This is a video of my Release Moves Lectures. Because of it’s size I had to divide it into 2 Parts.
Any Questions or comments feel free to reach out to me.
Toe on toe off to handstand is a skill nearly every gymnast should have in their repertoire.
Perhaps it is my own teaching style or the progressions I use but I have found toe on toe off a little easier than clear hip circle. If I have 10 gymnasts I can probably get 8 of them to clear hip handstand. Of that 8, 2 of them will do it well.
With a Toe on Handstand, I can still get 8 out of 10 to do toe on handstand but at least 6 can do it well.
Since all circling skills on bars should start and end in handstands, at the beginning and the end the hips will be (for example) 2.5 feet from the bar. During the circle, the hips only come in slightly.
Another benefit of the toe on handstand is that it is easier to transition to other in bar circling skills like stalders.
I recently had to replace some rails in my gym. I set the old rail to the side.
I notice I have NO LESS than 8 old rails over there. What do I do with all of these.
NO- I do not need any more floor bars
NO- I do not need any more leg lift bars or stall bars.
Give me some ideas before I throw these out! Serious, humorous All ideas accepted!
There has to be something I haven’t thought of.
Contact me: or e-mail me at tony AT gym Momentum.com
Who knows- best idea may get a prize.
Bars has become more about in-bar skills. Clear hip, Stalders and Toe on Handstands.
Jason Mortimer from BOUNCE GYMNASTICS in Michigan put together a good video of some basic drills.
Incorporate these into your stations now and be prepared for next year.
Thank You Jason for sharing!
It takes time to teach a good pirouette. The best way I have found to do this is is to start early. Introduce the drills fairly early in a gymnasts career so that they have the base when it is time.
Here are some of the drills I try to get done on a regular basis.
Do You have a favorite drill that is not on the video? Share it!
Thank you all for having me down to your Region. You have a great Region and a great Congress. I felt very welcomed! I hope my lectures were informative and made you think! Hope too see you soon. Please share any photos you took during my lectures so I can prove that I actually worked while I was there!
Special Shout Outs to:
– Coaches As Educators (BTW- sorry for making you cry)
– Failure a Prerequisite for Success (part of coaches as educators lecture)
– Bar Plan (lecture slides coming soon. Here is link to article I wrote on it It covers 99% of lecture)
Share your thoughts and comments on the Gym Momentum FB page.
To learn More about US Elite Coaches Association
Coaching Bars can be exhausting. You are spotting cast handstands and in bar skills by the millions. You are shaping the gymnasts, trying to get in routines and extra skills. As I have stated previously you need to stay about 18 months AHEAD in order to continue to progress.
Here are some drills for the gymnasts to do alone while you spotting or working on other things.
In Developing A Plan For Bars I wrote about the importance of having a plan to teach skills in the right order. There are few skills that are more important (or more deducted) than the Cast Handstand.
I had a coach ask me, “is there a way to teach cast handstands WITHOUT spotting?” In short. NO. Or at least not that I have found.
I am not a proponent of mindlessly spotting casts over and over and HOPING that a gymnast can figure it out. Like everything, you need a plan.
Reasons for spotting:
MUSCLE MEMORY through repetition of the correct BODY POSITION
Alleviate Fear. Most have hear of falling over. That is why in the process I teach a 1/2 pirouette. They will know what their body has to do if/when they fall over. I also make sure I spot cast handstands on the high bar as well.
Cast Handstand Progression
Here are a few of the drills I use that do not need spot. I do believe you need to monitor everything to ensure correct body positions.
Some Spotted Drills
Stable Cast Handstand Drills
I am sure I will be adding to this.
Send me YOUR IDEAS!
Developing a Plan for Uneven Bars
If you are going to be successful at coaching bars, you need a plan. Every gymnast is going to be a little different, every group of gymnasts you have will be different from past groups. Knowing this, when you create your plan keep it general. You will fill in the specifics later based on the needs of individuals. There can be no generic plan. I think the best way to get an idea for YOUR plan is an example of what goes in to mine.
I will be posting a few of my favorite drills for all of these skills in the near future BUT It must start with a plan.
Let me know your thoughts and share your favorite drills
The 18 Month Rule.
Once you get past Level 3, you need to make sure that your gymnasts stay about 18 months ahead with the skills they need for the future. (They should be about twice that on floor!). I have been in gyms where it took nearly the entire bar workout to get the gymnasts through their routines. Dividing my bar workouts into thirds.
