The three-quarter front is a move that we teach to beginners during their first or second class. We find that having athletes work on skills that they won’t be using for competition for months or even years works best for combating fears. For example, right now, we have level 4 athletes working on double back tucks and double front tucks in the harness. Introducing athletes to “scary” skills early will give them enough time to put in hundreds of reps before the move becomes important. The three-quarter front is no exception. This move is infamous for inflicting fear upon athletes, as over-arching and holding the position until the last minute for the duck under is not a natural reaction and scares most athletes. Over the past few months, we have been pushing our athletes to improve their three-quarter fronts, a skill that is required for level 7.
Below is a list of drills we have had our athletes do for their ¾ fronts
- Knee drop to handstand
- Knee drop to handstand, duck under
- Doggy drop, ¾ front
- Doggy drop, ¾ front (with an arch)
- Doggy, ¾ front, doggy, ¾ front
- ¾ front (with a catch, allowing for the athlete to feel the correct position)
- ¾ front, ¾ front
- Superman hold
- Arch ups
While most athletes showed improvement after doing these drills, some showed little to no improvement. After months of doing drills over and over again, us coaches and the athletes began to feel discouraged, because it seemed like some ¾ fronts were even getting worse. Until last night! After practice, one of our athletes spent just 5 minutes experimenting on the trampoline while she waited for her parents to arrive. I was speaking to another parent when out of the corner of my eye I witnessed her do a beautiful ¾ front! I was so happy to see her face light up when she realized she had done the skill correctly.
This blog serves as a reminder to myself that sometimes Self-Discovery, Experimentation, and Inner Determination are all it takes to change something for the better. We can teach our athletes every drill and skill in the book, show them support, and coach them through mental blocks, but in the end, it comes down to the athlete believing they can do it and wanting to do it!