Front layout progressions including take off variations by Lee Woolls

City of Birmingham Gymnastic Club head coach Lee Wools shares his progressions for the front layout (straight front). His coaching tutorial covers two variations for take off. Here are the highlights from the video:

I. Exercise one - "shape rockers"

Three key points:

1) arms straight and in line with the shoulders

2) shoulder blades are pinched to maintain open chest position

3) heel drive initiated by gymnast's bottom - not the feet - to encourage straight leg position throughout the skill.

II. Exercise two - "swimming shape rockers"

The same rocking technique as the first exercise, but beginning with arms straight in front to copy the "opening" motion of the skill.

Insisting on "the desired arm position on the floor ensures that the gymnast learns the  correct arm action. The floor will not allow the gymnast to drop the arms forward during the skill".

Spotting pointers:

1) The heels should be driven from the floor. Some gymnasts will want to drive their bottom first before driving the heels. This is wrong.

2) The shoulder blades should remain open throughout the skill with the head slightly "up", but not out.

3) On landing, the hips should be above the heels with the shoulders and head slightly behind.

Once the gymnast has can manage the above shapes, Woolls moves to spotting the action from a springboard and then initial training on a trampoline runway.

The front layout comes in two variations:

1) the "tempo" for multiple saltos, and

2) the high-twisting salto.

These variations have different take off positions.

The Tempo take off:

- the gymnast lands with the feet behind the shoulders
- arms out to the sides, but slightly higher than shoulder height
- head looking in the direction of travel
- body rigid on floor contact, with no piking in the hips.

The High salto take off:

- straight line from shoulders to feet, no breaking in the hip angle
- arms may be slightly higher than in the tempo take off, but not in front of the body
- on take off, the heels must lift without any forward movement in the shoulders or arms

Watch the entire 7-minute session here:

Skill Set: