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Level 5 bars advice

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Gymmonkeymomma

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Mar 7, 2008
1,989
Region 7
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My daughter is 7 yrs old, 46.5 inches tall and having ALOT of trouble with her squat-on to the high bar. Her kips look good, and once she gets to the high bar, she is fine. The problem is getting there. More often than not, she falls off and the coach just picks her up. It's very frustrating for her as a gymnast, and agonizing for me to watch as a parent. I watched the video from the last meet, and it looked like she just jumped right down, knowing that she wasn't going to make it anyway.

Is there anything she can do as far "learning to jump"? Her sister never had this problem because she's always been tall for her age!
 
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hammy

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Is her main problem with actually jumping from low bar to high bar and catching it? Or is more of actually doing the tuck (squat) on?
 

Gymmonkeymomma

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Mar 7, 2008
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Region 7
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She gets the squat on most of the time. The main problem is being able to catch the high bar. In addition to being the smallest girl on the team, she also has very small hands!
 
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hammy

Guest
Perhaps it's simply a matter of the bars being too far apart for her jumping skills. I understand her troubles--I was the smallest girl on my team when I did level 5, and my coach would usually move the bars in a little closer. Typically we would have the bars set to the height of one of the girls who was average or in the middle on the team; resulting in me having to jump a little harder than the others, but it was within my reach.

I'm assuming the coach has helped her understand that she might need to jump harder than she is--in other words, to do a really big jump to high bar. Perhaps she could practice basic jumping skills on the floor--pushing all the way through her feet when she jumps and the angle of her body when she jumps. Without actually seeing her do the skill, it's hard to say if she's jumping too high and not forward enough, or if she's jumping too far forward and not high enough. It could be also be as simple as doing some drills by having her practice jumping from a mat that is on top of the low bar to the high bar; or practicing jumping to the high bar and trying to just touch it.
 
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lilDev85

Guest
I also had problems catching the high bar when I was in level 5 until my coach moved the bars in a little bit. I would ask her coach to move the bars in for her, it only takes a couple mins and it is well worth it!
 

Gymmonkeymomma

Active Member
Proud Parent
Mar 7, 2008
1,989
Region 7
Country
USA
when I did level 5, and my coach would usually move the bars in a little closer. Typically we would have the bars set to the height of one of the girls who was average or in the middle on the team; resulting in me having to jump a little harder than the others, but it was within my reach.
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This is exactly what is going on! They set the bars for an average girl and she has to work twice as hard! At the next Sectional, it will be my DD and 2 girls who are 12 yrs old and just under 5 feet tall. There is no way my DD can catch the bar at "their" setting! If I say something to the coach, I will get one of those "stop coaching you're a parent" looks.....
 
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hammy

Guest
Hmmm. As a coach, I would think that the coach would see the difficulty that she's having in making this jump, but perhaps they truly believe that she's capable of jumping that distance. Perhaps it would be possible for the coach to find a smaller setting that all of the girls could use; or they could divide the group into two bar settings--one for the shorter ones and one for the taller ones.

As far as talking to the coach, I would suggest the following because obviously your daugther is frustrated as well. I would suggest saying something like the following to the coach: "I've noticed that my daughter has been extremely frustrated with bars lately, and it seems that she's been having problems catching the high bar. Is this because her legs aren't strong enough, or she doesn't know how to jump correctly, or what? Is there anything that we can do at home to help her with this? I hate to see her frustrated, especially on something as easy as jumping to and catching the high bar."

This type of questioning allows the coach to feel as though they are complete control of the situation the whole time--you're not judging their coaching skills, you're just stating that your daughter's frustrated, and you're wondering if there is anything that you (as the parent) can do to help your daughter.
 
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gymnasticsbabie

Guest
sounds like you have a lazy coach like mine. he wouldn't let me swing at FIG setting with another girl (she is 4'7!!!!) because he didn't feel like setting the bars at meets. ugh it was annoying, so he made me and the girl move to all the way out. and if you don't know the difference between FIG and all the way out, let me just tell you its a BIG DIFFERENCE.

so i feel your pain, but i'm sure the bars settings can't be that far for your DD if the girls are under 5 feet. unless they are far for those girls. she will have to work twice as hard yes, but the only thing she has to do is jump to the bar.

if it becomes a HUGE problem, like she never does it ever ever ever, then set up a meeting with the coach, grab him/her after practice.
 

