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Gymnastics Resources for Parents & Gymnasts

Skill Tips and Hints

Want to practice a bit at home?

As all parents of gymnasts know, you can take a kid out of the gym, but you can't take the gym out of the kid!  In recognition of the fact that kids are going to try doing gymnastics at home, here is a short list of safe skills to practice.
 
Before trying any of these skills, make sure you have adequate space to practice.  Furniture, stairs, and hard surfaces like concrete, are safety hazards which can cause injury.

Forward roll (aka somersault)

         Squat down, tuck your chin to chest (find your belly button), reach forward, tip your hips over your head as you place the back of your head on the floor.

         Make sure not to put the top of your head on the floor, as this can hurt the neck.

Cartwheel

         If you have a hula hoop, throw it down on the ground.  Have your child place his/her hands inside the hoop and kick his/her legs around it (aka. Monkey Jump).  Always start and finish with the belly button facing the hoop.  As s/he becomes more proficient, s/he will kick higher!

         Hands always point to one side when they’re on the ground.

         If your child seems confused about which leg to start in front, put a sticker or stamp on that foot as a reminder.  Note: Many gymnasts write with their right hands, but start cartwheels and handstands with their left foot, and vice versa.  This is natural!

Handstand or donkey kick

         Always start & finish with the same foot in front in a lunge (see note in above). 

         At first, new gymnasts don’t kick all the way up, so just encourage kicking up & landing correctly. 

         Handstands against a wall are a great help, if you have the space, but make sure your child keeps his/her arms straight to protect his/her neck!  Also, stay clear of furniture!

Standing backbend

         Practice walking hands down a wall, looking at the hands as they walk & until they touch the floor.  The feet should stay flat on the floor and the hips should push forward the whole time.

         Then, pushing the hips forward & feet into the floor, carefully walk the hands back up.  Put a pillow on the floor next to the wall in case of mishaps!

Bridge kickover off a sofa or low bed

         First, make sure there’s no furniture to hit!  Do a bridge with feet up on the furniture, hands on the floor.  Push the shoulders AWAY from the furniture, then kick 1 leg over, pushing off with the 2nd foot.  Keep the arms straight!  Finish in a lunge.

         If you can’t hold yourself up with straight arms and shoulders off the sofa for at least 10 seconds, do not attempt to kick over!

Important!

The skills advice provided here is not to be substituted for qualified, professional gymnastics instruction.  This advice is intended to be supplemental to what you learn at your gymnastics club.
 
Do not attempt any skills unless they have been introduced in gymnastics class.  Trying skills before you are ready can lead to serious injury!  Always ask your coach before trying these skills, as your coach knows your abilities best.

Attempting any of the above skills without professional supervision is done at your own risk.