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Gymnastics and Snowboarding...

post #1 of 18
Thread Starter 

For years I've tried to convince my son (who rides competitively) to take a gymnastics class and he's fought me for years. In my eyes, ALL kids sooner or later know how to bomb it down the mountain, but far less are able to land 540's and do more advanced moves. And when I looked at the moves, I saw them all as gymnastics moves (flip, spin, sense of balance in the air, land the jump, etc), which is why I suggested he do gymnastics.

The trampolines also allow the kids to do all sorts of nutty stuff without getting hurt. My son also recently bought one of these trampoline boards which looks like a snowboard but designed for trampolines.

 

Flash forward 2 years later and I finally get him to go once a week to a class and I can see that its really going to help him on the mountain this season. Wishing more kids would latch onto the concept, cuz a) it will avoid injuries and b) allow them to really 'go for it" on the mountain.

 

A video of one such class (not my kids gym):

http://www.shorelinesnowboards.com/snowboard-blog/2009/01/21/huck-chuck-aerial-awearnes-class-at-tumbleweed-gymnastics/

 

 

post #2 of 18
Well....... Gymnastics does have an image problem about being for sissies. My brother was a competitive gymnast and from what I saw the image problem is completely undeserved. If anything, I'd worry more about a gymnastics injury hurting your kids snowboarding. One of my bro's theories is that the Olympic gymnasts don't have any special talent over any other gymnasts. They're just the one's who were lucky enough to be left standing after everyone else got weeded out by injuries. They may have mats, harness and tons of safety precautions, but they tend to have a "go for it" attitude that can get scary at times. After 4 years of collegiate gymnastics, his injury rap sheet was a couple of pages long and his medicine cabinet was stocked to survive WWIII. But even at the high school level these kids finish the program gorilla strong and in body builder shape.

There are a few other opportunities similar to gymnastics that help to train body awareness for acrobatic maneuvers, but there is no doubt that gymnastics training will help riders learn more advanced freestyle moves faster and safer. I got my flip and spin training in a wind tunnel.
post #3 of 18
Thread Starter 
In a wind tunnel??...sounds cool...where does one go for that?
post #4 of 18

I did my flying in Vegas and Tennessee, but there a bunch of newer ones that have popped up (e.g. NC, Demver, NH). It's very cool, but it's not cheap way to learn to do flips.

 

Bodyflight has a list of tunnels.

post #5 of 18
I went to Woodward at Copper today.   What I found reinforces the importance of gymnastics with snowboarding.

Guess who showed up.


They have a nice facility.


There are tramps in the upper right hand corner.  There were a bunch of kids and adults practicing on them.
post #6 of 18
Since I've become interested in learning gymnastics, I've been seeing more and more applications for the skills it teaches. This just adds another! 

Dan Gill, part of the huddler dev team, is a gymnast as well. He steered me to the adult gymnastics program at Chelsea Piers in Manhattan, which I'll be checking out soon. I'm super excited to see how it will translate to my skiing, and I'm glad to hear, swisstrader, that gymnastics is helping your son in his competitions!
post #7 of 18
My family does snowboarding only recreationally due to the commitment in ski racing during snow season. So, maybe my posting here really doesn't apply. My interest really lies in seeing how the experts in both fields can apply the traits found in skiing and gymnastics towards each others.

My 13yo J3 is also an USAG WAG optional gymnast (with substantial competitive dance training from a couple of years back). While I can see how she uses the skills and strengths of each to feed off each other (which I won't touch on here), I also see many differences that can be viewed as negatives in execution. To start, the proper stance of the two is entirely opposite to each other. In fact, the wider stance in modern skiing is extremely damaging in gymnastics scoring and is considered as sloppiness (except for a few skills such as a double tuck). Similarly, experience has shown that a narrow/tight stance used in gymnastics had caused many many crashes on a race course for her.

IMO, the tumbling seen with typical freestyle riders and skiers is more appropriately found in cheerleading (yeah you thought gymnastics was sissy) and acro/comtemporary dancing. A rider or skier without proper training cannot execute gymnastics skills in acceptable form. I have every reason to believe the snowboarding programs that are referenced in this thread are drastically modified to suit the moves performed in a terrain park or inside a pipe.



Quote:
Originally Posted by therusty View Post

My brother was a competitive gymnast and from what I saw the image problem is completely undeserved. If anything, I'd worry more about a gymnastics injury hurting your kids snowboarding. One of my bro's theories is that the Olympic gymnasts don't have any special talent over any other gymnasts. They're just the one's who were lucky enough to be left standing after everyone else got weeded out by injuries. They may have mats, harness and tons of safety precautions, but they tend to have a "go for it" attitude that can get scary at times. After 4 years of collegiate gymnastics, his injury rap sheet was a couple of pages long and his medicine cabinet was stocked to survive WWIII. But even at the high school level these kids finish the program gorilla strong and in body builder shape.
therusty, I'm sorry about all the injuries your bro has to face. But, to say that the primary reason a gymnast makes it to the Olympics is due to his/her escape from injuries is just as undeserving as a gymnast being called a sissy. I can tell you without a doubt that these world class gymnasts are unmatchable by any other so called expert/high-level ones. In fact, the gap in skills and strength between the 1st and 4th place can be very evident, even to a general spectator. (just check out some of the stuff on UniversalSport.com). Would that be true if you say that about any top ranked skier?
Edited by chanwmr - 11/15/09 at 10:42pm
post #8 of 18
Chan,

Don't blame the messenger. It's just my bro's theory. Like many theories, even when they're wrong there can be a lot of truth in them. Although I was not closely involved in my bro's career, it is clear that towards the end of it his ability to advance to higher performance levels was hindered by an accumulation of little injuries. It was his observation that among people of equal abilities, the ones that moved up results wise were generally the ones with fewer and less serious injuries. The point here is not the accuracy of the observation/theory. It's the number of injuries in the sport and the cavalier attitude that "little injuries" are only a byproduct of the program.