Ingymmom

Active Member
Jul 12, 2007
981
"This is exactly what is going on! They set the bars for an average girl and she has to work twice as hard! At the next Sectional, it will be my DD and 2 girls who are 12 yrs old and just under 5 feet tall. There is no way my DD can catch the bar at "their" setting! If I say something to the coach, I will get one of those "stop coaching you're a parent" looks..... "

Gymmonkeymomma,

I am sure it is difficult for you to watch you little one going through this - it is never easy to sit back and watch - especially when you think you may know what the prob is... I am curious to know do you have any other problems w/the coaching in your gym? You must trust them for you to allow your dd to train right - now there are truly some coaches that just use the trial and error method, I have witnessed some pretty bad coaching both on the rec and the comp side of gym, but hopefully the majority of we parents trust our coaches with our sweeties:D & see that they usually provide the best outcome.

Now that said, could it be that your dd is still just a little intimidated by this jump? She is still teeny and may just need a little more time to feel 100% comfortable... however maybe the coaches feel she is quite capable of making the jump and want her to challenge herself - I have no idea if this is the case however it all goes back to trusting your dd's coaches... Your dd is still a young L5 and sounds like she is doing fantastic! She will get to that comfort level - it does come lol. My dd is also, ummm, a height challenged L5 LOL, and she was the LAST in her class to "catch" the high bar- which she has only been doing for the last couple of weeks (she could make the jump, but refused to do more than tap the high bar FOREVER LOL, slight exaggeration) after having her squat on for about a YEAR! lol. She is not quite 43" tall, and her coach has the bar setting on either a 4 or a 6 - I really have no idea which but my dd said it was one of those lol. When bar coach had her practicing initially he would set it to 0, 1 & 2 - and she was actually more terrified she would over jump with the lower setting.... she is not 100% in her comfort zone as of yet, but I trust her coach to get her there. He is the greatest bar coach out there IMO :p My dd is also the smallest on her team, but the next smallest is a 9 yr old (about the size of your dd) and our tallest L5 (she has to be almost 5 ft) all use the exact same bar setting, but our coach must know what he is doing because our team always medals on bars w/great scores:D... these little ones can be amazing - I think its fantastic your dd can "hang" with the big girls;)... best of luck to you guys
 

gymgirl1999

New Member
Feb 29, 2008
44
A girl from my gym had same problem. She was afraid so she always missed it. They stacked mats under the bars for her , so didnt look so far down too fall and had her do a bunch of them and lost the fear.
 

lannamavity

Member
Sep 13, 2007
409
way out West
A girl from my gym had same problem. She was afraid so she always missed it. They stacked mats under the bars for her , so didnt look so far down too fall and had her do a bunch of them and lost the fear.

This poster knows what works...;)

The problem has NOTHING to do with the distance of the bars at all. I'll bet anything that if the low bar was set at the exact height and distance from the floor that the high bar is from the low bar, this kid could jump that far with no problem. In fact, if even the shortest kid does a squat on and stands up on the low bar, she is looking DOWN at the high bar.

Nine times out of ten, the gymnasts is scared of the height of the LOW BAR when standing up on it. She probably shrinks down on the low bar following the squat on, and prefers to fall off without even trying to stand up, rather than risk standing up and jumping to the high bar.

It's not rational fear. It's a natural fear of heights, not distance.

The only way to train through the fear is to raise the surface BELOW the bars, not pull the bars in. Even the tiniest gymnasts should be able to jump at the FIG setting. The average gymnast can reach out and touch the high bar without jumping at that setting.

So many coaches pull the bars in and the kids spend the next 4 years jumping to the high bar and almost banging their heads on it (with bent arms, of course) because they are only comfortable catching with the bars so close.

Moving the bars around also creates a crazy "gotta know the bar setting" obsession which can follow a gymnast though their career.

The only reason why a gymnast can't jump to the high bar is because they aren't ready or willing to do it.
 

