Floor is such a fun event in the summer, because the possibilities for huge upgrades are endless! Tumbling into the pit and hoping to transfer these skills to the floor won’t cut it, though, so here are 10 drills to use in the summer to work on upgrades and clean up the basics. If you have a favorite drill we missed, make sure to tell us in the comments.
1. Arm placement in leaps & jumps
This video shows how to focus on correct arm placement for leaps and jumps. This is important to teach even when working on low-level leaps and jumps, as gymnasts will remember the correct arm placement when they get to more difficult dance skills and need arm movement to get the skill around. Although not the most exciting aspect of dance to focus on, it is an important one to spend some time on.
2. Strong roundoffs
Right at the beginning of this video there is a great drill for getting lots of power and creating strong roundoffs. Having the arms stuck together helps keep the arms by the ears, and starting from a knee gives that extra power and lets the gymnasts practice pushing hard from their back leg to create momentum. This is a great drill to do for gymnasts of any skill level who need to work on power. As you can see in the video, you can also add back handsprings or back tucks after the roundoff.
3. Front handspring rebounding power
The drill shown in this video is a great one to work on rebounding, especially out of front handsprings. For those gymnasts who get sloppy and try to use their knees to rebound rather than their feet, this is a way to focus on rebounding and really know what a good rebound feels like. This drill could be done right before or right after a tumbling pass, so the feeling is fresh in the gymnasts’ minds and is easy to put into practice.
4. Tumbling power
Although the mats certainly do not need to be stacked this high at first, tumbling up to a stack of mats is a great way to work on power and height in tumbling. This can be used for any type of tumbling pass as well, which makes this a great drill for multiple gymnasts to use at the same time, even if they are not working on the same skills.
5. Double layout shape
As basic as this drill is, it helps kids realize how they get the motion to go backwards in a double layout, taking out the complication of the flip completely. Doing this in between turns can help with clean rotation during the skill. It shows how quick the arms need to be in the skill, how fast the hips need to lift, and what position the gymnast needs to assume during the skill to make it around safely.
6. Beginner back handspring
This video shows six drills that work on back handsprings for beginners. These stations do not work on teaching back handsprings, but they are great stations for kids that can already do the skill, but need a lot of work on it. These stations are also good ones to work on for back tumbling combinations, as a lot of them focus on rebounding out of the back handspring and what it would feel like to tumble out of it.
7. Height noodle drill
This video shows one skill to use the noodle drill on, but the great thing about buying a pool noodle for your gym is that is can be used for so many different drills! On floor it can be used during tumbling, either on the floor or into the pit, to gain height. For vault is can be used the same way, to make sure gymnasts get over the noodle in different vaults to encourage height. It can even be used on bars to make sure gymnasts hit a handstand!
8. Double Arabian drill
Bad habits can easily creep into a double Arabian, but this drill squashes those. It mainly focuses on making sure gymnasts hips go up rather than back and around the side. Since the double Arabian is a complicated skill, this isolates the turn, the most difficult part. This drill also has different stages working up to the main drill, which helps kids learn in steps and break down the skill.
9. Hurdle drill
In tumbling, nothing great can be accomplished with a weak hurdle. Doing a hurdle over the panel mat forces the hurdle to go more up rather than just forward and helps gymnasts realize where their chest is in the skill. This drill can be used to correct a problematic hurdle, or to teach them correctly from the start!
10. Switch leap drill
If you want switch leaps that end in an oversplit and jump high into the air, this is the drill to use! By having gymnasts do the skill and land on the block, they automatically land in an oversplit and feel how wide that stretch is that they should feel in the air. They also have to jump high into the air to complete the skill, because if they do not, they aren’t going to land on the block!