gymnastics – the less spotting, the better

The advantages of spotting are highly over-rated.

From Dr. Bill Sands, research on emergency rescue spotting:

… the act of rescue spotting is at the very least extraordinarily difficult. The fact that coaches can perform a rescue spot at all is astonishing (and I have seen some spectacular saves, even been the recipient of a few from my coach a million years ago).

However, I believe that the coach, athlete, parent, and legal communities must come to understand the inherent limitations that constrain rescue spotting. Not only is not spotting a fail-safe, sometimes hand spotting of an unplanned fall effectively is IMPOSSIBLE. The impossibility of some hand spotting should be communicated to coaches, athletes, and parents so that all understand the physical and biological constraints on hand spotting and no one expects more from the spotter than the spotter can deliver.

USA Technique Magazine

My philosophy is: The Less Spotting, The Better.

Very few spotters are as good as Don Eckert, technical director of Woodward West Gymnastics Camp, here coaching at Stars Gymnastics in Colorado Springs:

Click PLAY or watch an emergency rescue spot on YouTube.

more Salto Cafe videos

Interesting trivia in North American English terminology:

Hartley Price: Coined the Term “Spotting.” In 1930 Price, recently graduated from Springfield College, was hired to coach at the University of Illinois. He was an excellent recruiter and gathered together some of best gymnasts in the country. He founded the University of Illinois Gymkana which put on shows to raise money and found ways for his gymnasts to earn money to pay their tuition.

“Doc” wasn’t much of a coach. His theory was, “Put the best gymnasts in the country together in the same gymnasium and they’ll coach each other.” That they did, winning five NCAA team titles in eighteen years.

He tried to emphasized safety by painting a large white circles (4′ in diameter) on the gymnasium’s walls. He called these “spots.” When his gymnasts saw the spot, they were supposed to think safety and look for those who could assist them through one element or another. Such assistance became known as “spotting.”

Gymn Forum: Gymnastics Centurions

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Rick Mc

Career gymnastics coach who loves the outdoors, and the internet.

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