Gymmonkeymomma

Active Member
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Mar 7, 2008
1,989
Region 7
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Thanks for the input. You've given me alot to think about, and the mats is something that another parent of a small gymnast has suggested (that girl has been State champ several times). I am going to talk to my DD and try to get HER to say something to the coach. Her other issue is she needs a block to mount the beam and at the last Sectional, she actually had to struggle to get on because they did not give her a block or springboard!!! They had 2 mats that were not pushed together and there was a space under the beam, almost directly in the spot where she mounts. It was painful to watch.

On a separate note (a bit of bragging here, hope you don't mind), she had her first USAIGC meet of the season yesterday (we do both USAIGC and USAG) -and did great. Her bars routine is very simple, low bar only, with a tuck flyaway. She was the only one to do that dismount except for 2 of the big (tall) girls who went to high bar. She tied for 3rd on bars, got 2nd on V, 1st for BB, FX and AA!!!
 
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davfit

Guest
My daughter is 7 yrs old, 46.5 inches tall and having ALOT of trouble with her squat-on to the high bar. Her kips look good, and once she gets to the high bar, she is fine. The problem is getting there. More often than not, she falls off and the coach just picks her up. It's very frustrating for her as a gymnast, and agonizing for me to watch as a parent. I watched the video from the last meet, and it looked like she just jumped right down, knowing that she wasn't going to make it anyway.

Is there anything she can do as far "learning to jump"? Her sister never had this problem because she's always been tall for her age!
it seems to me (from what you stated) that the skill was set up in a do or die situation and unfortunately.....! Now , there are several ways to avoid this! The bars can be set closer to start with, or the skill could be done with a single bar and a mat in front of it. The coach should also make sure that the gymnast can actually stand on the bar and is fully upright(and under control in that position) before jumping. the squat on must be well controlled and consistent and fluid to the the stand..etc! there are many factors possible. In our sport especially ," a picture is worth a thousand words" and a video would allow greater input. well good luck to you!
 
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hammy

Guest
Wow, I can't believe I didn't even think of the stacking the mats..duh Hammy. Generally, when I teach jumping to the high bar I stack the mats up for the girls for safety and for confidence reasons. I hope she's getting closer!
 

Ingymmom

Active Member
Jul 12, 2007
981
A girl from my gym had same problem. She was afraid so she always missed it. They stacked mats under the bars for her , so didnt look so far down too fall and had her do a bunch of them and lost the fear.
This is exactly how our coach originally taught the jump, but eventually the mats go away and while some gymnasts had no problem with the transition, and latched right on to the high bar;) some of them preferred the mats and had a more difficult time making the transition.
 

Gymmonkeymomma

Active Member
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Mar 7, 2008
1,989
Region 7
Country
USA
OK, so here's an update. I emailed her coach last nite and brought up the frustration, the confidence (lack of), suggested the stacked mats (like they did for her last yr when she first started) and did not even mention moving the bars closer. So the reply was that DD "does very well on bars except the jump" HELLO that is a necessary skill for this and all successive levels????!!!?!?!? She said that DD is "very negative" about the jump and will make a deal with her to move the bars closer IF she shows more confidence. Of course she is negative if she knows she is going to fall everytime! I'll have a talk with her before practice today and may have to offer some kind of bribery!!!
 
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davfit

Guest
level 5 bars

As an added note to your daughters bar situation:
A coach can have a pit mat (large thick mats usually over 24" tall) set under the bars. this creates a lower looking bar setup and often the gymnasts are not concerned with the height!:confused: . I cannot believe that there are coaches that are so lazy as to refuse making bar adjustments. Granted , we wish that there was one standard for all gymnasts on the team but that isn't so!:D good luck;)
 

lannamavity

Member
Sep 13, 2007
409
way out West
I'm a little concerned about the assumption that a coach is "lazy" when he/she doesn't adjust the bars for each kid.

The truth is that it is in the TEAM's interest to have as few bar settings as possible so that the kids can get more time to warm up on bars at a meet.

Most (high level) gyms have two bar settings and stick to them (one is usually FIG). The kids need to fall into one of the two settings...and that's that.

Many hard working coaches use this strategy, and it's not to avoid moving the bars.
 
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