introducing Blind Change on a Floor Bar

Teaching Blind Change and Giant 1/1 on the Bar is problematic.

Many things can go wrong. Worst is when the gymnast gets stuck on 1-arm … and falls on the Rail. :-(

Like most coaches I’ve tried hundreds of different drills.

Here is my favourite series of drills, starting on Floor Bar.

1. kick handstand

2. kick handstand to reverse pirouette, step down on the other side

3. kick handstand to reverse pirouette, forward pirouette same hand

4. IF the gymnast gets a good reverse pirouette, finish the Giant 1/1
… if not, forward pirouette on the same hand as in 3

Ruth JudsonStep 3 is the most important. This is where they learn to support with and torque on one hand. This is where things go wrong. This is where they learn what to do when things go wrong. :-)

Challenge the gymnasts to make 20 Giant 1/1s in series without missing. They’ll learn to CHEAT. Doing the reverse pirouette on the way up, and quickly finishing the 1/1.

That’s great. But the cheater Giant 1/1 does not finish in handstand. It finishes short of handstand.

5. Work the Giant 1/1 and Giant 1 ½. From pike jump if the goal is toe hand into the 1/1.

Click PLAY or watch it on YouTube.

My main coaching advice on the reverse pirouette is to always reach fast, and reach far. Beginners get in trouble when their hands are too close together. And might get stuck on 1-arm if they reach slowly or tentatively.

Thanks Michael and Courtney. :-)


• TumblTrak’s Quick Flex Bar-in-a-Bag

• Steve Arkel drill on Tramp

• Zari Goldmann Twisty Turny — It’s a progression — Blind changes

• Hideo Mizoguchi blind change drill

The traditional system training swing 1/2 turns until you reach handstand is slower. And some kids get stuck (forever) finishing short of handstand.

Leave a comment or link if you have your own favourite system for introducing Blind Change.

National Injury Database

Dr. Bill Sands as put up some preliminary data from his proposed crowdsourced national injury database for gymnastics.

Only 103 injury reports, so far, but here’s a sample graphic showing the kind of visuals that can be produced.

sample data

See other graphs like this here.

The more injury reports submitted, the better. If you’ve got some injury stats from your club, please click over to and contribute. It’s completely anonymous. This could be very valuable.

ban tobogganing – it’s too DANGEROUS

My home town Calgary is not quite as stupid as, for example, Hamilton. :-)

But we’re pretty stupid. Socialist nations like Canada have governments with enough spare time to invent city bylaws like: “those who slide outside the city’s 18 approved hills could face a $100 fine”.

Calgary’s media has made much ado about the city’s tobogganing rules in recent weeks — to the point where Mayor Naheed Nenshi blamed “bored journalists” trying to stir up controversy.

Now Rick Mercer has taken it upon himself to poke a bit of fun at (the) bylaw ..

(For the record, the city does not recall ever giving out a tobogganing fine. Ever.)


Click PLAY or watch comedian Rick Mercer on YouTube.

Certainly no Calgarian I know pays any attention to tobogganing restrictions. We slide wherever we want. But with one eye out in case a Toboggan Cop shows up. :-)

related – Tobogganing Bans Or Restrictions Growing Across North America

Over protective restrictions on youth activity contribute to child obesity. We want kids tobogganing more, not less.

handstand to bridge, kick back walkover

I’m no fan of this compulsory element in the current J.O. Level 3 Floor routine. :-(

Click PLAY or watch it on YouTube.

Forcing young kids to do forward limber is a mistake. It mostly teaches bad form. And bad technique. Two Olympians from my city could never have competed it at any age. They were fantastic gymnasts and NCAA stars. Talented gymnasts who might have been discouraged out of the sport if forced to do forward limber at a young age.

Click PLAY or watch another example on YouTube.

J.O. rules allow the girls to land in bridge with feet shoulder width apart. And to take one step with the foot to initiate the backward walkover.

My advice to coaches forced to compete this element is to start young. Spend plenty of time. Do not rush. Do not spot.

Start from elevated bridge on a wall and let the girls progress at their own speed. Some soft mat below will be needed for beginners who might fall. Who might miss the wall.

Click PLAY or watch it on YouTube.

Thanks to coach Andrew Vetter and Gymtastics for hosting this video.

Kate Foster – Bars

Check this inspiring routine.

Would have been 9.1, but the coach was deducted 1.0 for the spot.

Click PLAY or watch it on Facebook.

“Gymnastics is like my 2nd home. It’s where I spend almost the majority of my time,” said Kate Foster.

The 13-year-old wasn’t about to give up that second home despite her leukemia diagnosis ….

An infection forced doctors to amputate her left leg. While that could easily end her gymnastics career, Kate and her coaches at the Gymnastics Academy of Rockford, had other plans. …

Leukemia survivor returns to gymnastics with one leg (2014)

Toller Cranston dead at 65

what we know so far – Legendary Canadian figure skater Cranston dead at 65

Toller Cranston (April 20, 1949 – January 24, 2015) was a Canadian figure skater and painter.

He is the 1971–1976 Canadian national champion, the 1974 World bronze medallist, and the 1976 Olympic bronze medallist. Despite never winning Worlds due to his poor compulsory figures, he won the small medal for free skating at the 1972 and 1974 World Figure Skating Championships.

Cranston is credited by many with bringing a new level of artistry to men’s figure skating. …

Cranston was also a commentator on CBC television for figure skating events. However, in 1991, the CBC fired him, citing concerns from the Canadian Figure Skating Association that his often brutally frank and opinionated commentary was denigrating to Canadian skaters. Cranston filed a lawsuit against the CBC that was eventually resolved in his favor. …

He was brutal. But also very funny. Fans loved his colour commentary.

He was an outspoken critic of bad judging. And spoke passionately in favour of allowing back flips in competition, banned after Terry Kubicka included it at the 1976 Olympic Winter Olympics.


In Toller’s honour, check this round-off triple back handspring.

related – the comparatively boring Progressive SKATING & GYMNASTICS SPECTACULAR 2014.

Thank Dave Adlard for the link.

Elena Mukhina documentary

MissLyra has improved her English subtitled version. And uploaded the new version to YouTube.

Elena Mukhina … features Natalia Shaposhnikova and Maria Filatova while training and also contains a talk between Mukhina and her coach Mikhail Klimenko. …

Soviet coaches were feeling pressure after being beaten by Nadia. They wanted to add new and revolutionary elements to their routines.

Mukhina and Klimenko are shown in the edit to have problems. But the story ends before Elena was paralyzed in a training accident (Thomas salto) 2 weeks before the opening of the 1980 Summer Olympics. (Klimenko was not present at the time of the accident.)

Click PLAY or watch it on YouTube.