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Spotting problem!

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I-Heart-Beam

Active Member
Sep 9, 2007
964
Scotland
So I recently passed my coaching exams yay!! And I got a job as a junior coach in my club although I don't have a team as such- I help the actual coaches and take small groups at a time. I LOVE it- it's just so much fun.

But I was helping a group with backhandsprings on beam and one of them asked me to spot her. I asked the senior coach what to do and she said to stand close to them watching carefully, ready to break a fall if necessary.

It sounded fine but how do you know when to catch someone or when to let them fall? If anyone has any tips on spotting that would be great!!!

Anna xx
 

MoonKid

Gymnast/Coach
Jun 26, 2007
95
Ontario, Canada
I don't usually coach at that level but I will say that if the kid is about to land on her head on the beam then you should step in, but if it's just that the kid's feet are about to miss the beam (other than stradleing) then they will probably be fine.
 
J

jes.the.gymnast

Guest
it's up to you and the gymnast. the more scared they are about doing a skill the more you should help even if it doesnt look like they are going to fall if they are confident about it take a step back let them go and just be there in case you are needed. if they're at this level spotting is sometimes used more for comfrot rather then them really needed it.
thays what i think anyway
jes. :)
 

ahs

Coach & Mom
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Feb 5, 2006
203
Wisconsin
If you are uncomfortable spotting on beam spot the gymnast on the floor first, when spotting a BHS on beam I spot with the arm close to the gymnast across the lower back. The other hand helps to square their hips at the end. Spotting a BHS on beam and floor are different on floor you are spotting to the learn the skill on beam they should already have the skill and you are just helping them to land on the beam. That is why I spot with opposite arm placement. You are really there to help them pass through the correct position to land properly and to help them feel confident with the skill.

I believe that when spotting get in close to the gymnast, if you stand back you are relying on only your arm strength if something goes wrong. If you are in close you can use more of your body to help lift.
 

Geoffrey Taucer

Former Admin
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Jan 21, 2007
4,078
Baltimore, MD
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USA
If you don't trust yourself to spot a certain skill, don't spot it. Practice however you can until you're comfortable with it. You can practice by spotting them on floor or low beam, or by very lightly spotting somebody who can already do the skill (and I wouldn't use this method on beam, honestly).

As far as how heavily to spot, always err on the side of caution.
 

Aussie_coach

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Jan 4, 2008
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First of all congratulations on passing your coaching exams and moving onto the next step in your gymnastics career! It sounds like it is going well and you are enjoying it.

Learning to spot well takes some time and practise as does learning the skills well, but you will find once you get in there when you are spotting correctly it feels right just like when you do a skill correctly. I don't know where you are from but here in Australia there are regular courses for coaches on spotting flight skills. Se if there are any course arund that you can take on spotting.

Also try to come into the gym at times you are not coaching and watch the coaches. Watch how they spot the gymnasts. ask questions, draw it or write it down. Even get them to spot you on some of the skills even if you can already do them easily just so you can get the feel for it. If you are just learning ask if you can double spot with another coach on the other side first. As you are just starting out I am sure the other coaches would be very happy to help you out.
 

lannamavity

Member
Sep 13, 2007
409
way out West
I never spot backhandsprings on beam, simply because we have low beams, and if they can do it perfectly on the low beam, I let them go on the high beam when the say they are ready...and I trust that they are.

You may want to get a big old stuffed animal or a little kid and start spotting all sorts of stuff. Find a coach who you really respect and ask questions. Remember that you have to find your own way to find the leverage you need using your own body.

The only things I always keep in mind are:

I NEVER tell a kid that I will spot her, and then not spot her...that can cause horrible, irreparable damage if the skill goes wrong.

I also never just dump a kid on their face or back when I spot. They always finish the skill as if it were perfect. I see a lot of coaches quit spotting half-way through a skill calling it a "safety spot" when the athlete was safe...from a "life or death" standpoint...but quitting a spot in the middle, especially on beginning skills like back handsprings etc...can create horrible habits, and looks really unprofessional and bad. Oddly enough, you can learn a lot from watching bad spotters.
 
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