GymCastics has lately been including Evan Heiter @yoEv as another of their pundits on the terrific weekly audiocast. Great choice. Evan’s entertaining and knowledgeable.
On the other hand, last week’s episode 71 is titled “The Chest Position Enforcement Bureau“.
Too much deduction on landings for “chest position” is an error.
It happens a lot in WAG NCAA. Judges kill terrific vaults, ignoring multiple technical and form breaks for weaker vaults.
The goal of a landing is to bring huge impact forces to zero. Efficiency on the skill of landing will help reduce landing injuries.
Uchimura is as good as any gymnast who ever lived. Check his shoulder position.
Kohei is using every possible shock absorber, including trunk and hip flexion.
Any set of rules that deducts this performance is ethically, medically and biomechanically wrong. Indeed, young kids should be taught to land like Uchimura from a young age.
Deducting “chest low” is like deducting a gymnast for lack of foot point on the sprint for Vault.
… that said, there are SOME unsafe landings — poorly controlled — that should be deducted. This one, most likely.
Dr. Joshua Eldridge in the comments:
Love it…you are so right on with this post. Our number one goal in gymnastics needs to be protecting athletes from injury.
Increased angular joint movement (proper movement of the hips/knees on landing) is proven to reduce the load placed on the body by allowing muscles to absorb the forces and displace the energy through movement and heat.
Well said that it is unethical to deduct for athletes protecting themselves!!!! I agree fully.
According to the LESS (Landing Error Scoring System), 30 degrees is the optimal hip angle and building more core control can help our athletes maintain this hip angle and not “bow” as much. This 30 degree angle also makes sure glutes are activated which is an important mechanism to make sure the spine is protected.