Is there a right/wrong way to teach a hurdle into a roundoff? I don’t know if I could legitimately say that there is a wrong way to teach any skill, but the most productive way that I’ve seen taught and used, is hurdling in a tight “touchdown”, or another “Shea technique” that was taught to me this past summer, was how to lift the arms behind the ears while clasping the hands at the top of the hurdle. These two techniques really helps an athlete to reach, instead of drop arms into a roundoff. Most of your running tumbling will start with this skill. So, if this isn’t a strong skill of yours, the following skills will more than likely suffer.
What is the proper lunge and leg positioning? Most common problems with this is a short lunge, or a deep lunge into the roundoff. I also am seeing athletes who will cross their lead leg over their back leg while trying to push into a roundoff. All of these cause short and crooked roundoffs which then turns into less power into the skill, and less effective power into their connecting skill. An easy fix to this that I have just started to use myself, is to lead with the toe, and not knee into the athletes roundoff. This forces a stronger lunge, which in turn promotes a better push and reach into this skill.
Hand placement in the skill? This is one of the many debates of roundoffs. Is there a right or wrong way to teach an athlete to place their hands in this skill? Not really sure, but I will tell you what has worked for me. What I have always taught, and a great example that was explained to me one day by my boss, who just so happens to be a genius with analogies. She says it’s like parking a car in the garage. So, if your athlete is doing a left roundoff, I teach to reach into the skill, while left hand’s (the garage) fingers are pointing towards the left, and then to bring the right hand (the car) over the top while pointing right hands fingers towards the separation of the index finger and thumb of left hand. The right hand coming over the top of the left should help to get the hips rotated through this skill.