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What are the most important things to develop in new L4 boys?

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JBS

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I'm starting a boys team. What are the most important things for them to develop in the beginning?
 

Geoffrey Taucer

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Circles on mushroom
Strong handstands on floor
Circles on mushroom
Comfortable support swings on p-bars
Circles on mushroom
Tap swings on high bar
Circles on mushroom
 
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BlairBob

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Focus on support and pull strength besides flexibility ( especially in the shoulder flexion and extension ROM ). Support L-sit and beginning back and front levers ( skin the cat and slow skin the cat ). Lots of support work on PB and PH ( I drill stride swing more so than straddle swing ).

All of this support work is to aid in learning circles. Lots of circle walks ( be critical about form ) and bucket circles. Lots of handstands and press handstands on the wall or with a spot. Bridge kickovers and handstand to bridge and back limber. See, that's more shoulder stretching.

Get lots of swing in, be it in support or hang ( on rings or on HB ).

Try to work mushroom every day. Watch for working too much circle work early on and developing forearm splints and take care of their wrists. Young boys tend to slap the mushroom and it abuses the wrists.
 

Hammy20

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Jun 3, 2009
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VA BEACH, VA
Handstands and swings...

A solid handstand on floor. Soon becomes a good swing handstand on PB; and later becomes a good handstand on rings.

Swings. Swings on HB, swings on rings, swings on PB, and swings on PH. Quality swings are key to these events. Swings are the base.

Pull and support strength is important, as well as stomach and lower back strength. L-holds, back levers, pullovers.

Circles on mushroom! Circles on mushroom! Be critical of form. Circle walks, bucket circles. Floor mushroom circles!

If the gymnast learns good form, once they are strong enough, or flexible enough, the skills will be easier. It is easier to teach correct form and make them stronger at the same time, than it is to teach a skill and later have break bad habits and reteach a skill correctly.
 
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BlairBob

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Basically lots of strength.

I am rethinking it would be good to teach focus and discipline. However, we are talking about L4 here.

I really hope I can get my 2nd year L4 to circles by December. It's a long hard road.

Until, strength-strength-strength. And some balance and coordination as these boys don't have a lot of those two.
 

Laura

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Just out of interest what kind of skills are they doing in level 4 and how old??
I have just go a bunch of new kids plus I have 1 who's been in the group for a while and I will be doing (Australian) level 2 with them. so this topic is of real interest to me too!

the ones I have are between 6 and 8 and the main skills they need are
Fx: cartwheel, backward roll, bridge, forward roll straight jump
PH: straddle swings, 'single leg cuts??' and a "flank" dismount?? (not sure of terminology!)
SR: chin-up, inverted hang, inverted pike hold, forward roll to pike hang and basic swings
VT: used to be squat on to vault table and straight jump off, but I think it has changed to handstand flatback on a single crashmat
PB: pike hold, swings
HB: pullover (with assistance), back hip circle (with assistance) underswing, long swings

whats the best thing to do to start circles with tiny! 6 year old boys?? any other ideas of what to work on or tips for how to work these skills??

sorry JBS for hijacking your thread! hopefully we can both benefit from everyones answers! :)
 
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BlairBob

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Laura, that is basically what the boys do here for L4.

On floor they do CW and RO ( to BHS for a bonus ), a press to headstand ( or HS for bonus ) and a straight arm backward roll besides an arabesque and a CW chasse CW.

PH is straddle swings to leg cut, leg cut and mushroom circles.

SR is swinging to invert and doing a pullup and L hang to start. After invert they do a skin the car or back lever to german hang.

V is a straight jump focusing on an arm circle. The powers that be don't like the HS flatback like WAG uses here in the states.

PB is a bunch of support swings with a straddle travel that presses from straddle L to L hold. Swing some more and off to HS or as close as they can get to.

HB is a bunch of swings, a swing 1/2 turn and a cast to undershoot. It used to be back hip to undershoot.

For the lil guys, build a bucket circle rig and swing in it a lot to build that support strength. Swing in support a lot to build the upper body strength. Drill the positions like a clock face. On floor is easier because many boys are too small to do it on a mushroom ( but it can be hard on floor to support on one hand ).
 

Hammy20

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Jun 3, 2009
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To teach circles, I begin with shapes: 1/4, 1/2, 3/4, and full circle shapes. I then use circle walks with pauses in each position for 3 to 5 seconds. Once they've got this down and can show me good shapes, I teach swing to 1/4 circle - hold - and finish the circle by walking. Once they've got that down I do the same thing but now they swing to a 1/2 circle shape. And continue this process until they've done a full circle. I do all of this on the floor mushroom! Once they can do a full circle consistenly, I use the same process as above. Swing a circle and a quarter, or a circle and a half, and walk the rest.

This along with lots of bucket circles, and support exercises seems to work pretty well for the kids at my gym.
 
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BlairBob

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So they don't use the mushroom at all to learn circles, even for the new guys?

Most of my issues stem from they were taught circles by one coach before me and I inherited these kids.
 

Hammy20

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Jun 3, 2009
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VA BEACH, VA
I use the full size mushroom but don't put them on it until they can show me at least one good circle on the floor mushroom, preferably they can do circle and a half or two though...

I have the advantage that I also teach the boy's developmental groups as well as the L4s. So I start them early with the progressions.
 
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BlairBob

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Hmm, I kind of like this idea. I'm pretty sure this could teach those beginning circlers to swing the circle instead of just hop the first half or pike around as most beginning boys do.

My L5 has had trouble cleaning up his circle technique. Ya know, toes pointed, legs together not crossed, extension in hips. That's the issue, though I guess it's mine since I have to deal with it.

Just fyi, I currently teach all the boys, from L1 and up. Just about 20 of them now and slowly growing.
 

Geoffrey Taucer

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I use the full size mushroom but don't put them on it until they can show me at least one good circle on the floor mushroom, preferably they can do circle and a half or two though...

I have the advantage that I also teach the boy's developmental groups as well as the L4s. So I start them early with the progressions.

Interesting. I may have to give this a try.

My lower-level guys all seem to get stuck at 1 circle, unable to connect a second one.
 

Laura

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Would there be any chance of getting some videos of these drills and progressions that you use?? I would love to see them in action as it's a bit hard to picture them (plus having never done these skills myself it's hard to know how they should look etc)

Also, any ideas or suggestions of what to include in a strength program?? I only have about 20 minutes I can dedicate to strength at the moment...... (boys are aged 6 - 10)
 

dunno

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conditioning, rope climbs with and without legs, and press handstands on floor and apparatus. then flexibility and tumbling and trampoline fundamentals. then everything listed above.
 

Pineapple_Lump

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Laura, you could try including a bit of extra conditioning during your apparatus time while they are waiting for turns.

Question for the MG/WG coaches… Circles sound like they can be a bit of a coaching headache at times. Clearly strength and perseverance is needed. Out of interest how do they compare to teaching girls kips? Is it the MG equivalent?
 

Hammy20

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Jun 3, 2009
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VA BEACH, VA
Would there be any chance of getting some videos of these drills and progressions that you use?? I would love to see them in action as it's a bit hard to picture them (plus having never done these skills myself it's hard to know how they should look etc)

Also, any ideas or suggestions of what to include in a strength program?? I only have about 20 minutes I can dedicate to strength at the moment...... (boys are aged 6 - 10)

I will see what I can do in the next week or so to get some of these progrerssions into video form for you...

As for conditioning aspect, I totally agree with Pineapple_Lump. When you set up your circuits have a strength type station. I typically do something that is specific for the skill we are working on, or the event in general.

For pommel I do something I call Pocket Tappers: Basically Front Pocket Tappers are a pushup shape, with toes pointed. Gymnasts then tap one pocket and then the other. This builds a lot of stabilizer strength as well as building the support strength needed for pommel/mushroom. Back Pocket Tappers are similar. Gymnast will be in a support with feet out in fron, belly towards the ceiling in a tight arch. They then take turns tapping the back pockets. On this exercise the tendency is to let the hips sag! If you stay on them about it, it is an awesome exercise. I then do side supports on each side, making sure the stay in a nice tight arch shape. Again builds support strength as wel as stabilizer strength.

For general strength: Dips, leg lifts, presses, ropes climbs, handstand pushups, etc.


Question for the MG/WG coaches… Circles sound like they can be a bit of a coaching headache at times. Clearly strength and perseverance is needed. Out of interest how do they compare to teaching girls kips? Is it the MG equivalent?

The kip can be a headache for the MG coaches also. Teaching form correct circles, and getting them to learn to connect more than one circle is tough too. It's tough to say... I guess I would have to say that teaching circles, is a bigger headache. Anyone else have a thought?
 
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BlairBob

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Kip can be a headache for boys with tight shoulders and poor pike flexibility/compression.

Circles is first being strong enough then learning the rhythm. There is also a rhythm and patience in learning the kip as well but there is that flexibility which inhibits a good kip. A circle only requires shoulder extension flexibility and not much of that when on a mushroom and not doing flops.
 

Laura

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I will see what I can do in the next week or so to get some of these progrerssions into video form for you...

That would be fantastic!! thanks :)

We do most of the suggested excersizes for strength already, but thanks for the ideas! (it's nice to know I'm on the right track! :p)

I like you 'pocket tap' idea though and I will definitely do that.
 

Hammy20

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Jun 3, 2009
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VA BEACH, VA
Hey everyone, I know I promised to get those mushroom circle progressions on video this week, but things have been crazy, and my camera has been on the fritz. So, if everything goes well I'll have them posted Sunday or Monday for you. Sorry about the delay.
 
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