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Looking for ways to get l4 boys excited about mushroom

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Geoffrey Taucer

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Mushroom is a weak event for my level 4s; I have two, and neither can make it past a full circle. I think both have settled into the routine of doing one circle (actually, closer to 7/8ths of a circle) and falling; they seem to have given up on pushing themselves past that point.

Does anybody have any suggestions for getting boys excited about working mushroom? It needs to be something that will work for beginner boys who cannot yet make it past a single circle.
 

Laura

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I too am eagerly anticipating an answer to this question!! I am in the exact same position with my boys!
 
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BlairBob

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One of my boys right now is still learning the 1/4 circle. Or 1/8th circle or 1/3rd circle. Basically he feints and just hops to a back support while piking at the hips high. I've been trying to show him but I don't think he gets it though I've been making them swing in bucket every practice hopefully 50-100x.

This is the same boy that did not get what a round-off was supposed to be until I hand-spotted him through it. Most kids seem to figure out the round-off after they can do a cartwheel step in.

He won't be back in till Wednesday so I will take to hand spotting him from the feint. He has a bit of a tough time with it as he isn't the strongest and he tends to be wiggly. I got away from doing this as I just couldn't really do this with older boys, but I can do it with my light and small guys. I do remember a long time ago the boys loving this ( maybe cause it was just a lot of work for me and we didn't have a bucket ).

I could probably make it a game of how far can he circle but he doesn't post on his hand so his shoulder pushes away as well. I'd like to get him to at least just past 1 by States but I won't bank on it. He's a first year and pretty new to gym and scoring maybe 80 now.
 

gymdog

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Blah. I have to coach this occasionally (mostly they're somewhere below L4 though so they're not at a point where they're really ready for much anyway...once they are stronger there are coaches who know what they're doing) and added to the fact that I have absolutely no idea what I'm doing (true story...pommels are a mystery to me), none of them are even seemingly capable at it anyway. I don't blame them since I'm not that interested and also probably couldn't even be a L4 on this event if I tried.

I just make a circuit with a bunch of random stuff that seems good to me, although I can't really advocate any of the specifics since again, not all that confident in what I'm doing, but I'm sure you can come up with much better exercises than me. If I just have them go one at a time, then each one ends up taking too long when I try to make corrections and it's just not good. I include a body tightness station like be in push up position, straight arm lifts, or something like these positions (but easier than walking that far). I mean, that looks like a pommel/mushroom position to me. I don't really know.

But then (I do this with beam too) sometimes at the end I have everyone sit and watch everyone's best attempt. Then they usually try harder to improve. I would also probably keep a chart...they can keep it, you can keep it, it can be posted on a board by the station, whatever. If they can only do one circle, record how many successful repetitions they did each practice (you could even break this into attempts and successes if necessary) out of a target, say 10. For the first "phase" they can try to improve their number of successful attempts out of 10, or get to 10 successful attempts. When you decide they're ready for the next "phase," design a harder phase with another focus (perhaps 1 1/4 circle or something, I don't know what is realistic). You can also add an incentive like whenever someone hits x number for the day or moves up a number, they get to make a mark on the board/put a chip in a bucket, etc, and when you have so many marks or chips, they get to play a game during practice or have open play for a period of time. To break it down into individual awards, perhaps the individual contributing the most could be the one who gets to choose the game, or whatever.
 

gymch34

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Aug 2, 2008
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I don't know boys gymnastics, but I'm thinking if they are strong enough and understand the basic technique, I would keep a chart and make it a competition: add up the 1/4 and 1/2 circles at end of week, if someone makes a full circle, it counts twice. The boy that wins decides the conditioning for the other boys at that event....
 
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BlairBob

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Ag walks are great. The one shown is the hardest of the 4 but the three easier are:

-pushup position pushing backwards with feet in frisbee/carpet square/paper plate/dining tray. they focus on pushing away while in a pushup position feet going down the floor first

-pushup postion pulling forwards with feet in whatever. they pull themselves across the floor in a pushup position head leading the way.

-back support position pulling backwards. this one is tough and they start in a back support or straight leg crab walk position and pull themselves backward. don't let the hip sag and pike

-ag walk as shown, fairly tough. made my boys cry a few weeks ago, especially when they tried to cheat and were told to start at the beginning ( they were used to just sitting on their butt and pulling themselves backwards like butt scoots in the frisbee or doing variation 2 ).

sometimes i have the boys hold positions 1-4 and further break this down into 1-8 ( which just may be my OCD ). i might draw out numbers for each position or put down markers of some sort.

one of the drills they love is straddle swings sideways on the rings to give them the idea of a BIG straddle swing without having to worry about supporting. We also do hip/body circles on the rings and they love these but sometimes tend to fly off or spin.

I like the game idea about tokens in a bucket. I'd like to put up a chart and do skill testing but I have one boy who is supersensitive when he doesn't match the other boys besides it being comp season.
 
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KBT

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I'm thinking you should make a game of it. Like mark how far they can get in one circle then challenge them to beat it on the next try. Or count how many full circles they do as a group.
 

ZJsMom

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My ds's coaches often have contests on mushroom. I'm not sure exactly how they judge the contests--number of circles count, but they also judge form. If you're judging form, hopefully the ones who can't get around yet will still try hard since they can get points for form.
 

Geoffrey Taucer

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So today at the beginning of practice I had a circle battle; I split the boys into two teams to see which team could get the highest total number of circles. I told them afterward that we'd do this every saturday. By the end of practice today, one of my level 4s (who had never made it past about 7/8ths of a circle) was consistently hitting 1.5 circles.

It's great what a bit of motivation can accomplish!
 

gymdog

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So today at the beginning of practice I had a circle battle; I split the boys into two teams to see which team could get the highest total number of circles. I told them afterward that we'd do this every saturday. By the end of practice today, one of my level 4s (who had never made it past about 7/8ths of a circle) was consistently hitting 1.5 circles.

It's great what a bit of motivation can accomplish!

A battle is a good idea...wouldn't have thought of that. Might be able to take some pressure off the situation BlairBob described where you could sort of a "hide" a kid who's not going to win and gets upset within a team...

Are you going to mix the teams up or keep them the same?
 

Geoffrey Taucer

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I may mix them up some, but there are a bunch of pairs I'm going to keep on opposite sides. I'll keep my two level 4s on opposite teams, and I also have two L5s I'm going to keep on opposite teams; otherwise, I'll probably mix it up a bit.
 
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BlairBob

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Nice idea. Right now I have one boy who can circle pretty well, no 2 who gets maybe a 7/8th to 1 1/4 and another who basically can feint and hop. I've deemed no 2 boy to not be ready of competition within the group because he will cry and pout if he ever loses ever. I can't even do competitive games with the group because of him so it makes it moot. Sucks.
 
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Shane

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I have the same problem with the Level 4's at my gym. But after going to numerous competitions and even judging pommel horse, I can see that our gyms are not the only ones in trouble. I would say that about 80% of all level 4's cannot complete more than one circle.

When I first teach circles, I first teach it in quarter steps. Once they master each step separately, then I teach them half steps. Body position on circles are very important. In the back, they should be in a tight hollow and in the front, the gymnast should be pushing their stomach up.

The best drill for circles that I know of is the bucket. Just constantly doing circles inside the bucket every day will produce. Conditioning is also very important, because the gymnast needs to be able to hold themselves up on the mushroom. We do circle contests as well, and that seems to motivate them a little.
 
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BlairBob

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Hmm, I can probably let them do a bucket circle contest. Might be fun vs me. They could all do that, then. I have them compete against me and sometimes I lose and sometimes I win and sometimes they cheat ( like stealing the rope away from me during rope climbs when I take a breather ). That way I don't have to worry about the in-fighting. Sometimes I lose on purpose, sometimes I don't.

I've been trying to get them to do a minimum of 50 up to 100 circles a day, every day 3x a week. Just so I can get boy's #2 and #3 somewhere. Still, no. 3 just does his little hop 1/4-1/2 so I've taken to spotting him so he understand it's not a swing but a hop. I'd like for him to get 1 or nearly 1 by state in 3 weeks. As for conditioning we have been just doing lots of press handstands and handstand work besides swinging PB and PH every day with generally more support conditioning at the end ( ring support, support leg lifts, butt scoots, L's, seal drags ). Gotta just work that support every which way.
 
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