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INSTRUCTIONAL: Good instructional articles with illustrations (drawings or photos) for all skill and age levels needed and welcome at the GYMNAST offices. If you have instructional material you feel you would like to share with other GYMNAST readers, do not hesitate to submit them to our instructional editors.

Instructional editor for men: Dr. Gerald S. George Dept. of Physical Education, Old Dominion University Norfolk, Virginia 23508

Instructional editor for women: Mrs. Renee P. Hendershott 17605 Fries Avenue lakewood, Ohio 44107


The theories of jumping which come from the dancer's realm of knowledge relate directly to the gymnast's tumbling and vaulting. The gymnast who studies dance will develop a better understanding of tumbling and will also build the proper strength for increased height. let us examine some rules of jumping which can be applied: I. All jumps originate and terminate with the knees slightly bent. There are two reasons for this: A. One must start from bent knee position to be able to push off from the floor . B. When one lands, the legs take the tremendous shock by acting as springs . If tile landing is made on straight legs, the back and abdominal organs take the brunt of the shock .. They are not made for this! II. The power for a jump must come only from the legs. The torso and arms must not be thrown to assist one in jumping. The body remains straight; before, during and right after the jump. (See Fig.'s 4 thru 10). The tendency for the untrained jumper is to lean forward before jumping, pull back during the jump, and drop the torso forward during the landing.



A. Every time one does this, a tremendous strain is put on the lower back. The same effectwould be acheived by lifting something which is too heavy. B. There are a number of technical mistakes which cause the gymnast to land with the back as in Fig 3. a. Throw too early for hecht dismount : Have to pike to get feet under for landing. b. Over spin on a handspring vault causes upper body to be thrown forward in landing. c. Stall in a layout back flip and have to pike under to get feet under. d. Open up too late in back tuck flip . e. On the other hand there are technical mistakes caused when one uses the torso to assist in a jump.









In thes pictures note the landing . . TOE ... BALL . . . HEEL! (4,5,6 and 7). See the knee and foot extension upon pushoff. (8,9and 10) Torso remains stable throughout jump.

a. The gymnast with underdeveloped leg muscles will throw the head and torso back in an attempt to get over in a back flip. Without proper muscular development in the legs, it is simply impossible to get around any other way. (Typical "swing back " ) b. The gymnast who throws the back into an arch during the hecht dismount usually does not get our-far enough away from the bar and ends up having to bend the knees to get past it. She should have used her leg muscles to help her " pop " off the bar. Although this is not a jump, it is an example of the use of torso instead of the leg muscles and it does produce a bad landing. IV. Immediately upon landing, the pushoff must be made into the next jump. The body will appear to bounce right up off the floor if done correctly. The ability to push off quickly or " punch" is controlled by: A. One's reaction time (which can be speeded up by deliberate practice), and B. Leg strength which can be brought to its optimal development by doing ballet bar exercises daily ... and .... repetitive jumping. The inability to punch out of a landing immediately, causes the timing of a number of gymnastic skills to be thrown off. c. Then there is the vaulter who, instead of punching off the board with a strong upward takeoff, just reaches the horse and kills the vault. d . When the torso is thrown back to help one get up, the jump is never as high or bouncy as it could be. With t~e back in this position it is impossible to use the legs efficiently for apushoff. III. When making a landing, toe, ball, heel, (in that order) must come lightly to the floor as illustrated in Fig.'s 4,5,6, and 7. A . An effort must be made to control the lowering of the heel to the floor for lightness and to prevent injury. (The command "SHHHHH" will make student use the proper muscles to control landings) B. Gymnasts who do many large jumps and tumbling without lowering the heels to the floor in landing are subject to Achilles tendon and ankle injuries.

A . Roundoff back flip. If the gymnast pu~hed off late after the roundoff, the back flip will be directed back more than up. B. Vaulting: If the vaulte r hits the board " dead " , the body moves too far forward before takeoff. This causes the angle of takeoff to be too far forward . Nothing has been gained by using the beat board if the takeoff is not done immediately upon impact. e. The gymnast's performance appears to be heavy and weak. V. As one pushes off from the floor, the feet must arch forcefully and the knees extend to the fullest. Only with full extension does one benefit from the springlike action initiated in the pushoff. VI. Any time the jump includes a turn around one 's vertical axis (such as in a full twisting back layout flip, or a hecht with a twist), all parts of the body must remain close to the vertical axis. This means legs together and straight, arms close to body or up above head, and back perfectly straight. Below are examples of how parts of the body come away from the vertical axis. These all cause an uncontrolled twist and poor landing. The farther the member is from the vertical axis, the slower it will rotate. It is possible to get different parts of the body rotating at different speeds. The twist will go out of control and the back will suffer from stress of twisti ng. CORRECTIONS FOR JANUARY .ISSUE OF . THE 'GYMNAST' MAGAZINE page 34 middle column under Beam: "rings ... do dismount .5 - should read : rings .... no dismount .5" page 34 1st column ••• See material sent for February issue about the USGF/ DGWS Rating exam . .. Judging Guides #1 and #2 no longer in print. They are replaced by 1972 Judging Guide for Women which also indudes notes from Madrid . Page 34 Column 3 ••• Age cut off ••• this was correct at the time , but just received notification that this rule was illegal and they have reverted back to the old rule.

Profile for USA Gymnastics

Gymnast Magazine - February 1972  

Gymnast Magazine - February 1972