Latest Blog Entry
Have you thought of using gymnastics as part of your warm up?
How can gymnastics help prepare me for a collision sport?
Gymnastics: a sport based on perfecting skills and techniques. What you practice at training is exactly what you will perform at competition.
Field sports: sports based on quick decision making, tactics and game play. No game or match is ever the same.
Two very different activities, but taking some elements from one and incorporating them into another would be very beneficial for the athletes.
In particular, I am talking about bringing some basic skills and movements from gymnastics, and adding them into field sports warm ups and game play.
The skills I am talking about are rolls. Forward rolls, backward rolls and sideways rolls. Basic gymnastic movements that use a different body part to travel.
Teaching field sport athletes these movements can give a new way to move, dodge or recover and get up quickly from a fall.
These NFL wide receivers use rolling a lot
A roll is a flowing and constant movement.
There is more to speed than straight line running.
Take a fall for example, the body stops when it hits the floor so it takes a few seconds to get up and recover. Can you afford to waste these few seconds?
Now imagine, as the athlete falls, they move into the forward/backward/sideways roll and are able to get up very quickly and continue with the game. Seconds are saved and composure is still set.
Forward rolls could be used in a lot of situations. This motion carries on going forwards which could be useful in order to get to the ball.
Backward roll –
Backwards rolls would be useful after a tackle. If the athlete is pushed back then they are going in the right direction to roll backwards, instead of falling and having to stand back up. (In a recent football match between Tiverton Town and Taunton Town, 2 Tivvy players did backward roll variants after falling down in the first 5 minutes of the 2nd half.)
A sideways roll could be useful for sports like hockey where your hands are already busy holding the stick.
There are loads of variations to rolls that you can choose to do depending on the situation. You can start or finish the roll on one foot ready to carry on running out of it. You can add a jump at the end of it too if you needed to change direction.
Here is blind footballer Robin Williams using it as part of a warm up:
Basic gymnastic drills
Some drills you can try include –
- Forward roll ½ turn jump forward roll
- Backward roll ½ turn jump backward roll
- Sideways roll ½ turn jump sideways roll
- Forward roll with a sprint out of it
- Backward roll with a sprint out of it
- Sideways roll with a sprint out of it
Try also jogging in a space whilst changing directions, the coach can call out a roll. Perform the roll and carry on jogging afterwards. (Watch this warm up video
Being able to dodge a player or recover from a fall can be difficult to do quickly and efficiently. Adding these rolls into warm ups or game situations gives the athletes another option to do this.
We incorporate basic gymnastics into our Sports Training System as we have seen the benefits to all the sports players we train.
Make sure the Coach can demonstrate properly though, here they aren’t quite as good. Here is one of me doing a cartwheel into a backflip
For the past 2 years, as Head of Athletic Development, James has made a significant contribution to the development and understanding of athletic development among our sports programmes. With knowledge and passion, he has continually championed best practise in relation to the athletic development of young athletes, and been unstinting in the rigour of its delivery. As a coach, James has made a direct contribution to the development of several prominent individuals, as well as more broadly to our squads.
10 Apr 2019
Sporting success starts here
- Are you a sporting teenager who wants to get better?
- Do you play more than 1 sport?
- Do you want specific advice on how you can prepare for the matches ahead?
- Do you want to know how to balance school/ club sporting commitments?
- This day is for you.
The Day will include: