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Looking for good round-off drills

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Linsul

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Sep 19, 2008
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Title says it all. I've had the (mis?)fortune of coaching rec classes where the kids already knew them or weren't ready to learn them yet. Team I did vault/bars/dance. I'm not totally helpless here but I'm afraid what I know may be hopelessly outdated. Any drills people have would be very welcome! It's a pretty pivotal skill, I want to coach it right!
 

gymdog

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Jul 5, 2007
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Ah, yes. I coach cheerleading.

Two phases (from feet to hands and hands to feet) are my focus.

1st phase. The reach, 1/4 turn side, and back kick. Things to watch for:
-good reach: but that's pretty self explanatory. I would also make sure they have the feet far enough apart and the front leg is bent enough, so they're not just levering in close.
-back kick without turning out early. The back kick should be strong during the forward reach. I'm not sure if that makes sense, but I'm sure you've seen it where kids turn out from the hips early and are kicking more side. Even when that's not incredibly pronounced, it can hinder the skill (also probably isn't great for the hip joint). Make sure the 1/4 side is late.
-back kick is STRONG
-through support phase, there is a good stretch. Hands are relatively close together. Shoulder width. I don't usually force a second hand turn in but some should be natural. I just watch for turn out. If the hands are too wide, the center of gravity is lower and the skill won't accelerate as well.
-I deal with a lot of problems with the approach but depending on the skill level and where you're trying to go, sometimes you just have to cut your losses. I just make sure they are reaching and not leaping from the back foot to the front.

Because there is so much room for error just in starting the skill, I'd work on cartwheels more and make sure their arms stay by their ears (they don't drop to shoulder level). When they can do a good forward cartwheel from lunge to lunge on a line, then start cartwheel step in (after the first foot comes down, quick lever up to bring the second foot next to it). This is pretty key. Do everything on a line. If you want to mix it up you can put down some dots or stars in a line for them to use. Make sure the head is always in ("cover your ears")

Cartwheels over mats. Cartwheel step in onto a mat. When they get good, tell them to do it so fast they have to take steps backward. Arms should stay by the ears. Set up some different stuff to make it fun (cartwheel steps backward up a wedge, do it on tumble track, do a punch stretch jump out of it to touch something, do CW step in punch stretch jumps bounding backwards, have a relay race doing CW step in punch stretch jumps bounding backwards)

Good HS is also important for the support phase.

I'll start with that because I have much better luck with ROs when they can do those things well. I think it's easier for them to reference the beginning "requirements" when they aren't worried about the snap. Then they progress to the snap to two feet more easily with pretty intuitive cues.
 

CreateMagic

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Thank you for asking this! I definitely could use some good round-off drills, especially ones that teach how not to turn early, and how to get more power (as opposed to just dropped the feet to the floor together...and having them rebound has not worked.)
 

Linsul

Active Member
Sep 19, 2008
876
Pripyat
Ah, yes. I coach cheerleading.

Two phases (from feet to hands and hands to feet) are my focus.

1st phase. The reach, 1/4 turn side, and back kick. Things to watch for:
-good reach: but that's pretty self explanatory. I would also make sure they have the feet far enough apart and the front leg is bent enough, so they're not just levering in close.
-back kick without turning out early. The back kick should be strong during the forward reach. I'm not sure if that makes sense, but I'm sure you've seen it where kids turn out from the hips early and are kicking more side. Even when that's not incredibly pronounced, it can hinder the skill (also probably isn't great for the hip joint). Make sure the 1/4 side is late.
-back kick is STRONG
-through support phase, there is a good stretch. Hands are relatively close together. Shoulder width. I don't usually force a second hand turn in but some should be natural. I just watch for turn out. If the hands are too wide, the center of gravity is lower and the skill won't accelerate as well.
-I deal with a lot of problems with the approach but depending on the skill level and where you're trying to go, sometimes you just have to cut your losses. I just make sure they are reaching and not leaping from the back foot to the front.

Because there is so much room for error just in starting the skill, I'd work on cartwheels more and make sure their arms stay by their ears (they don't drop to shoulder level). When they can do a good forward cartwheel from lunge to lunge on a line, then start cartwheel step in (after the first foot comes down, quick lever up to bring the second foot next to it). This is pretty key. Do everything on a line. If you want to mix it up you can put down some dots or stars in a line for them to use. Make sure the head is always in ("cover your ears")

Cartwheels over mats. Cartwheel step in onto a mat. When they get good, tell them to do it so fast they have to take steps backward. Arms should stay by the ears. Set up some different stuff to make it fun (cartwheel steps backward up a wedge, do it on tumble track, do a punch stretch jump out of it to touch something, do CW step in punch stretch jumps bounding backwards, have a relay race doing CW step in punch stretch jumps bounding backwards)

Good HS is also important for the support phase.

