Saturday, November 28, 2015

The Don'ts (per USAG)

Hi Ya'll!  Hope you had a great Thanksgiving!

I have been to quite a few trainings through USA Gymnastics (which I highly recommend!).  In these courses, they would go over skills and drills, in addition to certain skills to avoid.  They were super enlightening as many of the skills to avoid are things you often see in classes, including PE classes at schools!

Here are a few of the things I have learned:

1)  I did a blog post a while ago covering the forward roll and tonic neck syndrome.  You can see that post HERE!  

2)  Frog jumps are a negative!!  Especially for preschoolers!  Especially because they can't do them correctly.  Here is a correct video for older gymnasts...but most youngers when they copy will have their booty either up high in the air, or it will be close to the ground with their knees over bent.

3)  Along with the frog jumps...please watch out for W sitting children!  Super bad for knees!

4)  Back bend/bridges.  These used to be an absolute NO-NO in USA Gymnastics.  More recently, it's been clarified to be a "be careful and don't overdo it."  I maybe do bridges with my 3-4 year old class once or twice a month.  And with those, they are always unassisted (so only as far up as they can go on their own).  This is fairly typical.

5) Hyper extending the back is a NOOOOOO.  Now, you may think that this is the same as a bridge, but there are two main ways to avoid for hyper extension of a preschoolers back.  First, is the fancy rhythmic looking move that I don't know the name for.
And one that is less known as being bad is what is typically known as a pike stretch.  The way to fix this for younger ones is to not force pikes for one, and for two, try to teach it with a flat back where they stretch up tall first and then keep as flat a back as possible as they go down.

6) And last but not least is for the little ones.  When I was growing up, I remember seeing pictures on the TV of Dominique Moceanu as a baby hanging on a clothesline.  Something like this:

This one is good though, cause he has the parents supporting him under his arms.  Children under the age of 18 months are not supposed to hang unassisted from their hands.  Whether off a bar, clothesline or rings, Doctors have clarified for USA Gymnastics that children's shoulders at that age are not developed enough to do that safely.  

Those are the main ones that I make sure to teach my new preschool staff and new parent-tot parents.  Let me know if you have any questions about it!

Sunday, November 1, 2015

Tumble Trak

There are several ways to run a preschool tumble trak rotation!  One is with stations like this video.  Now, I have a couple issues with this , and I will be going over further explanations in future blogs.  

First, I ALWAYS teach preschoolers and beginners to jump with their arms down instead of up by their ears.  Yes, eventually they will need to learn arms up, but as you notice here, this child is above average in ability for preschool, yet she still cannot keep her tummy tight and her head neutral when jumping, which can be super dangerous!

Second, NO SEAT DROPS!  It's bad for a preschooler's back and the chance of them learning correctly and putting their arms by their knees every time instead of behind them is very slim!  :)

I also like to use the edges for teaching my classes.  Stand on red and balance on one foot, then hop to to feet on the trampoline and rebound stick.  (teaches hurdles)

I still do some passes down the entire tramp with my classes!  (even my parent-tot classes).  For long tumble traks, I always cut it much shorter though.  Have a specific place where the kids wait for their turn to go so that there is never more than one at a time traveling down the trampoline.  Then, when doing traveling, always make sure there are appropriate stations on the way back.  Make it an obstacle course! 

For example, if I have 12 kids in my parent and tot class, I make sure that there are 10 additional obstacle stations on the way back to the waiting station.  (and I have heard many an argument against waiting stations but I think they are SUPER helpful).  Not for five kids to be sitting at.  If you have more than one kid sitting then something is wrong with your obstacle course.  I think it is important for students (even toddlers) learn the importance of waiting for their turn and listening for their coach to say their name for their turn (for safety and for the coach/toddler interaction)

Make it a different jump every time around the obstacle course for ages 3+.  For those toddlers, make it a different jump every week.  I also include running as a travel type.  I also will draw (or have one of my more artistic coaches draw) stations that the kids will do a certain kind of jump at.  Example:  for frozen week, we drew 3 snowflakes on the tumble trak.  They would straight jump down to the snowflake, and then get stuck in a blizzard and try a jump spin stick to get out, then onto the next snowflake.  

Hopefully these ideas are being helpful!  I have had a couple other request for topics that I am slowly trying to get through.  Please let me know if you can think of anything else :)