Not too long ago we saw a lot of ski and snowboard movie stars go through a similar "weeding process". Lately we've been hearing more about the stars who plan safety into their work. When I was a kid I did all sorts of stuff with no worries about crashing. After age 30, I only did risky stuff on soft snow days and in the wind tunnel. It's encouraging to see camps like Woodward at Copper with foam pits and tramps and "civilians" using the jump pool at Lake Placid. I like the idea of treating kids like they are over 30. The point of my story though is that gymnastics training may not be as safe as one would assume it to be.
post #9 of 18
Thread Starter 
Trust me, my son's gymnastics training regimine is VERY safe. He's not doing any of the high flying antics that you see in the video and as my son's gymnastics instructor said to me, "these guys are heading for a lawsuit". My son's routine starts with stretching, then onto learning how to fall safely, to tail grabs on the a SINGLE trampoline and a few other tricks (540's, forward rolls, etc).
post #10 of 18
Quote:
Originally Posted by therusty View Post

Don't blame the messenger.
 
I didn't mean it to sound that way. I guess it did, didn't it?


Quote:
Originally Posted by therusty View Post

it is clear that towards the end of it his ability to advance to higher performance levels was hindered by an accumulation of little injuries. It was his observation that among people of equal abilities, the ones that moved up results wise were generally the ones with fewer and less serious injuries.
Isn't that the case for all sports though? ...When it comes to injuries or lack of luck in general, that is. There is a whole dispute behind how the mobility rate (i.e. how fast a kid moves up) in gymnastics impacts the likelihood of injury. Because the career is so short for gymnasts, everyone, especially those who have what it takes and want to make it to the top, is always in a hurry to move up. At the elite level, you can often find kids at the age of 10. In ski racing, that age is still reserved for J5s and it's just the very beginning of their skiing life.

Quote:
Originally Posted by therusty View Post

The point of my story though is that gymnastics training may not be as safe as one would assume it to be.

You won't get any argument from me on that. Actually, depending on who one talks to, some legit sources claim gymnastics to be one of the most injury proned sport right next to football.
 
post #11 of 18
Quote:
You won't get any argument from me on that. Actually, depending on who one talks to, some legit sources claim gymnastics to be one of the most injury proned sport right next to football.
See - that's the part I had not seen in print anywhere.

Quote:
Isn't that the case for all sports though?
 
My perception is that the majority of the weeding in many sports is based on skill. Just based on perception, in football if you look at the percentage of players of graduating from HS to college to pro vs the percentage of players dropping out due to injury I'd bet you'd find it hard to say that injury was the primary weeding out factor.

I would not be surprised that my bro's comment was overblown. When he says it was common for himself and his peers to look at the top guys and say "they're not that good we can do that", I'd bet there is a lot of similarity to the Nationwide Tour golfers looking at PGA tour golfers saying the same thing. Still, from my limited observations of the sport, I believe that there was lot of truth in his theory.
 
post #12 of 18

Air is one of the four environments to work in for fundamental physical literacy (the other three are water, land and snow/ice).

Even if your goal is not getting into creative airborne manouevers (inverted or not), tumbling & trampoline work will benefit your skiing or riding.  Springboard diving is another activity that combines air & water environments.

Keeping in mind therusty's caveat, you do of course want to check the program out to be sure it is run by competent and safety-conscious staff.

 

 

post #13 of 18

 

Actually therusty, the majority of dropout in gymnastics is due to burnout and not so much injury (to speak for woman's anyway). Non-injury dropout rate in this sport is really high. If one makes it to one of the higher levels (not quite elite) here in the states, the chances of getting into college gymnastics is pretty high. Sadly, many exceptional gymnasts who have the talent quit just 1 or 2 levels before that.
 

post #14 of 18
Gymnastics is an excellent idea.  I competed in the 1960s and was still doing standing back flips years later.  This animated graphic was taken on my 50th birthday

backflip

When I got into snowboarding I found that my gymnastics background was a tremendous asset..  It gave me the confidence to compete in the halfpipe a few times in my late fifties.
post #15 of 18
Pat, that's awesome!!! When I grow up I wanna be just like you
post #16 of 18
Has anyone noticed the references to gymnastics lately during the SL broadcasts on Universal Sports and NBC?
post #17 of 18
Do any of you know of the pro snowboarder named Louie Vito? He is a personal friend of mine and we have had many conversations about how his competitive gymnastics as a child is what led him to competitive snowboarding. He actually sent his snowboard academies admissions board where he attended high school a tape of his gymnastics which helped him become accepted into the program. Obviously these two sports are completely different, but I am certain that the flexibility and strength that is gained through gymnastics can aid in a successful snowboarding experience or maybe even career.
post #18 of 18
Many claim that gymnastics is the gateway sport (some may use another term).

There is no doubt in my mind that a gymnast makes a much better rider and/or skier. The real advantage here is the body awareness and the agility (for more technical events) that is engrained into a seasoned gymnast. The increditable flexibility and strength help too but they are only a couple of many components in being a strong gymnast.

Ball playing OTOH I am not so sure.
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