Floor - Basics

BASIC SKILLS

Backwards roll
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  • The backwards roll is all about pushing with the arms. A very common error is to roll over one side of the head.
  • The gymnast must place their hands flat on the floor fingers towards their shoulders as they roll back.
  • A good drill to establish this is to have the gymnast roll back place their hands flat on the floor by their head and roll back to a stand
  • Doing backwards rolls down an incline mat will help develop a feel.
  • Be sure to encourage the gymnasts to land on their feet and not their knees. It's an easy thing to fix early, much harder if it gets to be habit.
Bent arm back extension roll
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  • No drills yet available for this skill.
Cartwheel
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  • Start with cartwheels over a panel mat. Just having the gymast stand straddled over the mat, place their hands on the mat, then jumping from foot to foot helps get a start.
  • (For left cartwheel). The gymnast should stand perpendicular to the mat with their left foot touching the right end of the mat. Then reach forward place their left hand on the close side of the mat kick their right leg as they place their right hand on the far side of the mat then landing on their right leg on the far side of the mat.
Forward pike roll
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  • A forward pike roll will help gymnasts extend their forward rolls and forward handstand roll.
  • Like a forward straddle roll the hands need to be pushing on the floor before the feet touch.
  • The gymnast must reach down towards their calves to enable a longer push as they stand.
Forward roll
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  • To start the roll the gymnast needs to squat knees together and place both hands flat on the floor in front of themselves.
  • The gymnast should then tuck their head down while pushing with their legs. They should be sure to keep some weight supported with their arms.
  • Gymnasts should be encouraged to stand up without pushing on the floor with their hands. A good drill is to have the gymnasts rock onto their back and roll up to their feet keeping their arms straight out in front.
Forward straddle roll
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  • Forward straddle rolls are good development for stalders and other skills when done properly.
  • If a beginning gymnast is very inflexible working this is moot until they have gained some flexibility.
  • The gymnast should think about lifting their toes as their feet approach the floor. Their hands should be pushing on the floor before their feet touch.
  • Work towards the straddle roll becoming a stalder press to stand.
Handstand
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  • One of the most important skills in gymnastics is a good solid tight handstand. Without it a majority of other skills will suffer.
  • The handstand should be as tall as possible. The gymnast should be stretching upwards towards the ceiling and staying hollow.
  • The best way to get comfortable in a handstand is to do a lot of handstands. Have handstand contests, work timed handstands for conditioning. Walk around on your hands whenever possible.
  • A gymnast should be able to look at their toes while in a handstand. Doing this requires the handstand to be tight and hollow.
Handstand forward roll
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  • Do a handstand, belly in, against a wall or upright wedge. Hands should be about 6-8" away from the mat or wall. With body tight, and hollow (only feet touching the surface) lean through the shoulders keeping arms straight, looking at toes and roll.
  • A proper handstand forward roll is important for positions and to generate roll speed for other skills. Encourage gymnasts to extend their roll as much as possible.
Neck Kip to Stand
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  • The key to this skill is allowing for a complete push off the floor, and not rushing the skill.
  • Heels should be driven upwards, not forward, as the arms are pushed back.
  • As the kip proceeds the gymnast should arch and keep their head back or neutral to allow for a continuation of the push as the legs drive over.
  • Gymnast should work kips to a bridge. They may require a spot the first few times. After a kip to a bridge is easy, the gymnast should push off with their hands aggressively to reach feet.
Round off
  • One of most important skills for floor. Frequently when a gymnast is unable to do a double back, full-in, or other high level back tumbling skill, the round off is where the problems begin.
  • A deep lunge and long reach are important to generate the proper momentum.
  • An aggressive blocking off of the hands and snapping of the feet are necessary to turn the round off over sufficiently for a stretched back handspring.
  • As for back handsprings, handstand snap downs will help to improve this skill.
  • It is important that the gymnast not leap into the round off. The second foot should not leave the floor before the first hand contacts the floor.
  • The round off should finish in such a way that the gymnast should half to run backwards to avoid falling. The feet should finish in front of the rest of the body with the arms up and a hollow tight body.
  • The gymnasts head needs to be kept in throughout the skill. Leaving the head out causes the round off to go around the side rather than over the top.
  • Work roundoffs over stacked mats, or mat shapes to jump back onto 8 inch mats stacked on to cheese mats.
  • Work round offs blocking from a slightly raised surface. Attempts should over rotate to the back without the feet touching the ground. This will encourage a strong block and snap down.
Straight arm back extension roll
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  • Straight arm backwards pike rolls down an incline mat. The gymnast should lead the roll with their toes. It helps to have the gymnast hook their fingers together with their palms facing the ceiling. The gymnast should come to a stand by pushing their shoulders back when their hands touch the ground.
  • Straight arm back extension rolls down an incline mat. The gymnast should watch their toes the entire time to help keep their head in and body hollow.
  • Repetitive back extension rolls to just short of handstand. A back extension roll should be performed with the head in, looking at the toes. It should stop just short of handstand and roll forward, to a crouch, then repeat.
  • The initiation portion of this skill is important. Most gymnasts tend to lean forward or reach for the ground as they go into the roll. The hands should be kept up and the torso should be vertical. The gymnast should sit back bending their knees slightly, and shortly before their bottom contacts the ground aggressively push backwards for momentum. From here the legs should be kept straight and directed towards the ceiling.