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By David Martin, Coach Town North YMCA Twisters Dallas, Texas

All you need is a deep pool, a vau lt and a hard-wo rkin g gym nast who can swim . Many gymnasts are afraid of landing on a crash pad for fear of landin g o n th e ir head. Let t hem land o n their head - into a pool of water. Think about it. Wouldn't you try a double back off a set of rings suspended ov e r a poo l of wate r? If yo u missed badly you'd just splash. If you mi ssed onto a crash pad you co uld possibly get hurt. The same goes for vaulting. If you blew the va ult a ll yo u cou ld do is splas h into the wate r - not sp lat on a c rash pad. I'm one of those coac hes who can teac h ce rta in moves but has never tried them. Mark Spitz's swimming coach cou ldn ' t swim! What we did was p ut a va ult and a set of uneven parallel bars by the edge of the deep end of a friend 's pool. " Tuff-Sk in " on the vault and on the hands (eve n wet) is a necessity. I also make my gymnasts diagram exact ly w hat va ult they are doing with stick figures so I know that they understand w hat they are doing. We had a splash. After five tries at a Tsukahara , I had it well enough to try onto a c rash pad . My oldest gymnast, Billy Booth, and I had a blast trying handspring 1Y2' s, hecht fronts a nd even came close to a hecht back. We did Rigby's off the high bar of the un evens. The reason we did it better in to a pool was the fact that we knew we wou ldn 't get hurt. We gave it a ll we had and didn ' t worry about our land ing. GYMNAST Apr. ' 75

Su re, we hit wrong and splashed a lot of water, but we wouldn't have gotten up if we had landed li ke that onto a crash pad. We learned more in one after noon than we had in weeks. The reason was no fear of our la路n ding. The wonderful thing about th is method is that t he gymnast does ALL the work and the coach just coaches. When the gymnast gets the move down wel l enough into the water, he can go to the equipment with little or no need of a spotte r. Just think of the possibilities of worki ng doub le backs off of a high bar placed into a pool or learning hechts from the top bar of the unevens in to a pool - unspotted! This procedure is not all fun and games. It 's hard but very rewarding work. I have designed layo uts and am building eq u ipment for working hi gh bar, uneven bars, va ulting and rin gs over or int o a poo l and would be glad to send them to you or answer any questions you may have. There are two drawbacks to this kind of techn iq ue . Fi rst, the gymnast must dry off after every move and second, the gymnast must be ab le to swim. Good luck to you and if you need any help just write me. David Martin Coach, Town North YMCA Twisters 6529 Lafayette Way Dallas, Texas 75230

Pl a ns a re in th e ma kin g fo r a gy mn asti cs pool at the North Town " Y", to se t in bar supports. 35

Profile for USA Gymnastics

Gymnast Magazine - April 1975  

Gymnast Magazine - April 1975