For Coaches RO BHS Rebound Opinions

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I can't find any past banter regarding rebound expectations for compulsory level gymnasts. I have a bit of an opinion difference between my coaching comrade in the gym.

I feel that an arm circle in the rebound (mostly for after BHS, but similar if the RO rebound is for more of a set action) is counter productive to learning a proper set for salto tumbling. If a young gymnast is allowed to flale her arms to control her developing power then a) she is not tight through the entire rebound and b) she may develop a bad habit with regards to when the chest/arms are to stop for the initial set and then the hips initialize the rotations to catch up the arms. Not the best wording there for rotation, but I think you get the idea. i.e. their habit is already forming for a loose upperbody whip as they progress to saltos.

My partner feels the arm circle is acceptable because they are using it to help regain some control for their new found energy. Again though, I think this is just encouraging a loose body to spite their energy. I also have found for those who don't have the speed and leg form for good rebounding yet, that they are trying to use the arm circle to help them rebound higher.

The text specifically says (not quoted though), the arms raise to high arms, lower side-diagonal to arrive in a front-middle controlled landing. I don't have the book here at home. Technically not an arm circle, but that lowering arms to the side then forward to control the landing is appropriate. A few of our girls are bringing their arms all the way behind them while in the air and there is no initial high arm stretch, just straight to an arm circle. I also feel if they have backwards energy letting their arms go behind them is not going to help them much, except that they may be able be more agressive with their arms in a stuck landing position to fight for a landing.

Our little difference of opinion irritated me a bit today in that she picked it out as I was giving it to a few of our girls and we debated in front of them. I would have to say that right now we have a couple of emerging salto gymnasts that have this horrible arm circle whippy tuck flips and since they learned their rebounds before I arrived at the gym, I would have to say that the acceptability of this habit for them has led to their lack of knowing how to set with tight arms and chest.

Any opinions for or against?
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I'd rather have circling arms than flailing feet. It's possible to do a controlled circle. There's no way to control that kick thing so many girls do when they suddenly start rebounding...and then they land on their heineys.

I prefer arms up-arms down, but a circle that never goes behind the ears (ovoid I guess) is something I can work with. Just please, no kicking. Thats the one that gets me going.


Mar 6, 2009
Florida Panhandle
I don't like for the arms to go behind the gymnast. If they do decide to kick a foot out, and send themselves flying backwards, then they end up on one of those arms and soon have a cast on. We teach a rebound with the arms high. The gymnast is to rebound as high and as long as possible. Then, they finish the "circle" like Coach Goofy described as they are coming onto their feet. So the last part of the circle ends up being a little bit fast, but does not interfere in the rebound.


For competitional purposes, I do not like the arm circle. If it happens during training, I can understand because I have to curb my power so I don't over-rotate onto my head. It ain't fun.


Sep 13, 2007
way out West
From a coaching standpoint, you are right-arm circles on a rebound constitutes "bad gymnastics". The kids are circling their arms with good reason: their arms are up too soon.

I have fought this battle for years...if a kid rebounds from a back handspring, their arms should not be "by their ears" until the reach the top of the rebound. If the gymnast finishes the back handspring with their "arms by their ears" (99% of them will pike in an effort to do this), where do their arms go when they hit the top of the rebound? They have to go somewhere after being told to keep them "by their ears". If a gymnast actually does this as instructed, they will surely land on their back. THAT is why the kids circle their arms.

If the gymnast gets a full block off of the floor and snaps the shoulders up then lifts the arms up as the rebound occurs, the timing will be perfect for a stretch followed by the arms lowering side middle and downward.

Plus, it's kind of sad when a Level 5 does a back handspring with complete lack of power/acceleration and still does an arms circle as if to regain balance after never having any momentum in the first place. It's sort of a neon sign pointing to a weak RO bhs.

As BlairBob arm circle could save a life-so who knows-it's all relative.

VA Gym Coach

I agree with you. The text does not state an arm circle. The gymnasts are not supposed to arm circle. The arms are to lower down sideways from the ears then to low front. I also teach my gymnasts that this motion should only happen on the way down from the rebound as well...right before their feet return to the ground.

That is how I interpret the text anyway :)
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