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Straight arm backward roll (USAG level3/4)

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hammy

Guest
My level 3/4s just can't seem to figure out how to keep their arms straight on their back extension rolls (to pike for the 3s and push up shape for the 4s). They are able to do the following drills:

1. straight arm roll off a pannel mat (only two pannels high)
2. Sit, roll back wards, slam hands/arms into the floor--with their arms straight and back behind their ears. I do this one to teach them how to keep their arms straight and behind their ears (so that they can open their shoulders)

Does anyone have any hints or drills that I can use to help the girls out; we're both getting frustrated. Many coaches teach the kids to do do this skill with their fingers interlocked, but I find that interlocking their fingers actually makes the skill more difficult.
 

flpflp7

New Member
Sep 6, 2007
34
I have heard to have them try to go UP hill. They probably won't make it but it's used to help them figure out how to use that muscle. I have only used this drill a few times & have a hard time keeping the girls hollow once they're hands hit. We usually have them go down hill & I spot with one hand under their belly to keep them hollow & the other on their thigh. Once they can do it on the hill good by themselves they move to the floor. We also do backward roll with straight arms to pike stand. I'll be checking back to see some other drills too because I would love to have more drills to work this skill too!
 
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LasswadeCoach

Guest
The girls shoulders are not strong enough, it is not that they dont understand how to keep their arms straight, they arent strong enough to do it, can they all straddle press to handstand with straight arms? try having them put their hands on the floor and their feet up on a block or bench, so their hips are bent and their shoulders are over their hands, then have them 'lose' their neck and show it, 3 sets of about 20 should do, depending on their age and ability. Also try having them do an 'american press' in which they go onto their hands & feet, tummy pointing downwards, and try to get their hands and feet as far apart as possible without falling over, this should be done with a rounded 'angry cat' back and the shoulder blades should not be visible, again 3 sets of 20 seconds should help!

hope this helps!!
 

Valentin

Coach
Coach
Nov 12, 2007
376
USA
This is a skill that it seems kids stuggle on. Particularly the slower ones.
The problem most the time that i find is that is that the kids will drive the arms back, and before actually impacting the floor they stop them and try and rock their bodies over, causing the shoulder angle to close, and as a result (due to weakness in the motion) the bend the elbows to make it easier to lever themselves over.

Drill that i use are
1- Do it from sitting in pike on a panel mat or 8inch mat with arms by ears, and finger tips touching (and as a coach i am always pushing down on their palms, and pulling hands apart to teach them that you do this and you keep doing it until the skill is over). From there i have them rock backward leading with the arms and upper back and open shoulder angle (of course) up into a candle shape. (have the mat proped against a wall so it dont slip, and you might have to fiddle a little bit with where they should sit and). This teaches them to impact the correctly while holding good shape. Its harder then you think to do, and most will kinda freak out about doing it haha
2- From there have them hit the candle (with the correct form and entry) then then carry then through it while the press down on the floor with the hands (to develop some strength). you can also do this to work on the backward extension roll to handstand and its good for giants etc..
3- Let them do it by themselves. At the start as the arms are going back, have them shoot their feet over more then up. so that its its not going up to much (as they might not have the strenght). Spot them occasionaly shapping them etc.
4- on floor work it into backward roll to pike stand and straddle with straight arms (which as sometimes slightly easier alternatives, but while still looking for the same features as describered> leading with that upper back, keeping shoulder angle open, no hesitation and stopping of the arms before inpact, hollow tight bodies, toe shooting/leading the desired direction.

You can at the same time reduce the matprogressively making it closer and closer ground level (panel matts great for this gradual decrease). Eventuall they are raedy to go to the floor. You might want to spot them there a little for a bit, and then let them at it.
Like any progressive thing, just cause they can do it with the slopes or the mats, and whatnot, doesn't mean that they will do it perfectly their first times ont he floor (even if they do all other progressions perfectly). So thus do some shapping again, spot a few, and then in no time they will be away laughing.

On thing that ALL kids virtually do is they push of their heads of the floor rather then hands (little finger down into the floor). This is like actually putting the breaks on haha,and its a hands habbit to get them out of if they aren't stopped from day 1. For that use the soft foamy ball, or little cube, or whatever under the chin, have them focus on this and feel that they are dioing it. This is a big problem and its also a great error that will lead later in into the backhip (it probably already is), clear hip, giant, virtually anything with this type of movement.

