What a minute….are you trying to pull a fast one on us? You always preach the importance of SLOW progressions in all your other posts. NOW, all of a sudden you’re skipping the athletes to a DOUBLE BACK PIKE!!! What gives!!!
Yes yes, I know…I know. It seems counter-intuitive and hypocritical of us. Yes, you can be angry. But hear me out first! The Double Back Pike is one of our tests for “readiness” for the Double Back Tuck. Thus, it can be considered another step in our ladder progressions….sort of… Well….errr, you can’t do this “test” for every move. Like, we don’t do this “test” for single somersaults (ie, we definitely don’t teach the pupil a Front Pike as a test of their Front Tuck, we only do it for Doubles ONLY).
So why the exception?
Well, firstly, we take our double somersaults seriously. Like, extremely seriously. Safety is paramount for the coach and the pupil, so the # of reps as well as the # of drills matter. The more drills the better! We will do every single drill in the book. So you can bet that we will include the Double Pike to the repertoire of required drills, while learning a Double Tuck.
Secondly, slight under rotation is a concern for doubles (yet, it’s not that big of an issue for single somersaults). For single somersaults, slight under rotation can be counteracted even by a smaller spotter, you’ll see this all the time in our beginner classes. The same isn’t necessarily true for doubles. So we need to train the pupil to OVER ROTATE her doubles rather than under rotation. Yes, the spotter can help reduce the load and break a fall if need be, but it is much more difficult because of the height the skill and the speed of the rotation. So, the best bet is to intentionally teach the pupil to over rotation by practicing the pike position. It can be safer to teach over-rotation, and then slowly dial down the rotation incrementally over the course of several MONTH or several YEARS. And in this method, the athlete may gradually increase her spatial awareness for doubles somersaults permanently; the process never has any guesswork involved.
In short, coaches should not only plan for occasional mess-ups, but rather, encourage the mess-ups to occur in the right direction.