I'll start with that because I have much better luck with ROs when they can do those things well. I think it's easier for them to reference the beginning "requirements" when they aren't worried about the snap. Then they progress to the snap to two feet more easily with pretty intuitive cues.

Thanks, lots of good stuff in there to try! Over the mat drills and walking backwards up the wedge are two ideas I know I'll use. I'm very consistent with hands by ears on floor, so that part won't be new to my gymnasts at least!

I like having things to do that don't focus on the snap. I agree that focus on it creates unnecessary worry. I've seen a lot of kids do these snap drills where they kick to a handstand, arch their backs, and then snap hollow onto both feet. They scare me a little when beginners are doing them. It would seem to me that in the rush to learn the snap, they gloss right over being hollow and then wonder why they have no rebound.

Getting the pike-y arched back rebounds is pretty common when first learning, am I wrong to think that snap drills just reinforce that? I think it could be good for a advanced tumbler that knew only to gauge a feel for the snap itself and not internalize the arch. My old HC used to gripe nonstop about the evils of a badly taught round-off, so admittedly I could just be being drill-shy.
 

gymdog

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Jul 5, 2007
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Getting the pike-y arched back rebounds is pretty common when first learning, am I wrong to think that snap drills just reinforce that? I think it could be good for a advanced tumbler that knew only to gauge a feel for the snap itself and not internalize the arch. My old HC used to gripe nonstop about the evils of a badly taught round-off, so admittedly I could just be being drill-shy.

Depends. I don't think it will cause too many problems but I don't have much success with them with beginning tumblers and don't use them. Better to do RO off something if you want to focus on the snap before they can generate enough power, so they don't have to worry about piking. Same ways you avoid piking out of BHS (push off hands to stomach...though it's not my favorit just a possibility) work here too. If they understand the chest lift and do the first part of the skill correctly, the piking shouldn't be as much of an issue. The piking comes from decelerating (kick is not strong enough over the top, lack of push off of front leg, crunchy skill) and usually bringing the legs together too early. They can go back and reference CW step in if that becomes a problem. If they're piking, there are problems with the first part of the skill or they completely don't understand the upper body lift.

Also, if you do CW walk up, you can combine it with another wedge circuit and put them high end to high end, they can walk up backwards, stop at the top, and do back roll or back bend kickover down.
 

Linsul

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Sep 19, 2008
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Thanks! I feel pretty well armed and up to date, these are very good ideas for beginners learning their RO :)
 
K

KBT

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I like to do running cartwheels focusing on getting the legs over really fast. Eventually you can turn that into the legs landing together in a roundoff.

For kids who don't block so they just get upsidedown and plop down onto their feet with the arms still on the ground, I like to do ROs UP a wedge. They won't be pretty, but eventually they'll figure out they need some block to do this successfully and when you take it back to floor it will be much better.

Another common problem also associated with a lack of block is leaving the second hand on the floor. Sometimes I find the hand position is incorrect (i.e. turning the hand out which stresses the wrist and elbow and makes it hard to block). Also, making sure they know to end with both arms by the ears can help that second arm get up. ROs over a large octagon can help because their arms are off the floor before the feet hit, but some kids have trouble with this drill.
 
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BlairBob

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I'm a bit iffy on the RO drills over a propped up tented panel mat or octagon but that's also because I never used them ( just as I never worked CW step in/together ).

Side cartwheel from rocking eventually focusing on side lunge and doing it through sumo

Lunge to lunge CW, eventually working on popping off the hands and then step in version.

Side CW turn in to step together.

Doing it from a kneeling lunge.

I personally like HS snapdowns, but mainly it gets down to competence in HS movements ( wall, kick to, shrugging, walking ) and leg lift variations ( lying and tucking/piking, hanging and doing the same, N/V-ups )

I don't teach them RO if they're CW is poor. Kinda boring but saves headaches for later.

As for turning too early, emphasize the T-lever in like Beam HS. Teeter totter action, lever in, lever out. If my kids can't do a simple lunge HS lunge, it's usually pretty ugly when they do lunge CW lunge with arms by ears.

I tend to speal that a basic RO is easy and what most of them think they have but a good RO is more difficult than any handspring and is really what will make or break their ability to go into high level tumbling skills. If their basics are sloppy they'll get stuck with a RO-BHS or RO-BHS-BT and never get to twisting layouts or being able to do FHStepOut to RO tumbling.
 

ryantroop

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Sep 21, 2008
423
Illinois
I also teach handstand 1/4 turns near a wall.

So, if you are a right leg/arm forward, your left shoulder is near a wall.

Kick up a handstand, do a 1/4 turn so chest is facing the wall.

Eventually, if they can do this quick, they have the turn action required for a good round-off.

Now, Im a highschool coach, so I have to push faster than a good carthweel before a round-off. You can always work on flexibility doing this too, by emphasizing a split position in a handstand.

Getting down is usually the fun part after getting over the fear of kicking the wall. (But they wont kick it, cause they are going in like a hand stand! Right? :-D)

To get down, show them that it's just a 1/4 turn the other direction, and they will have a clean cartwheel/round-off.

If you put a nice line on the floor, it doubles as a beam cartwheel station/round-off station. They are forced to stay straight or they clock themselves on the wall.

I would start with the left shoulder (for a righty) about 8" away to start, eventually moving in to about 3" for mastery.
 

Linsul

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Sep 19, 2008
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Thanks much! I'm actually writing these down in the binder I bring with me to work lol! I did the cartwheel step ins last night, they were great! I noticed the kids have a preconceived notion of a RO being a handstand where they lurch to the side after and arch down. I ignored it, and they got the cw idea very well after a few tries! Today I'm not going to mention the term RO at all. I'll save it for when they're actually ready to do them I think!
 

gymdog

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I'm a bit iffy on the RO drills over a propped up tented panel mat or octagon but that's also because I never used them ( just as I never worked CW step in/together ).

The CW step in is just for the chest lift/lever action out (not piking) but really a fast CW that requires steps backwards should be the same idea without stressing the step in. For the younger ones if they just do it more stationary it's easier to make sure they're keeping the back leg up and takes a little less "brain" coordination at first. Once they get the idea of standing up straight I think it tends to make them think about the RO differently. If you tell them to do a CW but "land with their legs together" what they tend to do is snap their legs together about when they pass through HS, pike down, and stand up. Really if we want the skill to accelerate, we want the legs coming together later....A RO is basically the CW step in but like one nanosecond sooner (okay bit of an exaggeration but it's not much sooner).

I've seen like 1/2 RO pop to a mat stack which I guess is similar to the octagon idea but I prefer for them to do it off something to practice the second part, mostly because of the legs coming together too soon problem which I think these drills might be kind of encouraging to. I think these are good for push off the hands I guess but if there's a strong kick and the skill is not stopped halfway through, it should carry them. Those drills might be better for kids who already have the RO and need to focus on head position and the stretch at the end though. I can see how that drill could be used to help them orient their head position. We used to do RO over an octagon into BHS BT, layout, full, etc.

For just the big kick to hollow body, I let them do it off something onto a soft surface or even a pit edge they can just flip over into, and they'll usually kick hard and let themselves carry over hollow when they don't have to worry about the skill.

I tend to speal that a basic RO is easy and what most of them think they have but a good RO is more difficult than any handspring and is really what will make or break their ability to go into high level tumbling skills. If their basics are sloppy they'll get stuck with a RO-BHS or RO-BHS-BT and never get to twisting layouts or being able to do FHStepOut to RO tumbling.

This is true. I've seen girls with good standing handsprings, can do a good standing back tuck, and can't put it together because they never worked on a RO besides a coach telling them "do a CW and land with your legs together." Then they want to work tucks and multiple BHSs but you're trying to take them back to the RO. But this is more of a probably in tumbling classes and cheer for me. Usually we have a much bigger lag time in AG between the RO and connecting anything, but I agree it can still be hard to get them to take it seriously and not just think they can do it so it's good enough. Same thing with FHS. I think there's a perception that since RO and FHS are "less scary" than say, BHS, they are also "less hard". They think just because they can chuck it, they "have it."
 

gymdog

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Oh, and I also like the CW to straight step in once they've master the forward lunge because I think it encourages more dynamic flexibility on the opposite leg (CW landing leg) and it's easier for me to see if they can or can't keep it straight coming down. They stretch the starting leg kicking into a lot of stuff and it's their "good" leg, but from a WAG standpoint (well MAG too I'm sure but for girls becomes a problem on all leaps, dance, walkovers, etc), bending the non-dominant leg (bent in the back kick, bent in arabesque/scale, etc) and lack of dynamic flexibility in that leg can be a problem. Obviously one exercise won't correct that but it just helps me see which kids can lever out and stand up without bending either leg easily, and encourage those who can't to really push against it straight.
 

