Note: The following video & article is for educational, entertainment, and literature purposes only. Please seek professional council in order to learn any type of gymnastics or acrobatic maneuver. Never attempt to practice any gymnastics without the supervision or approval of a certified professional.
A full-twisting layout, also commonly known to as a “Back-Full” or simply a “Full”, is defined as a backwards somersault with a full-twist in the middle. It is usually performed with a straight body throughout, but can sometimes be performed in a tucked or pucked position. However, major deductions are usually given for performing the manuevre in a tucked shape. It is usually our 3rd most requested skill to learn, behind a back-tuck and a double-back somersault.
However, a full-twisting layout can be very difficult to learn. Typically, an athlete should have 1-2 years of training before learning this manuevre, on the average. But that time-frame can vary drastically from pupil to pupil. The following are the minimum prerequisites before a coach and her pupil should consider adding the skill to the athlete’s repertoire.
- High back-layout with tight-body throughout & straight shaping. Shape should neither be arched nor curved during the layout. Straight like a yardstick is our preferred shape. If the shape is curved or arched, learning the back-full will be difficult.
- Drill 1: Layout with arms finishing down (touching the sides) upon landing. Resist the temptation to lift the arms up upon landing, when prepping for the back-full.
- Drill 2: Layout with arms up the entire time. No bringing the arms down at any point. After landing, add a jump full-turn by immediately bringing the arms down. [Note: this drill may cause the pupils to over-arch their layouts, coaches should be cautious of this]
- Mastery of a variety of twisting skills, including but not limited to: Cat Twist, Seat Roller, Jump Full Turn, Stomach Drop Full-Turn, Log-Roll, Reverse Cradle, Back Half, Jump Double Twists, Half Airplane, Full Airplane, Arabian, etc. The video below demonstrates some additional skills that can be used before learning the Back-Full:
There exists multiple methods of learning and teaching a back-full. The method that works best depends on each individual pupil. Here are just 2 common strategies.
Strategy 1: Middle Twisting
A back-full can sometimes be thought of as a Half-Airplane, with a Barani-ending. The airplane should be over-tipped (due to driving the toes upward during the layout), perform the airplane only after the feet have come above the head, causing the athlete to now somersault forwards after they’ve done an airplane (which is sometimes known as Arabian motion).
Coaches should emphasize the visual check-points. Visual cues for this “middle twisting” method are: (1) Spotting the wall in front of the athlete during take off phase, (2) Spotting the ceiling for a long time (during the entire upward phase/layout phase), this ensures that the head stays neutral and the chin remains tucked, and that the athlete waits for the legs to rise above the head before twisting (3) Spotting the trampoline bed during the twisting phase (ie. airplane to barani phase).
To break the technique down even further, only one arm drops to initiate the half-airplane, the second arm will then slightly afterwards finish the barani motion, and BOTH arms will remain down until the entire twist is complete. Notice that both arms do not press down at the same time, otherwise there will be no twisting at all because there must exist an asymmetry in order to initiate a twist mid-air. If the pupil twists to the left, then the left arm will be the one to drop first.
Benefit of this method: the athlete spots the bed/ground and throughout more of the skill. This method can also be used to progress onto other techniques such as the Double Full, which can be thought of as an Arabian-Rudi when first learning.
Disadvantages of this method: overtime, the athlete may come to rely more and more on visual cues by intentionally looking for the ground instead of letting the rotation happen. This in turn can lead to early-twisting, or twisting off the bed/floor. The same exact problem occurs when athletes become too familiar with the barani.
Strategy 2: Late Twisting
In this strategy, we introduce the back-full by incrementally increasing the degrees of twisting. First, ensure that the pupil has a consistent grasp on the back-half somersault. The gymnast should be able to land the back-half with arms-down by her sides successfully each time. For the next drill, ask the gymnast to perform a back-half somersault, then immediately a jump 1/4 turn. Arms should still be down on the landing. Once that drill has successfully been mastered, instruct the gymnast to perform a backwards somersault with 180 deg + 90 deg twist, so that she will land facing the side. After she is adept at performing this task, ask her to add an additional jump 1/4 turn. Thus the athlete is incrementally making their way around a full 360 degrees to accomplish a back-full.
Benefit of this method: the athlete can learn the move at her own pace by incrementally adding more degrees of twist only when she becomes comfortable with the previous increment.
Disadvantages of this method: this method is considerably more “blind”. The back-half is a blind landing, and this method builds off of the Back-Half somersault. Athletes will need to learn the visual cues in at a later point once they’ve become comfortable landing the back-full consistently. Furthermore, many of the incremental degrees of twist may be difficult to “stick” they require the athlete to land sideways on the trampoline. Thus, the athlete may feel like she is not making any progress.
Notice that there is no such things as a “Early Twisting Strategy”. An early twisting back-full is a poorly executed one. Let us know if you have questions, or if you’d like to learn trampoline gymnastics, contact us today.