Aside from that for varsitility you can always do it down the cheese mats, up hill (which is a nice drill because it does allow them to lead with the arms, but they will rarely have the strength to do it uphill any good on their own at those levels).

some conditioning for this is have them, lay on the floor with arms on 2-3in elevation and in a candle/hollow shape, and just have them work on opening the shoulder angle as you guide them over into the push up possition, backwards and forwards, have them do the work sets of about 5-6 2-3times a session to just develop that specific strength.

Hope that helps
 
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hammy

Guest
Thanks everyone! I do have them do them going down the cheese, and I like "testing" them by pushing down on their arms to help them keep them straight (they stand with arms up by their ears and I push down on their palms). I didn't even think about the presses and their shoulder strength---these are the rec kids, but I think it's time I start doing presses with them. I'll try having them go uphill tomorrow night, and I'll also try to have them focus on not throwing their head back into the floor (again, something else I didn't think about). Thanks everyone!
 
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BlairBob

Guest
I started having kids practice straight arm forward rolls with their arms turned in. Ideally, I have them try to straight arm forward pike roll but that is because I am relating it to the front hip circle.

What I'm looking for is that they learn what is to be fully pushed out. This drill does not require as much strength as the straight arm back extension roll, but they learn how to roll over the side of their hands.


We do candlestick, reach back to the ground and pop off the ground. Not the most comfortable of skills, especially on the way down. I'll spot a lot of these to shape and also because the way down isn't especially forgiving.

In the USAG JO WAG, the straight arm back extension roll is supposed to be to pike down...I think, last time I remember looking at it. In the USAG JO MAG, the boys are allowed to tuck, pike, or go to handstand in the back extension as a bonus in level 4.

Ever try teaching the back extension roll from a seated straddled that comes together besides from a tuck or pike position?
 

teslarma

New Member
Jul 19, 2007
9
Melbourne, Australia
There are 3 "tricks" that I have learnt for teaching this skill.
The first one is fairly basic body shapes: make sure their backs and shoulders are definately round enough as they go over.

Secondly - encourage a hard push with the arms onto the floor (I always teach fingers facing inwards, and remind some of the kids to "bang" their little fingers on the ground) if this isn't done with enough force then they will lack the momentum to get over with straight arms and bend their arms to compensate

Thirdly - this is the most important one - tell them to squeeze their neck.
It sounds strange, I know. but it is generally the one form of imagery that makes the huge difference. Tell them to squeeze it as they start, then do an extra hard squeeze when they hit their fingers on the ground.. It may take a while for the kids to get used to, but has never failed me
 
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BlairBob

Guest
Teslarma, I'm going to start seeing if the " squeeze the neck " works with one of my lil guys. I think he is just getting sloptastic and not keeping rounded in the shoulders and neck. While I usually tell them to keep the shape of an old person ( hunched and rounded ), I don't think he is trying to maintain that shape.
 
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hammy

Guest
I tried the rolling up the cheese mat with them the other night, and it seemed to help them figure out how to put weight on their pinkie fingers. The squeezing the neck idea seems like a good one too--I'll have to try it next week. Thanks for all the help everyone!
 

ACoach78

Coach
Coach
Feb 22, 2007
112
USA
Here's my secret...

When they are first learning these, I take two small wedges and stack them on top of one another to create a steeper incline. (I do have them interlock their fingers when I'm doing the lead-ups and drills. However, when they move to the floor, there is no interlocking of the fingers.)

Then, I have them begin in a seated position, arms behind ears, chin down, chest hollow, and they roll over their hands to their feet (straight-arm back pike roll). I make sure to stress maintaining a good hollow shape in the chest and a nice pike to stand (i.e. straight legs) with the shoulders remaining open.

In my experience, I've had no problems getting kids (as young as 4-5 yrs old) to be able to perform a straight arm back pike roll with this double incline set-up. So, right from the beginning, I'm able to start teaching the feeling of straight arms and such.

From there, I stay with the straight arm back pike roll down a regular incline - first from a seated position and eventually I let them start standing and lowering into it. Usually at that point, I will put something between their arms and ears to make sure that they don't drop their arms in front as they are sitting down to roll backwards (that's a very common problem). If this happens, the arms never catch up and the head ends up touching the floor and they'll bend their arms every single time.

