How Long Does it Take to Learn a Tumbling Skill? — Part 1 — Physical Factors: Post 1 of 4

  

**As I mentioned in my previous post, this post is only part of a long article I’ve been working on. This is my first installment, “Part 1”.  I plan on having 3-4 “Parts” in totality.  Each “Part” will have between 3-5 “Posts.” My goal of release content in chunks, like this, is to get content out more frequently, instead of having my (ever growing) folder of unfinished articles become even larger!**  

 
 

As a tumbling instructor, one of the most common questions I am asked by new athletes and parents is “How long will it take to learn this skill?” Unfortunately, this question is very difficult to answer. There are many factors to consider when determining the length of time required for an athlete to master a particular skill, and these factors vary greatly from one athlete to the next. The goals of this series of articles is to help athletes and parents better understand the process of learning and mastering a skill, as well as to provide some tips on how to accelerate this process.

 

— The points I make in this post will apply for all tumbling skills; but for simplicity’s sake, I will be using one the most commonly learned tumbling skills by cheerleaders — the back handspring. —

 

Physical Factors:

 

The most essential components of learning any new tumbling skill are physical in nature. In order to safely perform a back handspring independently, an athlete’s  body needs to be prepared to produce, utilize, and sustain the high the amounts of force involved with the skill. Strength, flexibility, coordination, and physical development are all physical aspects that affect the learning of new tumbling skills. Overlooking any of these factors could result in injuries such as sprains, fractures, concussions, or worse! Think of these physical aspects as the foundation of a building. Without a good foundation, a building could collapse. In the same way, not being physically prepared for a skill is setting yourself up for failure and/or injury when learning how to tumble.

 
 
 

Strength:

It’s no secret that tumblers need to have strong muscles. In a back handspring, strong, fast, legs produce the explosive jump needed to propel a tumbler up and back into an inverted handstand position; strong shoulders allow the tumbler to forcefully push into the floor “springing” them from their hands back to their feet, and a strong core is essential to keeping the body moving together seamlessly throughout the skill.  But strong muscles are not only used to generate the force needed to get over in a back handspring. When landing, muscles act to decelerate, or slow down, the force produced during the skill in order to protect bones, ligaments, and other vital organs from trauma. Adequate strength is essential to tumbling because it necessary to perform skills, as well as land them safely.

 

 

I hoped you enjoyed this post! Keep checking back for Part 1: Post 2: Flexibility!

-Cheers
Matt Faherty

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Matt is Back in Action!

First off, I hope everyone had a fun and festive 4th of July!

I just want to let everyone know that I am once again available for online lesson scheduling!

In addition, as a way of thanking you, my valued clients, for your patience while I was unavailable during my surgical recovery, as well as when I will be away coaching at Camp Woodward later this summer, I will be reducing my rates for a limited time!

The reduced rate will be:

$25 – Half-Hour Private Lesson :: Reduced from $30!
$45 – Full Hour Private Lesson :: Reduced from $55!

These reduced rates are for a limited time, and will expire when I leave for Camp on July 25th. So book your lesson NOW before it’s too late!

Enjoy the rest of your holiday weekend! I will see you in the gym soon!

Coach Matt Faherty
Founder of Full-Out Cheer & Fitness

Matt’s Musings – Why Learning to Tumble is Like Learning to Read

After thinking about it a lot today, I realized that learning to tumble is a lot like learning to read. When you learn to read, you first need to learn each letter of the alphabet and the sound(s) it makes. Then you start to put basic words together using those letters and sounds. Finally you start to learn about more complex words, and tricky letter combinations and sounds.

Tumbling is much the same way. First you must learn body positions; tuck, hallow, arch, pike, lunge, etc. Then you start putting simple body positions together in a sequence. Handstands, forward rolls, and cartwheels are a good example of this. Last, we learn about using those same basic movements in more complex ways, learning tricky combinations of those same body positions. ex. Back handspring, front tuck, etc.

Far too often, we as coaches skip teaching those basic body shapes, and skills properly, or don’t spend enough time mastering them. I can’t count how many cheerleaders I have met through the years who were working back tucks without mastering a backward roll, who say they need to get their back handspring, when they can’t hold a handstand properly, and who want to work fulls, but can’t perfectly execute a layout.

