How gymnastics can help develop locomotion and rotation

Locomotor activities occur frequently in gymnastics and some are unique to gymnastics, such as moving along a balance beam or low bench. Others, such as running, skipping, jumping and landing, are generic to many games and sports. Locomotions can be broken down into three sub-categories: on the feet, supported, and hanging.

Locomotor activities are great for warm-ups for any sport and can include animal movements that are good for developing co-ordination and strength such as bunny hops, frog jumps, donkey kicks, kangaroos, elephants, bear walks, and crab walks.

Developing the locomotions:
Set up an obstacle course for the kids. The activities should encourage participants to investigate different ways of traveling, using their feet.

  • Practise different ways of travelling, such as different directions or speeds and changes in body positions, ex. high, low, medium.
  • Investigate ways of changing body position.
  • Design travel sequences that combine changes of shape and level.

A rotation is any turn or spin around an internal axis. These include turning the body left and right, log rolls and egg (side) rolls.

Developing the skill

  • Get students to do a log or pencil roll while lying on a mat. Roll sideways to the right, return left
  • (hips and shoulders should rotate at the same time). Vary the log roll by holding a partner’s hands.
  • Explore different ways of rolling using: different directions, e.g. forward, backward, sideways, different starting positions, e.g. crouched, lying, standing, consecutive rolls.
  • Practise forward rolls from different positions, such as from a squat, or roll down a slope.
  • Practise backward rolls, e.g. rocking to hands and feet from a squat position.
  • Revise and build on cartwheel progressions

Elements of movement:
It is important to reinforce the elements of movement, such as spatial awareness and dynamics (hard and soft), when teaching the skills in gymnastics. This enables students to understand levels, force, time and rhythm, while working within set boundaries and in set formations.

Building non-physical skills:
Gymnastics also provides students with an opportunity to work in pairs and groups. Including activities such as task cards and problem-solving activities in the gymnastics unit allows students to develop such skills as interacting, communicating, decision-making, moving and problem-solving.

Enrolling your child in one of PLAY Gymnastics BC programs will ensure that your child is taught these important skills by qualified instructors.

Find your local PLAY Gymnastics BC club for more information.

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