I keep working at this until they can perform a straight arm back pike roll on the floor. I mean, if they can't do a straight arm back pike roll, how do you expect them to perform a straight arm back extension roll?

After they master the back pike roll, I start the progressions over and we do a back pike roll to a hollow push-up. Prior to teaching this, I've already taught them how to candle and I've conditioned this action. So, I want to see them roll through a candle and then just close it down to a hollow. So, I begin seated on the double wedge. Then, we go to a single wedge - seated first and then standing. Finally, they move to the floor.

Then, I start the progressions all over and we open it to handstand and work our way down again. It takes some time, but in the end you'll get a nice straight arm back extension roll.

I use the panel mat drill some, but mostly as a source of variety. I don't really like it in all honesty. The other drill that I do like is to have them roll up into a candlestick onto their pinky fingers and then roll back down out of it with the emphasis on straight arms, head position, and a good hollow-shaped candlestick.

P.S. Don't have them start from a stand on the double wedge set up - it's far too much of an incline. They'll end up hurting themselves. You'll see after they perform the seated ones how much extra momentum they have.
 
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coachmela

Guest
Backward rolls with straight arms I love. It takes time however once the kids have it they look so smooth and easy. I have a number of drills for this.

1. Down a hill (game): as you have already said however I also play games with them. I have two hills and two teams. They are all numbered 1- 5 or however many are in each group. The number 1’s sit down on the hills and the teams are given approx 10-20 seconds to give advice to the gymnasts on how to keep their arms straight. The gymnast then do their backward roll and if they roll with straight arms they get a point. It’s the first to 5 or whatever suits. This is really great as the kids learn by themselves and coach by themselves. You will notice how the children actually do listen to what you have been saying and they will even push down on their arms. Its very cute.
2. I get the gymnasts to start in L when they go down he hill and watch their toes. This keeps their head to their chest and also encourages toes to go over fast.
3. On a small box that’s not to far form the ground I get the gymnast to sit in L-sit and back ward roll putting their arms on the box and feet on the ground. (this is one I usually spot) this gets the girls shoulder strength and also good open shoulder to floor action.
4. Another one which is good is actually starting the girls lying on their backs with their arms ready for a straight arms backward rolls, I then get them to lift their feet over and I pull their feet so they roll over encouraging straight arms. Again good way of strengthening and encouraging.
5. L-sit with small weight and lifting the weight from forward hold to above head with straight arms is building the right muscles directly.

I hope some of that makes sense to you at least and may help.
 
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coachmela

Guest
Backward rolls with straight arms I love. It takes time however once the kids have it they look so smooth and easy. I have a number of drills for this.

1. Down a hill (game): as you have already said however I also play games with them. I have two hills and two teams. They are all numbered 1- 5 or however many are in each group. The number 1’s sit down on the hills and the teams are given approx 10-20 seconds to give advice to the gymnasts on how to keep their arms straight. The gymnast then do their backward roll and if they roll with straight arms they get a point. It’s the first to 5 or whatever suits. This is really great as the kids learn by themselves and coach by themselves. You will notice how the children actually do listen to what you have been saying and they will even push down on their arms. Its very cute.
2. I get the gymnasts to start in L when they go down he hill and watch their toes. This keeps their head to their chest and also encourages toes to go over fast.
3. On a small box that’s not to far form the ground I get the gymnast to sit in L-sit and back ward roll putting their arms on the box and feet on the ground. (this is one I usually spot) this gets the girls shoulder strength and also good open shoulder to floor action.
4. Another one which is good is actually starting the girls lying on their backs with their arms ready for a straight arms backward rolls, I then get them to lift their feet over and I pull their feet so they roll over encouraging straight arms. Again good way of strengthening and encouraging.
5. L-sit with small weight and lifting the weight from forward hold to above head with straight arms is building the right muscles directly.

I hope some of that makes sense to you at least and may help.

p.s i have no idea if this is posted somewhere else of twice cause i posted it but think it stuffed up, so sorry if its done 2 times.
 
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hammy

Guest
Thanks for the help everyone! The girls are starting to figure this out--most of it is undoing/reteaching what previous coaches have taught.
 
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gimnystcoach

Guest
not sure if anyone said this one yet, but down a cheese mat (wedge) helps my little ones.
 
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