For all the skills in any beam skill training progression system, there are the equipment progressions relating to beam height and padding. All skills should be mastered on a line on the floor and progress eventually to the high beam. Depending on the equipment available in the gym, there are a number of intermediate equipment progression levels. They include:.
1. Tape line on floor.
2. Foam floor beam on mat.
3. Heavily padded low beam.
4. Regulation low beam with mats stacked even with beam.
5. Regulation low beam.
6. Padded medium beam.
Regulation medium beam.
8. High beam with beam platform or stacked mats.
9. Padded high beam.
Regulation high beam with platform mats.
11. Regulation high beam.
Master Each Stage before Moving to Next Level.For safety and personal confidence, the best system is to gain complete mastery at each step of equipment progression. There are some coaches who do not like to include padded beams, especially padded high beams in their progression series, because it returns a crutch that has already been overcome at a lower level.
This seems to be generally sound advice except when a gymnast, perhaps, is unable to progress because of fear caused by a fall and can benefit from more steps of progression.Prove to Yourself You are Ready to Move Up.The most important person to convince that a gymnast is ready to move to the next level is the gymnast themselves. This means that gymnast should have to have 5-10 no-fall repetitions at each level up to the high beam. This equates to 45 out of 46 or up to 90 out of 90 (although not necessarily in a row) successfully stuck skills before gymnasts have to perform the skill on the high beam. This is a seemingly slow but sure method of success.
Actually, because of the safety and consistency of this method, in the long run, it is faster and more efficient.Know and Overcome Danger Points.Gymnasts should be trained and aware of the danger points of each skill that they are performing and concentrate on that first and foremost. For example, when performing a back handspring on the beam, the most dangerous mistake would be to miss the hands and land on your head on the beam. The second danger point is missing the first foot and possibly straddling the beam. Once those danger points have been successfully negotiated, the worst that can happen on any beam is a controlled fall.
All of these steps should obviously be mastered on a line on the floor before even considering moving the skill to beam.Land on the Line.Thus, when gymnasts begin training on a line on the floor, their first concern should be to always get their hands on the line.
When they can get their hands on the line ten out of ten times, they have proved to themselves that they are safe from falling on their head by missing their hands and they can move to mastering the next danger point - missing the first foot.Land Your First Foot.When the gymnast can get their hands on the line and their first foot on the line ten out of ten times, they are ready to add the margin of error landing techniques to the skill. When they can land the skill ten out of ten times without error on the line, they will have developed the true confidence necessary to move to the next equipment level where they will repeat the process.
Back Up If Necessary.This system usually works best with a strategy where the gymnast backs up in the progression if they fall at the next highest equipment level and back up and re-master the previous level to improve confidence and reaffirm technique.Review the Progressions Daily.
Every day, even with old skills, a modified (shortened) equipment progression beginning on the line on the floor is used to check for proper technique and consistency.Eliminates Fear.Fear is often the limiting factor in beam skill development and determining the danger points and training for their safety often eliminates fear from the equation. If, however, there are other fears, additional progressions to eliminate or minimize their impact on the gymnast can be developed specifically to deal with that fear. This system minimizes fear because gymnasts don't move up until it becomes obvious, even to them, that they are capable of performing thee skill on a beam.
A NO-Spotting System.This system can be used without benefit of any spotting. This will eliminate the need for the coach to be running around the beam during meets "standing there" or even actually having to spot during meets.
Coaches may spot at early stages and equipment levels to ensure proper technique is being performed..15 Books and Counting
John Howard is the author of 15 books and e-Books about gymnastics, gym design, gymnastics humor and cheerleading. More books are already on the way.
He has 25 years experience and has coached State, Regional and National champion gymnasts and international competitors and cheerleaders at the National level in NCAA Division I.Enter the Gymnastics Zone
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By: J Howard