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For Coaches The hurdle for tumbling

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kez

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In view of the fact that the hurdle is such an important part of tumbling I was hoping someone could clarify the key coaching points and common errors in the hurdle for tumbling (and any good drills). For example positions of the arms, legs etc.

Thanks in advance.

Kez
 
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gymnut1

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I seem to see a great variety of arm circling, stretching up, bent and straight front leg. It would be interesting to see what and why people teach what they do. My gym does not like a high hurdle step but doesn't coach a specific style. However I have seen some huge hop ups on video. I have seen videos of the chinese children learning a very specific style of hurdle using a series of mats/ blocks.
 

KAQuinlan

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Mar 6, 2009
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I can only think of two things that we do to train a hurdle. One is during the warm-up period. On the days when we have the athletes running around the floor for their warm-up, we include several laps of skipping. They have to see how few skips they can get in on each side of the floor. Depending on size, they are not to do more than 4 or 5 skip steps on one side of the floor. Arms during this are supposed to be up by the ears on the lifting portion of the skip step. The goal is to get the hurdle longer, which will cause it to also be lower and to train the arms to be by the ears helping to give the hurdle power and making the athlete ready for the first skill in the tumbling pass. The other drill is to make the athlete do their hurdle across an unfolded panel mat. For this, the mat length depends on the athlete's height. We usually allow them to step onto the mat, but try to skip all the way over it into a cartwheel or roundoff.
 

Linsul

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Sep 19, 2008
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I like the skipping drill KAQuinlan! I see a lot of straight in the air hops where the kids tuck their knee to their chest and then slam their foot down practically on top of their other foots toes lol. That's my biggest floor challenge in rec, I don't allow round offs until their hurdle is long and their arms are up so lots of kids spend a great amount of time on hurdle, cartwheel step-ins. There's confusion with kids thinking slamming their foot down translates to power when it's actually a long forward moving step and a hard kick of the back leg. I'm stealing your drill, seems like it would help a lot, thanks for sharing!
 

dunno

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hurdles

the 2 best hurdles to watch and model are laschenova and shushanova for girls.

for men, gogoladze and liukin.
 

Geoffrey Taucer

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If you watch any olympic gymnasts, you'll probably see ten different hurdle techniques.

There's a lot of room for variation in arm/leg position while in the air. The important points, in my opinion, are these:

-The hurdle should be long
-The hurdle should be low
-The hurdle should be fast
-The hurdle should land (if you're doing a roundoff or FHS) with the front knee deeply bent, the hips pushing down and forwards.

There is one more point in the way I teach it, but I suspect not all coaches will agree on this one; I teach a hurdle with an aggressive lean forward with the chest. Basically, if you do it correctly, you shouldn't have the option of stopping; you should have no choice but to follow it with either a roundoff or front handspring, the alternative being to land on your face.
 

blantonnick

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The Hurdle

Liukin and Gogaladze were both taught their Acrobatics by Valentin Potapenko, Ex USSR Acrobatics National Coach. I had the priveledge to attend the UEG Coaching Course offered in Italy over the summer of 2008 where Potapenko was giving lectures on tumbling. He stressed that the gymnast keep the frame of their body as vertical as possible for the longest time before dropping their hands down to the floor. By doing this the gymnast is able to create the greatest thrust downwards to the floor while performing either the basic roundoff or front handspring.

Therefore, it is essential to keep the head looking directly forward for as long as possible before allowing the body to tilt forward and place the hands on the floor. Any variations to this technique were considered not conducive to powerful tumbling.
 
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kez

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So does it matter if you teach a straight legged hurdle or bent legged hurdle? Is their an advantage of one over the other?

My kids all seem to naturally be more comfortable starting off with a bent knee hurdle but I'm wondering if I should encourage a straight legged hurdle. They also all lack the drive forward and go upwards rarther than long and low. I tried putting out markers where they had to hurdle from one to the other. Also making it a competition to see how long they could make their hurdle. This seemed to confuse some of them, and some of them starting leaping/jumping. I guess they've got a long way to go before they all have a nice strong powerful hurdle.

