Archive for the ‘Uneven Bars’ category

Teaching Casts to Little Ones

November 30, 2011

Underswing Dismounts

October 1, 2011

Pak Progressions

March 20, 2010

First of all, sorry for the lack of updates.  I am not sure about Troy, but my life has been pretty hectic of late with a crazy schedule such that I am on the go very early, get home relatively late, and am just too tired to think.

With that said, I knew that I had to get something up and decided to provide you with a clip of progressions for the Pak salto.  In my opinion,  it’s rare these days that I see a good Pak salto performed.  Typically, it’s a “head-throw, flippy-thing” down to the low bar that  lacks amplitude and is often difficult for the gymnast to glide out of.

So, here’s another clip from one of my favorite coaches in the U.S. – Boise State co-head coach, Neil Resnick. (I probably have 20-25 of Neil’s lectures recorded ranging from “recreational bars” to “advanced releases”)   This is a bit old – it’s from a 2002 lecture at the Illinois State Congress.  With that said, I still think the points are more than valid and worth checking out.

I hope that you enjoy.

Note:  I pulled this from a VHS and I think that the sound quality is better than the hurdle videos from before.  With that said, I apologize if the sound quality is not ideal – if you use headphones, you shouldn’t have too much difficulty hearing.

Uneven Bars: Double Layout Dismount

March 6, 2010

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.

Ivana Near 45 Degrees Below Horizontal To The Bar

Bridget Near 45 Degrees Below Horizontal To The Bar

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.

Ivana Underneath of The Bar

Bridget 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.

Ivana Past Bottom Of Bar

Now, here’s Bridget.

Bridget Past Bottom Of Bar

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.

“If You Don’t Have Time To Do It Right, When Do You Find Time To Do It Over?”

January 29, 2010

I have a pretty extensive video library of gymnastics training videos that I’ve either bought, recorded myself, or copied from other coaches.  So, I pulled several excerpts from one of my favorite videos – “Double This, Double That.” This is a video that was distributed by the former USAIGC and is a lecture put on by Dave Adlard around 1996.

Dave has a video available through GymSmarts called Cool Games & Fun Warm-Ups.  Go check it out!

Dave and his wife also host a big meet out in Coeur d’ Alene, Idaho called the Great West Gym Fest.

This lecture is not only entertaining and informative, but it has been very instrumental in shaping a lot of my philosophy and ideology on gymnastics training.  If you are still not convinced about the importance of sound basics in a developing gymnast, hopefully if we continue to “beat a dead horse into the ground,” we can convince you!

Maybe those of you who read this blog are convinced.  Fantastic!  Unfortunately, every time I walk into a meet, I constantly see the same stuff – sloppy, poor technique and it all stems from neglected basics. So, it’s pretty obvious to me that not everybody gets it.  Oh, they all “talk the talk,” but I see so few who “walk the walk.”

Here are two excerpts from the video.  The first video talks about training gymnasts right the first time and the second excerpt explains how practice is permanent.

Again, these excerpts were taken from a VHS video using Dazzle software.  If the sound quality is poor, I apologize.  You should be able to hear fine if you turn up your speakers or plug in your headphones.

Late Toe-On Drill

December 30, 2009

Here’s a drill that I found while surfing around on YouTube. I have done the drill with a floor bar, but why didn’t I think of doing it as such as a first progression? This is like a “Duh” moment.

The video is from another website that you should definitely check out There is also a blog associated with the website.

Progressions for Giants

July 1, 2009

Here are some good progressions for giants as shown by Enrique Trabanino from Cincinnati Gymnastics Academy. He is the narrator. Here’s a link to his website: On his site, you can find a list of skill progression and conditioning DVD’s that he has made for his lectures that are available for purchase.

Kip Tutorials

July 1, 2009

Here are a few kip training tutorials that I found on YouTube. Good stuff – so check these out.

Kip Development

November 23, 2008

I am truly amazed at how many gymnasts cannot perform a glide kip very well.  The net result is that a poor kip leads to difficulty transitioning into the next skill.  Usually, the next skill is a cast or cast to handstand.  Furthermore, I’m amazed even more at how many gymnasts cannot perform a good glide swing.  In my opinion (as well as others), the days of “pike” glides are over.  Gymnasts should strive to tuck the hips under (posterior pelvic tilt) and maintain more of a hollow glide shape.

Furthermore, the gymnast must understand how to jump and elevate the hips while also maintaining a hollow chest on the back side of the glide.  As they swing through the bottom, the feet will remain near the ground with the hips tucked under and the chest hollow.  On the front side of the glide, the gymnast should strive to swing as high as possible (as near to bar height as possible) with the hips extended (gluteal contraction) and the chest pulled in.

Many gymnasts are unable to maintain a hollow chest and lack the gluteal and abdominal strength to tuck the hips under.  Here’s a video from YouTube on how I think that coaches ought to be training the glide kip.  Of course, doing a lot of isolated glides by themselves should be done for many months or longer before worrying about the kip.

Now, while this video depicts my approach to training kips, I don’t like the pike that occurs initially off of the block.  I usually have gymnasts stand with the bottom of their feet on the very edge and get them to sort of slide off of the block as opposed to jumping.  Because of that pike, the gymnast is unable to swing close to bar height (straight out from the bar).  One thing that I do like where the coach is stopping the feet at the end of the kip.  Notice the deep pike.  That allows the gymnast to learn where the feet need to be so that she is in a position to cast afterwards.  Furthermore, notice that the chest is pretty hollow at the end with the head/eyes focused down.  Many gymnasts do not maintain a hollow as they pull the bar down their legs into front support.  Additionally, many lay the head back or look up at the finish and this causes the chest to arch.

I’d highly recommend taking this approach to training kips.  Will it take longer?  Yes.  But, will you get a better result?  Absolutely.  Personally, I’d rather spend the extra months or longer to develop a stronger kip.