You've mastered some vaults and you feel confident. Now it's time to tackle flips. It might be too early but hey, we all need to start somewhere. Besides you’re getting bored and they seem so, so cool.
"I can never land a front flip on my feet. It’s been three months."
"Cowboy tuck, knee tuck, chin tucked. I always land on my face. I need more height."
"I've put out 4 ribs trying to land a #$%$#@ Webster - no dice."
The professionals make it appear so easy and you fall like an anvil dropped from a plane. Why can't I flip?
It's because your vertical sucks. Brilliant deduction, I know. But let us dig deeper. It's not that you cannot jump. It's that you are not a manipulator. I'm sure your ex would argue differently.
To gain vertical you must manipulate momentum. The technique is called blocking. We will teach you to get your centre of gravity, those two hams on your backside, to incredible heights.
BlockingBlocking allows both the height and time required for tricking. This is why double side flips and double fulls are possible.
Consider a ball thrown parallel to the ground. How can we now get that ball to move upwards? It must strike something at an angle.
This principle is why gymnasts often use angled blocks to initiate flips. This is why springboards are angled. This is why it's easier to perform flips at an uphill transition.
We can simulate an angled terrain with our body to gain the same benefit. Instead of simply "punching" the ground to initiate a leap. We must "punch" the ground at an angle to deflect our momentum upward.
Blocking is performed as follows:
- start a run and gain forward momentum.
- perform a long and low leap.
- land with your feet out front and "punch" the ground.
- spring vertically and bask in the glory.
Have a look at this example and the extreme height achieved. Take note of the leg angle prior to leaping.
Take another look at these examples. The blocking angle is not as pronounced since they use a gym floor. But the technique is still applied.
What is the best angle for blocking?
The forward momentum dictates the angle required to properly block. More speed requires more angle. Ensure you have a good gripping surface to avoid slipping. Angles of 50 to 70 degrees are achievable.
Is it possible to use the blocking technique on hard ground?
The load-spring effect of blocking is more pronounced on a gym floor. However, this technique is commonly applied on all surfaces.
I'm using the angle but not getting the benefit?
Most beginners lean forward to reduce risk. This cancels the benefit of the angled initiation. Keep your chest up and ensure you "punch" the ground with your feet. Jump up, not forward.
Put Knowledge Into Practice
Work smarter, not harder. But always ensure you work. Watching videos is not work. It is a method of acquiring information. That information is wasted unless put it into practice.
Blocking is not rocket science. But it does require practice to master, just like any other skill. Keep at it and this one will come quickly.
In a future article we will discuss another counterintuitive technique for gaining height. Most focus on fast rotation and initiating early. This robs valuable height. You must ensure you gain all height before starting your rotation.
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