Thanks for all the comments so far.
 

Geoffrey Taucer

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The back knee doesn't really matter -- it can be straight or bent.

As for the front leg, I specifically teach that it be bent. I know of a few coaches that teach a hurdle with the front leg straight, but I cannot for the life of me figure out what advantage it could have.

If the front knee is bent, that makes it easier for the gymnast to hit a long, deep lunge on the landing, setting them up for a more powerful roundoff.
 

dunno

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Liukin and Gogaladze were both taught their Acrobatics by Valentin Potapenko, Ex USSR Acrobatics National Coach. I had the priveledge to attend the UEG Coaching Course offered in Italy over the summer of 2008 where Potapenko was giving lectures on tumbling. He stressed that the gymnast keep the frame of their body as vertical as possible for the longest time before dropping their hands down to the floor. By doing this the gymnast is able to create the greatest thrust downwards to the floor while performing either the basic roundoff or front handspring.

Therefore, it is essential to keep the head looking directly forward for as long as possible before allowing the body to tilt forward and place the hands on the floor. Any variations to this technique were considered not conducive to powerful tumbling.

i concur 100%.
 

Geoffrey Taucer

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Liukin and Gogaladze were both taught their Acrobatics by Valentin Potapenko, Ex USSR Acrobatics National Coach. I had the priveledge to attend the UEG Coaching Course offered in Italy over the summer of 2008 where Potapenko was giving lectures on tumbling. He stressed that the gymnast keep the frame of their body as vertical as possible for the longest time before dropping their hands down to the floor. By doing this the gymnast is able to create the greatest thrust downwards to the floor while performing either the basic roundoff or front handspring.

Therefore, it is essential to keep the head looking directly forward for as long as possible before allowing the body to tilt forward and place the hands on the floor. Any variations to this technique were considered not conducive to powerful tumbling.

Interesting; I've always thought a hurdle should have an aggressive lean forward in order to get a longer hurdle and to get to the floor faster, but this makes sense as well.

I'll have to experiment with this a bit when I get back into the gym on tues.


I think in many instances, a hurdle will -- to some extent -- self-correct over time, and I think this is probably why you see so many different hurdle techniques at the elite level. Hypolito's hurdle is very different from Legendre's, which is different from Alvarez's, which is different from Dragulescue's, etc.
 
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BlairBob

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If the front leg is straight, it can just bend upon contact with the floor.

I, as well have been teaching the basic lunge and hurdle with a very deep lunge, if flexibility and strength allow. The back and arms are at the same angle as the back heel. Roughly 45 degrees. I exaggerate and show 30 degrees but this is just to give an idea.

Their knee is over their front foot and the chest is over the knee. I will exaggerate and place my chest on my quad of the front leg. However, this is requires a lot of flexibility and strength to move through. It just gives them an idea because if they cannot move out of the lunge, it's a moot point even if I teach them a deep one.

I often use an example that the lunge is from fencing and is a vicious thrust forward. We will often do push to ball of foot, fall forward and hit the lunge position and not lose the proper tight shape. Too often too small of a lunge can really muck up the CW, RO, FHS, and basic kick to HS.

I do notice a lot of elites do hurdle high. I do know most are so powerful, there isn't the need to try to maximize how much power to create from a long leaning lunge/hurdle. It often looks as if their hurdle just floats in the air then falls and their tumbling is a blur.

Still for beginners, I will probably still work what I'm doing. Maybe at higher levels and strength/power levels I'll consider changing it over to the high hurdle. I need to play around with this myself.
 
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gymnut1

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"I do notice a lot of elites do hurdle high. I do know most are so powerful, there isn't the need to try to maximize how much power to create from a long leaning lunge/hurdle. It often looks as if their hurdle just floats in the air then falls and their tumbling is a blur."

oooh - perhaps they are using the technique below. That could create a floating upright hurdle followed by a really fast lunge. Perhaps they are so powerful tumbling because they are maximising their own powef through really good technique. Im liking this idea!


