the same mistake. I have tried explaining to her what she is doing wrong but she doesn't get it. She thinks its right and doesn't see that it is wrong. Any ideas how to get her to understand what she is doing wrong. She is only 6 and sometimes has a hard time visually seeing the diferences between things that are similier.
I have my girls do there splits on a line and make sure everything stays on the line. Then when they are off the line they know what they should look like and think about there position.
 

tgc

New Member
Sep 9, 2007
42
Florida
When my dd was 5 and 6 she had the same problem with her hips not being square. Her coaches would always say her flexibility needed work and that her splits were not improving because she let her hips turn. The girls always do their splits on a line, but she just did not understand. Sometime after she turned 7 she finally caught on to what the coaches were telling her. She went from all the way down on her cheat split to holding herself up off the ground but with her hips square. I did not realize how far she was away from really having her splits. She is now 8 and very proud that she finally got both of her splits all the way down.
 

kristilyn73

Active Member
Jan 17, 2008
1,326
Minnesota
I have another good reason to keep splits square. When you put a split leap or Split jump up on the Balance Beam if you are not square you could either fall.. or not hit 180 in a jump....
 

tumbler807

New Member
Feb 17, 2008
8
North Carolina
i had that problem when i was younger. my coach always had us use our hands to pull ourselves straight... meaning... if youre in a right leg split, you would reach your right arm behind you and grab the far side your leg leg. reach your left arm in front of you and grab the far side of your right leg, trying, ultimately, to get your "bellybutton to face forwards"
 

pink ranger

New Member
Mar 31, 2008
25
new york city
That "cheat split" is still important. Few kids can get all the way down in a square split, so they rely on turning a hip out to complete extension in a leap/jump.

She should be doing other stretches (hip flexor/hamstring) to increase her "square split".

Maybe focusing more on her torso positioning could help. If she understands that her belly button needs to "look out over her front foot", it could help. Splits between panel mats could square her up as well.

It's going to take time. The bottom line is that a split is not always a fun activity for some athletes...it's like doing taxes or reading an instruction manual...boring.
Thanks for this information, I've been thinking about this as well.

For me, I try to make things that are boring by listening to music, usually mid tempo songs. That helps stretching from becoming dull:)
 

Valentin

Coach
Coach
Nov 12, 2007
376
USA
In our gym/program we start all kids from day 1 in competitive to aim to get to as square hip splits as possible. Sadly there is a degree of acceptance. We demand and expect more from the more natural flexible kids, and make amends and adjustment with those that aren't (everyone however gets down).
With our young ones we put them between boxes so that they can hold themselves up vertical a lot easier, and also as coaches we constantly correct all kids, explain to them, show them and everything else inbetween. So far i have never come across a kid who has not understood what is required of them, however willingness to achieve does greatly differ between kids.
At 6 i think its important to start them aiming for squareness as this is a prime age to develop flexibility at, and it does make squareness a much easier task at that age.

One thing that we have found is that practicing square splits tends to have a negative effect on leaps, because they try and hit same position in leaps, which becomes really hard.we accommodate this by working all dynamic work with a turned out back leg, which compensates for this.
All and all i am in total favor (personally) to work on squareness from the start, but do have realistic expectations given the kids natural ability.
 

lannamavity

Member
Sep 13, 2007
409
way out West
In our gym/program we start all kids from day 1 in competitive to aim to get to as square hip splits as possible. Sadly there is a degree of acceptance. We demand and expect more from the more natural flexible kids, and make amends and adjustment with those that aren't (everyone however gets down).
With our young ones we put them between boxes so that they can hold themselves up vertical a lot easier, and also as coaches we constantly correct all kids, explain to them, show them and everything else inbetween. So far i have never come across a kid who has not understood what is required of them, however willingness to achieve does greatly differ between kids.
At 6 i think its important to start them aiming for squareness as this is a prime age to develop flexibility at, and it does make squareness a much easier task at that age.

One thing that we have found is that practicing square splits tends to have a negative effect on leaps, because they try and hit same position in leaps, which becomes really hard.we accommodate this by working all dynamic work with a turned out back leg, which compensates for this.
All and all i am in total favor (personally) to work on squareness from the start, but do have realistic expectations given the kids natural ability.