I like to make sure is that the gymnast gets their dismount first. They should have a dismount that they can compete and a dismount that is in their training routine. My reasoning is that if they are comfortable with their dismount, they can focus on the other elements in their routines. As they go into competitions their routine will be newest skills to oldest skill.
I teach fly aways with little kids (level 3) on low bar. Why? Because they are little and light! I do NOT teach tuck flyaways. I go right to layouts. My theory is that a body will follow its feet. If they tuck their feet are CLOSER to the bar. Most kids are afraid of kicking the bar. You might as well teach them to swing up and away in a layout.
A gymnast should be able to do a fly away from all 4. You never know when or how they will need it in the future.
Front Fly away
I teach this and let them do it alone over the pit pretty young. Reality is that when they are learning this they are falling faster than flipping. They are getting comfortable with a front flip. Most gymnasts do not swing hard enough so many will do a pike or ugly tuck. This doesn’t make me happy but I do not worry about it too much.
We all agree that cast handstands take a HUGE amount of time. We spot these (or should) everyday. Hundreds if not thousands of repetitions. I like to introduce the cast to handstand as early as level 3. While I am teaching cast handstands I teach a 1/2 pirouette at the same time. Many beginner optional gymnasts have a lot of fear with falling over the bar on cast handstands. So I teach a pirouette at the same time. If they are comfortable with falling (and turning) they will go for it harder. It takes countless repetitions. Be patient.
The next thing we spend a lot of time coaching and spotting on bars are inbar skills. For most of the gymnasts that is clear hip circles and toe on handstands. I start every gymnast with clear hip circles but move to toe on handstand pretty quick. I feel that I can spend 80 hours working with a group of 10 gymnasts and get 1 really good clear hip circle (but still with some inconsistency) and maybe 2 other with reasonable clear hip circles. 2 more that occasionally make it to handstand and the rest really struggle with form, handstands etc. Spending the same amount of time on Toe on Handstands I have found more success and those gymnasts transition more easily into stalders.
This skill is often looked at as the make or break skill for many beginner optional gymnasts. You need it to be competitive at Level 7 and it really is a must for all advanced skills that come after that. I have always tried to teach front and back giants at the same time. Many of the drills are the same. It is important with front giants to also teach a “beat tap” as opposed to an uprise tap. With out this tap the gymnast will struggle with Jaegers or double fronts. If a gymnast does not front giant they will never be totally comfortable with pirouettes.
When learning giants I want the gymnasts to be comfortable swinging in all grips (over grip for back giant. Under grip and “L” (eagle) grip for front giants) and facing both directions.
Once a gymnast can front giant (with spot) I want them to begin to pirouette (blind changes and higgens). This is nearly simultaneous. I want the gymnasts to be relatively free from fear swinging in under grip before they blind change. If they know what is going to happen going over the bar when they pirouette and what their body is going to do under the bar, they will be more comfortable in doing the pirouette. REMEMBER to teach a gymnast how to pirouette OUT of their front giant and how to FAIL. The more comfortable they are, the more aggressive they will be in their tap and the more willing they will be to experiment (play) with new skills.
Release Moves The Big 3. Jaeger, Tkatchev, Gienger.
I start everyone with drills for Jaeger and Tkatchev. Those 2 share a lot of the same drills and the hecht action is necessary for the toe on “hic-cup” to high bar.
The Jaeger is my current preference to push early because I think it may be the most difficult and therefore takes the longest to learn. If a gymnast has a blind change to Jaeger they have at least +.2 in bonus and fulfill 3 special requirements in that they turn, they have a release move, they are in under grip.
The Tkatchev as I stated shares many of the same drills as Jaeger and helps in other skills. This needs to be viewed as a BASE in that there are SO MANY skills that use that action (Hic-cup, Tkatchev, Maloney, Ray, Shaposhnikova, Hindorf, Kim, etc). A Tkatchev also has a fairly large margin of error and still be able to catch.
Gienger- I have been pretty successful teaching kids this skill but I view it more as a skill for the right gymnast. One who has a big “floaty” flyaway.
At the JO level I think many gymnasts have an easier time with a Pak because they can set the bars WIDE and have the low bar higher than FIG which helps hide some of the common problems. Although I do NOT think the skill itself is that complicated, keep in mind that most gymnasts are going to need to Kip cast 1/2 pirouette out of it. If you have a gymnast who struggles with pirouettes, you may want to teach an over shoot.
This is the first in a series of posts. I will be breaking down and posting drills for each skill.