Welcome to our Gymnastics Community
Wanting to join the rest of our members? Feel free to sign up today.
Sign up

Twisting direction question

Status
Not open for further replies.

Cascade

Member
Feb 22, 2007
63
I apologize if this question has been posed before, but I obviously didn't pay attention if it was:eek:.

My daughter is just learning to twist. She feels she should be twisting to the left because she is a righty; however, she feels most comfortable twisting to the right.


What is the most common twisting direction for a righty?? I am certain that there are exceptions to the rule. I shuffle cards, golf, shoot a puck and bat a ball left, but I am a righty. Maybe she's just an oddball like me!:confused:

As always, I appreciate any advice.
 

lannamavity

Member
Sep 13, 2007
409
way out West
There really is no definitive answer here.

I read a recent study showing that most gymnasts do a right hand roundoff and twist right. The next most common group does a left roundoff and twists left. The first group of "weirdos" do a right roundoff and twist left, and the most unusual do a left roundoff and twist right.

But those statistics don't mean anything to an individual trying to figure out which way to go.

All Chinese gymnasts do left roundoff and twist left. I've never heard a clear reason why.

For twist-step out reasons and vault twisting ease, twisting in the direction of the roundoff hand is most convienent, and may be the best bet. If kids twist that way naturally, I would just leave it alone and most people do.

Twisting direction has very little to do with hand dominance, and more to do with orientation when upside down.

But there are some coaches who have all sorts of reasons why they turn one way or another.

The only absolutes are that:

A gymnast should learn to twist in the same direction regardless whether they are flipping forward or backward to avoid disorientation on more advanced skills.

A gymnast who learns to twist as an extension of a "barani-style" roundoff with no hands is actually twisting OPPOSITE their roundoff hand. It's just bad to teach twisting this way.

In the beginning, twisting is going to feel weird no matter what. Eventually, gymnasts settle in to one direction or other.
 

Geoffrey Taucer

Former Admin
Verified Coach
Coach
Proud Relative
Proud Parent
Gymnast
Former Gymnast
Judge
Club Owner
Fan
Jan 21, 2007
3,913
Baltimore, MD
Country
USA
I've heard coaches debate this for hours.

I just let kids twist in whatever direction they're most comfortable with. My only rule is that they twist the same direction forwards as backwards.
 
H

hammy

Guest
I agree with both of the previous posts. As a lefty gymnast, I just always liked twisting to the left, but I had some teammates who twisted right who were lefty gymnasts. Like GT said, I usually just let my gymnasts pick which way feels the most comfortable for them.
 

Cascade

Member
Feb 22, 2007
63
Thank you for the advice. I imagine they will figure it all out in the gym, but I was just curious to know if the coaches had a preference.
Enjoy your week!:)
 

blantonnick

Coach
Coach
Former Gymnast
Judge
Club Owner
Apr 17, 2007
174
USA
All Chinese gymnasts do left roundoff and twist left. I've never heard a clear reason why.

I have posted this before but thought it would be beneficial to the conversation...
What I am about to explain is something that I am not totally in agreement with but I believe is a very interesting way of looking at the concept of twisting direction…A fellow colleague of mine, and I were on the topic of twisting and he brought up a very thought provoking way of looking at the direction of twist and its implications.
My colleague, decided after retiring from gymnastics to take up bull riding. In bull riding, the participants are strapped into the bull by one arm while the other arm is used freely to try and maintain balance for an allotted amount of time. On the first attempt, he was asked which hand was his dominate (right arm) and which was his non-dominate (left arm). Coincidentally, he was instructed to strap his left arm down to the bull, and use his right arm as the balancer. In other words, his non-dominate arm was used as a stabilizer, while his dominate arm was the active/working mechanism. Bull riding caused my colleague to question many things about sport and its implications. One of these questions became – How and Why to we come to choose a particular direction of twist for gymnastics.
I think the majority of us would conclude that the majority of the world’s population are right handed. In other words, right-armed people dominate the world, left handed people are a minority (I am one of them). It is quoted in Wikipedia that ‘In 1998, a study suggested that approximately 7 to 10 percent of the adult population was left-handed’ (Hardyck, C., & Petrinovich, L. F. (1977). "Left-handedness", Psychological Bulletin, 84, 385–404.)
Following this well documented concept, there are many examples of sport adapted to this majority. In almost all racing sports the track goes counter-clockwise around the track (in the USA). I do not believe that this is a coincidence, rather I think that racing has adapted to the fact that when you turn a steering wheel, you pump your right arm, or you push the bike handle, the majority of the population find it more comfortable to use their right arm to drive through the left turns. Therefore, it seems very interesting to think that the only sport in the USA that goes clockwise around a track is dog racing, a non-human driven sport!
In gymnastics there are some who have adapted the way they teach gymnasts to this concept. In some nations, for instance the former Soviet Union, the choice has been standard in which direction to twist – it is deemed left for all individuals, regardless of haptic/optic testing, left is standard. There are exceptions to this rule, Vitaly Sherbo being one of them, however, we have to ask why this would be the case?
If you run along the principle of the non-dominate arm to stabilize and the dominate arm to provide work as presented above in the bull riding paradigm, then it makes more sense. The coaches are considering that the majority of their gymnasts will be right handed so why not let their left arm be the stabilizer and allow the right arm to throw across their body to work a left twist. It seems that almost 90% of the time they will get the choice correct, considering documentation has been given that between 7 – 10% of the adult population is left handed.
But what about those 7-10%? What happens when they learn to twist the wrong direction? I am a left handed person and learned to twist right…It seems that I fit the paradigm in twisting. I have tried twisting left but it seems that I twist early and can not seem to drive the twist fast no tight enough. Why do I twist early? My dominate arm seems to want to work faster instead of having a stabiliser to set the twist squarely first.
The conversation has been very interesting for me to examine my own gymnastics and this seems a great forum to think about the implications of the majority of the population being right handed and how it has affected gymnasts and coaching principles in twisting.
 

