During this week’s podcast with Nick Ruddock, he goes deep on must-hear advice to improve uneven bar skills. Nick discusses his 5 principles for creating great bar workers, specifically shape, extension, swing, flight, and vision.
Knowing that many people struggle with kips, giants, and dismounts, I wanted to write a quick block post on this area of the podcast to help reiterate Nick’s best advice for gymnastics coaches to read and see drills for. I will walk through examples for these below, highlighting Nick’s key principles as they are noted so that people can see how they serve as foundations for many bar skills.
Before we dig in if you are a gymnastics coach wanting to get the exact drills, skills, and bar techniques Nick uses on bars be sure to check out the live 2023 SHIFT Symposium, SHIFTs flagship 3-day virtual gymnastics education event
We have an epic 30-speaker lineup with 3 full days, and on Day 2 you will get 9 hours of live lectures on uneven bar, beam, vault, floor, pommel horse, mental blocks, culture, motivation, and MUCH more. Check it all out HERE,
Table of Contents
Helping Improve Gymnasts’ Kips with Shaping, Vison, and Extension.
Kips can be the bane of coaches’ & gymnasts’ training if these principles aren’t thought about and trained. One of the most important things to focus on is shaping. Specifically, the compression shape after the elongation phase as gymnasts snap-in.
Now with that said, a gymnast’s lack of compression shape may be more related to compression flexibility limitations (like stiff hamstrings) or true strength and control issues (like not having strong core and hip flexor muscles). If a gymnast can’t fully touch their toes in a standing or seated position or doesn’t have a good leg raise passively on their back, you might want to focus on hamstring and compression flexibility. For that, I love this pike flexibility complex.
Finally, coaches should also focus on the full extension of the glide to set up and build power into the compression of a kip. By keeping the body long, ears covered, and full stretching during the glide, we can help gymnasts maximize how much swing is transferred into the compression motion.
As you can see, despite the kip being considered a more basic skill, without shaping, vision, and extension Nick discusses gymnasts may really struggle.
Helping Gymnasts With Fear During Giants Using Extension, Vision, and Tapping
Another area many gymnasts struggle with on bars is giants. Often times when these basic principles that Nick outlines are overlooked, gymnasts start to get very scared of peeling off or missing their giants. Or, they just lack the power and amplitude to make giants over consistently. By taking a step back to think about the same principles, we can really find helpful drills and cues to use.