Alyssa Moore’s tight body drill, and variations thereof

While this blog was initially aimed at parents, I seem to have a lot of coach readers as well. So in this column, I’m going to share some drills that I’ve found to be extremely effective in training a tight body and strong aerial awareness to young gymnasts.

I got this first drill from Alyssa Moore, one of our preteam coaches at Apex.

The gymnast stands with a straight, tight body

The coach pulls on the gymnast lightly, causing her to fall forward

The gymnast maintains her tight, straight position as the coach tosses her into a salto

The gymnast lands safely in the pit

The idea is that there should be zero change in the gymnast’s body position throughout this drill. This drill teaches two things: first, it allows the gymnast to begin growing accustomed to the sensation of flipping without having to worry about the mechanics of takeoff or landing; second, it teaches the gymnast to resist the natural impulse to go loose while airborne.

As the gymnast gets a bit more advanced, variations on this drill can be used to train the awareness and positions for many other skills, including…

Back layouts:

The gymnast stands on a block with her back to the pit. There should be just enough room for the coach to stand between the block and the pit

This is a good point to stop the gymnast and make any necessary corrections to body position

The coach spots the gymnast on a back salto into the pit. Again, the goal is for there to be absolutely no change whatsoever in the gymnast's body position

Front layouts:

The gymnast stands on the block, facing the pit, in a slight arch with the head up

The coach catches the gymnast as she falls forward. Again, this is a good point to stop and make any necessary corrections to body position

The gymnast maintains her body position through the salto...

... and lands safely in the pit.

Even twisting:

The gymnast begins with a completely straight body, arms out to the side

The gymnast drops one arm to the side while raising the other arm...

...causing her to twist

By isolating the salto and eliminating the takeoff and landing phases from the equation, this drill allows the gymnast to focus specifically on airborne body control and spatial awareness, both of which will be crucial when they are learning more advanced skills.

(by the way, if any of my readers are good with photoshop and can brighten up the back layout images, let me know)

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2 Responses to Alyssa Moore’s tight body drill, and variations thereof

  1. Pingback: Drills for airborne body control, aerial awareness

  2. Valentin says:

    I like these… thanks for sharing

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