lannamavity

Member
Sep 13, 2007
409
way out West
All Chinese gymnasts do left roundoff and twist left. I've never heard a clear reason why.

I have posted this before but thought it would be beneficial to the conversation...
What I am about to explain is something that I am not totally in agreement with but I believe is a very interesting way of looking at the concept of twisting direction…A fellow colleague of mine, and I were on the topic of twisting and he brought up a very thought provoking way of looking at the direction of twist and its implications.
My colleague, decided after retiring from gymnastics to take up bull riding. In bull riding, the participants are strapped into the bull by one arm while the other arm is used freely to try and maintain balance for an allotted amount of time. On the first attempt, he was asked which hand was his dominate (right arm) and which was his non-dominate (left arm). Coincidentally, he was instructed to strap his left arm down to the bull, and use his right arm as the balancer. In other words, his non-dominate arm was used as a stabilizer, while his dominate arm was the active/working mechanism. Bull riding caused my colleague to question many things about sport and its implications. One of these questions became – How and Why to we come to choose a particular direction of twist for gymnastics.
I think the majority of us would conclude that the majority of the world’s population are right handed. In other words, right-armed people dominate the world, left handed people are a minority (I am one of them). It is quoted in Wikipedia that ‘In 1998, a study suggested that approximately 7 to 10 percent of the adult population was left-handed’ (Hardyck, C., & Petrinovich, L. F. (1977). "Left-handedness", Psychological Bulletin, 84, 385–404.)
Following this well documented concept, there are many examples of sport adapted to this majority. In almost all racing sports the track goes counter-clockwise around the track (in the USA). I do not believe that this is a coincidence, rather I think that racing has adapted to the fact that when you turn a steering wheel, you pump your right arm, or you push the bike handle, the majority of the population find it more comfortable to use their right arm to drive through the left turns. Therefore, it seems very interesting to think that the only sport in the USA that goes clockwise around a track is dog racing, a non-human driven sport!
In gymnastics there are some who have adapted the way they teach gymnasts to this concept. In some nations, for instance the former Soviet Union, the choice has been standard in which direction to twist – it is deemed left for all individuals, regardless of haptic/optic testing, left is standard. There are exceptions to this rule, Vitaly Sherbo being one of them, however, we have to ask why this would be the case?
If you run along the principle of the non-dominate arm to stabilize and the dominate arm to provide work as presented above in the bull riding paradigm, then it makes more sense. The coaches are considering that the majority of their gymnasts will be right handed so why not let their left arm be the stabilizer and allow the right arm to throw across their body to work a left twist. It seems that almost 90% of the time they will get the choice correct, considering documentation has been given that between 7 – 10% of the adult population is left handed.
But what about those 7-10%? What happens when they learn to twist the wrong direction? I am a left handed person and learned to twist right…It seems that I fit the paradigm in twisting. I have tried twisting left but it seems that I twist early and can not seem to drive the twist fast no tight enough. Why do I twist early? My dominate arm seems to want to work faster instead of having a stabiliser to set the twist squarely first.
The conversation has been very interesting for me to examine my own gymnastics and this seems a great forum to think about the implications of the majority of the population being right handed and how it has affected gymnasts and coaching principles in twisting.
This completely describes the way I twisted: Left...while being right handed.

Ironically, I have even told kids that twisting is kind of like "turning a big steering wheel".

But the problem comes with the roundoff. It makes perfect sense to me, personally, to do a right handed roundoff, because I am right handed (though I know that statistically, that doesn't really matter.) It makes further sense, because a right handed roundoff is actually a twist to the left, and I always had better spacial awareness while looking left.

While I understand the connection of a "left turn" or "counter clockwise" movement to a right handed person, that wouldn't explain a left handed roundoff for all Chinese athletes...after all, a left handed roundoff is actually a left twist.

The enigma which is twisting direction lives on...
 
Last edited:
Status
Not open for further replies.

Similar threads