Friday, April 16, 2010

Level 5 - Pommel Horse Stride Swing

There appears to be a misunderstanding of how the stride swings in the Level-5 pommel horse routine are to be performed. I’d like to at least clear up what I’m looking for as a judge. Let’s start with the requirements:

Requirements

First, each stride swing consists of a swing to the right and a swing to the left. See JO Manual pg 5.7. Both swings are evaluated.

Second, there are two requirements for a stride swing: Body position and amplitude. The required body position on pommel horse is straight body. The amplitude is no more than “on all pendular swings, false scissors and scissors, the top leg should be horizontal.” See JO Manual Chapter 3, Paragraph B(11)((b), pg 3.2. Regardless of popular opinion, the stated requirement for amplitude is not shoulder high, but horizontal.

Third, the basic technique for a pendular swing that will eventually lead to a shoulder high scissor or scissor handstand is a tap swing, much like the tap swing on parallel bars.

So, a stride s swing is required to be performed with a basically straight body and the leading leg at least horizontal on both the forward and backward sides of the swing.


How a stride swing is generally taught

For a stride swing to the right (right leg behind the horse, left leg in front).

1. Face forward (hips parallel to the horse).
2. Keeping both hands on the pommels, kick the right foot as high as possible.


How a stride should be taught

For a stride swing to the right (right leg behind the horse, left leg in front).

A tap swing should be taught: Arch the hips – relax through the bottom – drive the hips to the side, turning upward when fully extended. Until the tap swing can be accomplished, the athlete should swing straight body, driving his hips to the side.

A tap swing cannot be accomplished with the athlete hips aligned parallel to the horse; the torso simply does not bend that way. The athlete must turn his hips to align them closer to perpendicular to the horse.

For an athlete to swing with a straight body, the athlete must lean in the opposite direction of his swing (to the left on the forward swing, to the right on the backward swing). An athlete may need to push off his hands in order to lean sufficiently to keep his body straight. A great stride swing requires the athlete to push off his hands.

Note: Turning the hips will help to correct the nearly inevitable knee bend.

Most athletes have two or three deductions for each stride swing: Pike on forward swing, pike on the backward swing, and lack of extension throughout. Personally, I just take 0.1 for the average stride swing (plus the 0.1 for the knee bend).



Examples

Very Good: The first video shows a very good stride swing. His swing to the right is his better side, so this description references his second set of stride swings.

This athlete does not push of his hands, but still keeps his body basically straight. Note that the athlete does kick his foot high, but that is not what makes it a very good stride swing.

On the backward swing, the athlete’s left leg is at or near horizontal and his hips are touching his forearm. The front leg is higher than the back leg.

On the forward swing, the athlete’s right leg is very high, but the great part of this swing that his hip is touching his forearm and his torso and front leg remain in a basically straight body position.

This athlete could begin to push off his hands. Notice that he actually seems to be pulling with his right hand to hold onto the pommel.

video



Excellent: The second video shows excellent stride swings. Again, his swing to the right is his better side, so this description references his second set of stride swings.

This athlete does push of his right hand, keeping his body basically straight and swinging his hips much farther than the first athlete.

On the backward swing, the athlete’s left leg is at or near horizontal and his hips are touching his forearm. The front leg is higher than the back leg. This is one place where his swing could be even better. He could push of his left hand, but let’s give him a few years to get his scissor handstand :-).

On the forward swing, the athlete’s right leg is just above horizontal, meeting the requirement. The awesome part of this swing is that he is basically in a straight body position.


video


The athlete does not need to perform his stride swings exactly as shown in these videos, but this should give you the idea. I hope this helps.

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