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Tumbling Techniques For The Classroom

Aug 17, 2007
Teaching tumbling in a physical education class is fun, but it does require technique.

Just as for any other sport, there should be a short warm-up before strenuous action begins. This may consist of general class calisthenics or specific limbering exercises (simple tumbling stunts) for the unit in progress. Performers cannot be depended upon to warm up individually.

Use variations to impress the fundamentals of a stunt. Because of the lack of adequate material, most instructors go through the elementary tumbling stunts too fast. Much time should be spent on these because they are basic to advanced tumbling. Therefore, the authors have put with each page of illustrated fundamentals a companion page with variations and group exercises. As the course progresses, unlimited possibilities for variations will be found in combinations of preceding stunts. By the use of variations, the performers may be given what appear to be many different stunts, to satisfy their short interest span; yet they will still be working on and improving the same set of fundamentals.

Teach tumbling stunts as parts of routines. It will be noticed, upon glancing at the illustrations in this book, that very little stress has been placed on a definite beginning and finishing form for each stunt. Each should be not an exercise within itself but part of a routine; hence all the illustrations were drawn so as to show progression within a routine.

Use definite progressions. The program presented herein has been built on definite progressions, which were set up only after careful study had been given to the difficulty, danger, and rate of transfer of training in each stunt. Each step within the progression helps to develop the correct fundamentals for the execution of the most important one, which is usually at the end of the series. It is assumed that the proposed progressions are subject to change and adaptation by the instructor to fit the needs of various classes.

Stimulate group activity. In schools where companion tumbling has been taught properly in physical education classes, it has proved very popular. It is only natural for performers to want to work together. Group stunts are particularly helpful in motivating the mediocre performer. The indifferent performer often will put forth his best efforts so as not to spoil a group stunt. The performers can learn most stunts best by working in pairs if they are really taught how to assist each other. When working in pairs or small groups, it is very important that the same partners work together, and that the same bottom men are used, so that mutual confidence is established between the performers.

The group stunts suggested in each of the units are very simple and merely serve to illustrate the various types of possible group progressions. Each one may serve as the beginning of a series to be developed to fit a given group of performers. It is well to have the routines begin and end at different places for the sake of variety. These group stunts may be done on a grass lawn, a wrestling mat, or several small mats placed together to form a square. This area should be from 16 to 25 feet square, with the center circle five to eight feet in diameter.

Supplementing this type of group tumbling, a wealth of pyramid work can be used successfully for exhibitions and demonstrations. Some group or squad might be asked to give a short demonstration each week during part of a class period. This would be an outlet for individual expression and a stimulus to do creative work with the stunts thus far mastered.
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