If you have ever wondered why so many kids get mental blocks, try handing an encyclopedia to a second grader and ask them to read it. There might be some words in it that look familiar to them, but 98% of it will do nothing but cause confusion and anxiety. By letting kids work these hard skills before TRULY mastering basics, we only set them up for failure. We are teaching them to memorize and recite Shakespeare before they can sound out “See Spot Run” on their own.

By teaching kids from the start that each skill is not a unique snowflake, but just a series of previously learned, familiar, body shapes we make the skills much less overwhelming to learn, and unlock the ability for kids to be able to safely practice “sounding out new words” in classes without constantly needing a spot, constant feedback,  and 1 on 1 attention.

Anyways, that’s just what’s been on my mind today. Make it a good week everyone!

-Coach Matt

‘Tis the Season of Change in Cheerleading – Big Change for Rochester Clients, Changing Location of Lessons in May

As many of you have noticed, over the past few weeks I have limited the ability to book lessons at Fame All-Stars, in Rochester, starting in May, 2013. This is due to the fact that, in all-star cheerleading, May marks the end of one competitive season, and the beginning of the next.

May can be an exciting month in cheerleader. Often times, gym owners make huge changes to their programs, including rolling out new services, renovating their facilities, and hosting special clinics and workshops before team tryouts. May can also be a difficult time, as high-school seniors graduate and age off of teams, athletes decided not to cheer another season, and coaches come and go.

This May will be both an exciting and grim month for me, as I, like the gym owners, make large changes to the services I offer. I would like to take this time to tell everyone some of what is to come at the end of this current 2012-2013 season, and the beginning of the 2013-2014 season! I believe that the changes being made are necessary for me to further improve on the high-quality instruction, positive learning environment, and outstanding customer service I offer to my clients.

Starting May 1st, I will no longer be offering lessons at Fame All-Stars, in Rochester, NY

The decision to leave Fame has been a very difficult one for me, both professionally, and personally. I have spent the past two seasons coaching Fame athletes, traveling around the northeast to competitions, creating close bonds with teams’ families, and coaching alongside of some of the best instructors in both New York, and Virginia. Many of the bonds I share with people at Fame go much further back, some as far as nearly a decade. But I feel that it is time for me to take the next step in my career, and begin the next chapter in my life. Although I will discontinue offering lessons at Fame on May 1st, I will be leaving Fame as a coach on May 6th, after US Finals in Virginia Beach, Fame’s last competition of the 2012-2013 cheer season. I wish everyone at Fame All-Stars, both here in NY and in Virginia, the best during the upcoming season.

Beginning the week of May 6th, I will begin offering lessons and classes at Core Athletix, in Rochester, NY

Core Athletix is a multi-purpose training facility, specializing in tumbling and cheerleading. Core’s large training area, and vast amounts of training and safety equipment, will allow me to better train athletes, and keep them safer while doing it. The facility also has a large, comfortable, lobby/parent viewing area, which keeps the training spaces free from distractions, such as siblings, crying babies, and parent conversations. Reducing of distractions keeps the athletes focused on training, improving their performance, while also keeping them safe.

Core Athletix is located about 10-15 minutes away from the previous location Core’s address is 1344 University Ave. Suite #5000 in Rochester, NY.

More information, including “frequently asked questions” about these, and other changes, will be posted in within the next few days. I will also be updating my online scheduling calendar to reflect the changes, and allow you to book lessons at Core Athletix as soon as possible! I am still working to finalize the times in which equipment will be available for me to offer lessons.

Now Offering Lessons at the Sports Academy in Victor, NY

I am now offering a few openings on my lesson scheduling page for cheerleaders/tumblers at the Sports Academy located ay the Phoenix Mills Plaza in Victor, NY. Time is EXTREMELY limited! So if you are interested, book ASAP!

Very interesting blog post how to max out your tumbling score sheets!

Cheerleading Daily

One of the biggest parent melt-downs I ever encountered as an all star coach/director was the year we started the season with absolutely no standing tumbling in our routine.  Okay, before you write me off as complete moron for making such an oversight, give me a second to explain.  First, I was not actively involved in the coaching of this particular team in the program (although that changed after the first competition).  Second, we hired outside choreographers who actually did put standing tumbling in the routine and the coach subsequently took it out of the routine.  So in my defense, I was as surprised as the judges when the team did not throw any standing tumbling. 

The score sheet at our first competition had 2 parts for the tumbling score; 10 points for running tumbling and 10 points for standing tumbling.  This team had quite a mix of tumbling.  There were probably around…

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