Well, the title pretty much sums up the question. Any good drills or ideas for making my roundoff longer? I am landing them down really close togther, so not only do I not get a rebound out of it, but it looks sloppy too. Thanks!!
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My favorite round-off progression has always been:
2) Handstand 1/4 turn.
3) Handstand 1/4 turn, chest facing a wall. (gradually move in closer until starting with shoulder about 1/2 an inch away from the wall).
4) Lunge into 1/4 turn (basically, do a "handstand 1/4 turn" but don't let the hand closest to the wall touch the floor until the 1/4 turn is finished. If you are having trouble with this phase, it is likely the root of your round-off problem. An alternate drill is to do a "needle kick" and then turn your body.
5) Cartwheel near the wall.
6) Round-off (near the wall if on a soft surface, or on the floor in between 2 spotting blocks, or using a visual reference to stay in a straight line).
Some key things to remember, a round-off is moving forward and is a "twisting element." These skills must be done on an axis, therefore, your twist cannot begin until one foot is above your head, but before the handstand. It will help to look "down the road" towards where you are moving, and keep looking there until the second 1/4 turn. This means you should be looking under your arm-pit while you are inverted, in the direction you are going (not your hands).
Im sure other people will chime in with some things I missed, but this should get you off and running to cleaning your round-off up. I know another coach recently posted a great drill series for power round-offs with visuals and everything! Those might help too.
I assume you mean you're snapping your feet too close to your hands while you're still on the floor but I'm not exactly sure, so this might or might not address what you mean. This is generally the result of a slightly different problem than needing to make the RO longer in my experience. You're probably bringing your feet together too early and piking down. Get a stronger back kick over the top and a late snap down (i.e. hold the cartwheel part longer). You could try cartwheel step in (CW and lift the chest fast to lever out).
ryantroop--thank you for the excellent progressions and drills.
As far as making the roundoff long, I try to explain to my gymnasts that when doing the lunge into the roundoff they should reach their hands way out past their foot--a lot of gymnasts typically want to put their hands right by their feet.
I also have them think of it as a lever with two feet. A lever being how to get into and out of handstanding skills---good foot pointed in front and as your hands reach down for the floor, your foot goes up towards handstand and you would show the capital letter T in the middle. I try to explain that the r/o is an ending lever with both feet coming down at the same time. I usually demonstrate this by having the student do a handstand and physcially lifting them and showing them the lever. This idea generally helps the students understand how to bring their chest up as their feet come down.
Hopefully this helps! I'm not sure if it's what you're looking for or not.
We do a couple of things for stretching out a RO and keeping kids from piking down. The first is a 6 panel mat unfolded in half (3 panels on each side). The length of the mat depends on the height of the gymnast. The gymnast must do his/her roundoff over the mat with only the hands reaching to the center of the mat on the line down the middle. The RO should start with the leading foot on the floor right in front of the line on the mat. Hands should go on the line (we teach the second hand turned in) and feet land on the other side of the mat while still in line with the line going down the mat.
Second, we put a small cheese mat sideways on top of the panel mat. This time step on the mat with one foot, place hands directly in front of the cheese mat and roundoff over the cheese mat. After a few times of knocking the mat down, most gymnasts start blocking and getting their arms up instead of pulling their feet down.
One other drill that I like to do is to have my kids roundoff up and off a medium sized cheese. Lunge on the cheese facing the high end. Hands are placed at the top of the cheese. Feet land on the floor. This doesn't help the length or block as much as it does the kick. Many gymnasts don't know how to get a good push off that front leg and this forces them to do it. If you aren't getting your feet up fast enough (as someone earlier mentioned might be a problem), then this will help develop the muscle and feel for that part of the RO.
For CW and RO, I use pit foam cubes to space apart how far their lunge should be, their first and second hand placement and eventually their feet. Doesn't work from a hurdle but it's fine from a static lunge.
Making sure they can't let the arms drop from their ears is important. I don't use it much but reaching over an object can be good if appropriately sized.
While I like CW step-in, I think I like CW run back more. Similar to the step in, but the step in causes the gymnast to be off balance backwards as in the girls L3 routine. A CW that rotates under and causes over rotation. Too many gymnasts seem to slow down and stall the CW step-in which leads to something that isn't what I prefer.