Teaching a backflip; what's the best catching technique for you?
Assisting and catching a somersault is something that most gymnastics coaches can do. Yet they do not all use the same way of catching it, i.e. the same catching technique. There are in fact many ways of doing this. In this article, we will show you which ways there are and what the advantages and disadvantages of the catching technique are.
Catch technique: the support grip
The support grip is one of the most widely used methods for catching a backwards somersault. The advantage of this catching technique is that you, the coach, can apply force to give the gymnast a push and at the same time help her with the rotation of the somersault. The disadvantage of this method is that you have to be able to ‘catch’ the gymnast after giving the push, because the gymnast gets loose and has to be caught. This requires more experience from the coach, especially if the somersault is done on a beam, for example.
Catching technique: The sandwich method
In the sandwich method, the coach has one hand on the belly and one hand on the back of the gymnast. The advantage is that the coach can catch the entire salto. The disadvantage of this catching technique is that it is difficult for some coaches. The hand on the belly stays on the belly, while the other hand gives a push to the back, gets loose and goes back to the back again.
Catch technique: The mixed grip
The mixed grip is very similar to the sandwich grip, except that the hands are reversed so that the coach’s arms are crossed. The advantage of this is that the coach can assist the entire somersault without having to let go of the gymnast. For both coach and gymnast, this can feel like a safe method. The disadvantage of this catching technique is that you, the coach, are less strong in this position. This makes it difficult to help older and/or heavier gymnasts in this way.
Catch technique: the clamp grip
The clamp grip is a seldom used method within gymnastics. With the clasp, the coach holds the upper arm of the gymnast with two hands. This is a method used when catching a wall somersault, also called “wallflip” in the freerun world.
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