Uneven Bars: Double Layout Dismount
Many female gymnasts who struggle with the double layout dismount off of the uneven bars do so because of the timing of their “tap.” While many coaches have a different interpretations of the “tap,” my definition references the point at which the gymnast transitions from a hollow into an arch position at or nearly underneath the bar. So, from this point forward, you should know exactly to what I am referencing.
I was bored and decided to analyze a couple of different double layouts. For the past year or two, Ivana Hong has really struggled a bit with this dismount while Bridget Sloan performs it seemingly effortless. Therefore, I decided to do a little comparison between the two utilizing their routines from the 2009 VISA Championships. The videos are below.
First, here’s Bridget.
Next, here’s Ivana.
After stopping the video at several points, the following are the noticeable differences that I found between the two performances.
At approximately 45 degrees below horizontal, let’s look at a comparison between the two.
Notice here how Ivana has already “opened up” whereas Bridget stays more “hollow.” By staying in more of a hollow shape, Bridget is able to create more deformation (“bend”) in the bar in my estimation. This additional “bend” in the bar stores more elastic (strain) energy and contributes to her rotation upon release.
Now, let’s look at the two at a position directly underneath of the bar.
Notice the “bend” in the bar (a slight bit more for Bridget) as well as the more pronounced arch position as compared to Ivana’s position. Further, in the next sequence of images, you’ll notice the early “kick” into the double layout for Ivana such that she struggles to make the necessary rotations.
Now, here’s Bridget.
Notice how Bridget holds the arch past the bottom and “kicks” later into the double layout and is able to easily complete the rotations.
So, how would I fix Ivana’s double layout dismount? I would work very hard to get her to hollow the downswing longer, “tap” later, hold the “tap” through the bottom longer, and this would result in a later “kick” into the dismount and probably a more successful performance.
Many men’s coaches who have moved over to coaching women’s gymnastics tend to promote the early tap as the men do. Unfortunately, the womens’ uneven bar rail is a much different apparatus and women in general, are smaller. As a result, they are unable to produce the degree of “bend” in the rail as the men do. This is particularly true when they attempt to perform the early, exaggerated tap that the men do.
If you notice, most of the gymnasts who swing as I am describing are performing full-in or full-out types of dismounts or something completely different such as a double front, for example. The early, exaggerated “tap” swing mechanics for the women will give you a lot of height, but lacks rotation. If you want your gymnasts to have a good double layout, I encourage the mechanics that I am suggesting and they will likely be a lot more successful.
Hopefully, this gives you a bit more insight into the double layout dismount from a coaching perspective. Please feel free to share your insights or any disagreements.