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Trampoline Kick Outs With Arms Down!

Updated: 2 hours ago

Trampoline Training Log #12:

The biggest mistake that many young trampoline athletes make at the early stages of their training and development is allowing their arms to come up above their head long before the landing.

Dong Dong, of China, competes in the men's trampoline gymnastics final at the 2020 Summer Olympics, clinching record 4th medal (AP Photo/Natacha Pisarenko)

This is a large deduction in trampoline scoring when competing, as it shows a lack of control. Why? Because it means that instead of ideally landing with arms right by the sides, the athlete was forced to make an ‘early’ adjustment to lengthen the body by bringing the arms up before they accidentally over-rotate. Most athletes simply do not realize the effect of the arms going up or down and do not realize the difference in rotation.

My favourite drill to help help an athlete calibrate for this is to eliminate the arms up all together. I tell athletes to do all of their tricks (Back Tuck, Barani, Fliffus, etc.) and land with arms down by the sides. I do not need them to do linked skills, I just need them to slow down their body WITHOUT using the arms. The athlete will do a Back Flip and kick-out to try and land with arms down, without over-rotating. The first few they will normally over-rotate and you will see the “ahhhhaaa” moment where the athlete realizes how much they actually rely on that final ‘arm up’ movement to adjust at the last minute.

This drill will teach the athlete to adjust their take off, position and timing of kick-out BEFORE the arms come up as a last resort. Again, we want the athletes to feel the mistake they are trying to avoid. Coaches will say things like “hold the line longer,” as if that is the problem. That is NOT the problem. It is the rotation the athlete had long before they did the kick-out.

As a coach, you don't have to worry about telling them the answer, since they will usually forget or not even listen in the first place, since there is other stimuli constantly distracting them. I'm sure you can demonstrate a good kick-out with arms down, but the athlete has no way to know what actual part of the skill created that arms down motion. In this way, as Confucius says, the athlete really has to go through the motion to understand it. When you can, give the athlete a maze, like this drill, to force them to experience the behaviour you need on the trampoline. If the athlete can physically feel the over-rotation, they are more likely to learn to control it and avoid it compared to all hearing or seeing.

There is a link to a great analysis below that discusses how important it is for babies to explore through locomotion. Your athlete should be no different.

By: Greg V Roe

Reference: How babies learn locomotion:


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