Thursday, 16 May 2002

Four Fantastic Reasons You Should Try Skill Decomposition for Gymnastics Lesson Planning

Skill deconstruction is the process of taking a gymnastics skill and breaking it up into smaller elements. Each gymnastics skill has basic body positions, weight transfers, motions and movements. All of the skills vary in direction of movement, hand and eye placements, flexibility requirements and strength requirements. Even the most basic beginner skill, a forward roll for example, comprises of over 10 different elements.

By doing a skill deconstruction of a gymnastics skill, each element can then be taken as a progression of the skill to lead up to the completed skill. Each of the progressions can be taught in your preferred method. Teaching sequentially or in order of difficulty are the two main ways to instruct the progressions leading up to the successful skill.

In my view, skill deconstruction should be part of everyone's lesson planning; and here's why...

1. It allows you more valuable teaching of the skill. You become a more effective teacher if you have progressions reduced into compact elements. When you teach that singular element, you can pinpoint within that one element what they are not doing right. When you correct the problem at the start, one element at a time, it becomes more highly effective teaching.

2. It helps you generate drills. It helps you think in terms of one aspect of the skill at a time. An example of this is thinking of what kind of movement, hold or exercise. This is a great assistant to have for lesson planning.

3. It allows you to you to evaluate performance better. Immediately after creating skill deconstruction and implementing the progressions in your classes, you begin to guide your eye to verify incorrect performance within the progression. You can spot what they are doing wrong in a complete skill without delay. Your ability to evaluate performance piece by piece becomes perfected.

4. It gives your kids good results from the very start. Each element is occasion for success and so is every progression. This disposal of success will feed your gymnast the self-esteem they need when the time comes to put the whole skill together.

As you can see, there are some great benefits for recreational and competitive gymnastics coaches to use skill deconstruction frequently in their training plans. You can and should carve out the time for some professional progress. Work on using a skill deconstruction for each gymnastics skill, it is well worth the return on your initial time investment.

Casie L. Millhouse is freelance writer and author of early movement e-books. She has been featured in Singapore Child Magazine and Gym Momentum, a gymnastics coaching resource website. She has over 15 years experience in coaching gymnastics in the US, China and Singapore. She is also a Singapore National Judge and Clinician.

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