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Category Archives: Balance Beam
Once the gymnasts are demonstrating some improvement on the basic beam walks they may progress to start training little beam hops. This kind of challenge must be introduced on a low beam first and only practiced on the high beam when the gymnast shows safe and fair consistency.
These kind of hops require a good balance control and must not be attempted by novice gymnasts on a high beam. After the athletes have demonstrated acceptable proficiency on a low beam they can progressively move a skill to a medium beam and later on to a regulation height beam. Any type of basic drill hopping on one single leg should be trained on support feet.
Gymnasts at all levels benefit from practicing connected tuck jumps even if they have already mastered them. The jumps can be performed moving forward across the beam like in these examples or connecting several jumps in place without traveling forward, taking off and landing in the same place.
Gymnasts that have mastered straight body jumps moving along the length of the beam can start training this variation where they combine tight arch jumps with hollow shape jumps.
These kinds of activities are good challenges to master during warm ups or gymnastics dance periods. During each jump the legs straighten and the feet switch back and forth to end in the same position that the jump began. After several repetitions the gymnasts change the feet position so they can practice the other side.
The little switch drill is another basic activity to develop jumping confidence on the beam. The feet should be facing forward and not turned in during take off and especially during landings.
Gymnasts that already know how to perform straight jumps up in place may begin practicing 1/4 turn jumps as an introductory drill for more complex 1/2, 3/4 and full turn jumps.
As on the floor the tuck jump on the beam is described as bringing the knees horizontal or higher at peak height. Taking off and landing is performed with one foot slightly in front of the other. As the gymnasts get better they can kick out after reaching the peak height of the tuck.
Practicing straddle L to endo presses on beam is a good drill to develop balance, body control and strength. One of the gymnast’s goals must be to show a good straddle L, and also move in and out of that position with as much compression as possible.
When a gymnast performs this combination, some of the goals are to show the V with the legs pointing up close to vertical. Then continue to show a straddle press with straight arms and eventually a good handstand.