"Potapenko was giving lectures on tumbling. He stressed that the gymnast keep the frame of their body as vertical as possible for the longest time before dropping their hands down to the floor. By doing this the gymnast is able to create the greatest thrust downwards to the floor while performing either the basic roundoff or front handspring. "

What do you think?
 
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BlairBob

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gym is closed tomorrow but I need to write a note to myself to try this on tuesday.

the high hurdle looks cool though
 

Geoffrey Taucer

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If the front leg is straight, it can just bend upon contact with the floor.

I, as well have been teaching the basic lunge and hurdle with a very deep lunge, if flexibility and strength allow. The back and arms are at the same angle as the back heel. Roughly 45 degrees. I exaggerate and show 30 degrees but this is just to give an idea.

Their knee is over their front foot and the chest is over the knee. I will exaggerate and place my chest on my quad of the front leg. However, this is requires a lot of flexibility and strength to move through. It just gives them an idea because if they cannot move out of the lunge, it's a moot point even if I teach them a deep one.

This is exactly how I teach it.
 

gymdog

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Most gymnasts do a "high" hurdle on RO entry vaults. I see it less on floor. I hurdle slightly differently for RO entry vaults and floor myself (I bend my back leg way more for the vaulting). I think sometimes though it can be easy to confusing the need for a more "leaning" hurdle with the need to place the hands further out from the feet so that the arms don't drop and break the body line (mess up the kick over the top, etc). You can hurdle higher and then still not drop the arms once the reach starts, and most higher level tumblers are probably doing this part correctly.

For lower level kids, I think the head/arm alignment and not dropping the arms is pretty critical for them, and most of my lower level kids simply aren't coordinated or fast enough to hurdle the way I think the quote above means (what I think of as a little more like a "yurchenko hurdle" but with a less bent back leg). They would end up diving into the skill, especially on track. Teaching the weight transfer is difficult from that position. I think the hurdle needs to be continually refined as necessary, but with beginners my main goals are like, no diving (very dangerous), appropriate weight transfer, don't drop the arms.
 
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BlairBob

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Played around with this tonight.

I did these mainly from a step hurdle. No run or 3 steps. There is a tendency to kill the snapdown a bit as I don't like bouncing off my shoulders or back on the floor if I really turn it over. It's kinda cool but gets old real fast.

Long story short, I felt the high hurdle allows me more vertical amplitude. This makes sense and I see it a lot for side tumbling passes like RO>side summi/thomas/arabian/etc. It would almost make sense for RO>whip>etc.

As for the long leaning hurdle, it causes me to shoot and carry over a lot more horizontal amplitude. With some turnover, I had to take quite a few steps back not to land on my duff.

Considering the compulsory ( including L7 ) passes tend to be RO>BHS>BHSor RO>BHS>BT/BP/BL it makes sense to use the long leaning hurdle.

AFAIK, whips tend to not be taught till around optionals for T8 for girls and T7 for boys. It may be different with elites as they skip levels AFAIK.
 

Shan126

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May 25, 2009
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If anyone is still looking for drills, here is a good one. Have the gymnast stand on a folded panel mat and make a line in front of it (as far out as you want them to hurdle). Then I give them something to put between their thighs/knees, like a bean bag (We use stuffed froggies for the little kids :)) Have them hurdle off the panel mat as far out as possible and if done correctly, the object should only fall after the line. If done incorrectly the object will land between mat and line.

Another good one is to use one of those octogons "donut mats". They hurddle before it, hands go inside, and feet land on the other side. It teaches them to be powerful and really rebound.

Both drills can be combined when they get the hang of it... hurdle off the panel mat to the ground.. hands inside octogon.. rebound out to other side

Hopefully I explained this ok because it really works!
 
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