I tend to agree about the leaps...it is a waste of time to over-emphasize "squareness" of a switch leap when, biomechanically, most athletes' back leg doesn't naturally swing that direction. The "turned out back leg" makes the leap look better, and can somewhat hide a lack of hip flexor/quad flexibility.

I don't think about the value of squared splits so much in leaps as in roundoffs and handsprings. A lot of kids are told to "turn later" in their roundoff (pass through vertical) or "reach forward" in their handspring...but the reason they turn (or stagger hand placement) has more to do with lack of square split during the kicking phase of the skill, which turns the hips sideways. This affects all tumbling.
 

gymgymgymnast08

Active Member
Proud Relative
Former Gymnast
Dec 8, 2007
1,233
Country
USA
I have another good reason to keep splits square. When you put a split leap or Split jump up on the Balance Beam if you are not square you could either fall.. or not hit 180 in a jump....

and straddle it beam. thats always fun
 

momof5

Member
Proud Parent
Oct 26, 2007
375
In our gym/program we start all kids from day 1 in competitive to aim to get to as square hip splits as possible. Sadly there is a degree of acceptance. We demand and expect more from the more natural flexible kids, and make amends and adjustment with those that aren't (everyone however gets down).
With our young ones we put them between boxes so that they can hold themselves up vertical a lot easier, and also as coaches we constantly correct all kids, explain to them, show them and everything else inbetween. So far i have never come across a kid who has not understood what is required of them, however willingness to achieve does greatly differ between kids.
At 6 i think its important to start them aiming for squareness as this is a prime age to develop flexibility at, and it does make squareness a much easier task at that age.

One thing that we have found is that practicing square splits tends to have a negative effect on leaps, because they try and hit same position in leaps, which becomes really hard.we accommodate this by working all dynamic work with a turned out back leg, which compensates for this.
All and all i am in total favor (personally) to work on squareness from the start, but do have realistic expectations given the kids natural ability.
Valentin, this is where the problem started I think. Our gym does a poor job of stressing proper form in many of the skills to the rec kids that they frequently have to relearn as they advance to the team program. If you are selected early to an invite team then proper form is stressed from day 1. In my daughters case she was never in a special class and know that she is trying to advance to team her form needs a lot of work.
 

Valentin

Coach
Coach
Nov 12, 2007
376
USA
momof5 i think i didnt explain clearly, out rec program is also very far from perfect, there is lots and lots of room for improvement (unfortunately i have no say in it, so can't do anything about it). We have the same problem with kids coming from rec to Competitive, in that we need to retrain then in whatever they have learned from their rec classes, because of the lack of form emphasis. I meant that with our competitive kids we go to work on the squareness from day 1, even if it means we have to pull them up a little higher.
 
S

sereena shorty

Guest
oohh, stop her when she does her split incorrectly. Believe me, the more she does that, the worse the habit will get. Make sure that she understands she should be facing forward and her knee should be facing up in her first split. Maybe you should take a picture how she's doing her split, and compare it to the correct. As a child, I did my splits incorrectly, and it's a lot hard to correct them. It'll be impossible to learn split leaps, and other flexiblity skills.
 

kgymn

Member
Gymnast
Aug 3, 2008
324
Virginia
Besides telling her to have her belly button look at her front foot, another thing that may help is just placing her squared. If she has a problem visualizing it, maybe she's just not a visual person. Gently placing her so she is squared off will let her feel the difference.

Another thing that I noticed is when your hips are squared, your back kneecap touches the floor when you are in a full split. This is a more consistent thing than the belly button facing forward- as it is possible to still be turning the back leg out with the belly button facing forward, but if your back knee cap is touching the floor it squares your hips automatically. So instead of telling her "square your hips" it may make more sense to her if you tell her "make your knee look at (or 'kiss the') floor"

~Katy
 

Flip5424

New Member
Oct 19, 2008
14
Wisconsin
i have my splits square so I never had that problem and some other people on my team don't have them square and so the coach comes ove rand puts them in the right passion:)
 
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