Linsul

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Sep 19, 2008
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Tonight I used a combo of the panel mat and wedge. One station had them just putting their hands on a panel mat, then putting their feet together. I used just the wedge yesterday and the kids got it, but today was different! They were obsessing a little too much over hand placement (before the wedge on the floor?1 hand on the wedge, 1 hand off? Both on?!) so I threw the panel mat in front for them to put their hands on and take that out of the equation. I had asked them to put their hands on the floor, but the distance to the wedge played with their heads today!

The kids all really got it with just the panel mat. They pushed through their shoulders and didn't fall forward after a couple of tries. I still spotted them just in case when adding the wedge. A few really fell forward at first, but in the end they all pushed through the shoulders, and none of them did the cartwheel to handstand pike-down thing! Since it was their first day doing it they did hesitate a lot between when they got their feet together on the wedge and taking the steps back, but it's all good!

2 in particular really drove their back legs up and had a very easy time with it. I had them do what they did on the mats on the floor, and the light went off. They accused me of tricking them into RO's, it was pretty funny! The rest will get it soon I'm sure. Thanks for the advice, I'll try more that wa said here when I can. I'm so glad I asked, thanks much guys!
 

gymdog

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I like this thread. New skill next week? A lot of times the L1-4 stuff is the hardest to teach.
 

Linsul

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You pick the skill Gymdog! I really like all the options this thread gave, and agree that L1-L4 can be the hardest to teach. It's all pivotal foundation skills, but the kids (especially if rec) all have different levels of strength, flexibility, and coordination. Having multiple drills gives us the best chance to match a gymnast with the one they could benefit from the most!
 

gymdog

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Okay I gotta think. What is the hardest thing for me to teach...have to keep you guys on your toes. A poll might be involved. Expect the unexpected.
 

ryantroop

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Sep 21, 2008
423
Illinois
God.. next week - front handsprings on floor!

I never get good results no matter how I teach them... but I dont have access to a trampoline regularly... so that hinders it a bit...
 

gymdog

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Yeah, I suppose FHS presents a lot of discussion opportunity for beginner through refining more advanced, similar to RO. Multiple front saltos are practically an expectation now so most optional coaches I know are constantly referencing those FHS basics.
 
K

kez

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Does anyone teach the cartwheel step in with the arms positioned down instead of up by the ears?

I went to a course this weekend and one of the round off drills they were talking about was a cartwheel with a fast step in but arms down ready for a connection skill (I hope my description makes sense and I've got my story right).

The course coach suggested that this was in preparation for when they would be connecting the round off to another skill. My understanding was that you teach the cartwheel step in with arms staying by the ears to help teach the kids to lift their chest quickly.

Any thoughts out their? Have I got this drill confused with another similar drill?


Kez

P.S. A discussion on front handsprings would be excellent.
 

gymdog

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Does anyone teach the cartwheel step in with the arms positioned down instead of up by the ears?

No. Although I can kinda sorta imagine where they're maybe going with that, but it's not something I would ever teach beginners in artistic gymnastics. If you watch power tumbling, there's usually some delay with the arms from the hollow snap to the stretch. I'm not very familiar with this technique, what I know about power tumbling just comes from a girl who was in my last training group in artistic who also did PT. But with beginners, an angle in the beginning almost universally leads to throwing the head back and shoulder/hip angle when the hands contact. Also I wouldn't say the arms are all the way down in the technique I've seen...it's just a little more dramatic than you usually see in artistic and it's more of of a hollowing from the chest/entire upper body too rather than just lowering the arms. Just more of a dramatic shape change.

Unless the connection was swinging in between (not really a connection) I can't imagine asking them to pull in by their thighs. If done correctly with lever action, they should get their chest up and back, but that's more like a tsuk timer type action to me.

In my experience, I need to have their arms by their ears throughout the skill (including the end). This is for beginners. Alternate methods may create more power for very advanced tumblers, but I don't know enough about it to really comment.
 
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