Learn Tips and Techniques for Sticking a Leak Drop
What are leaf drops in gymnastics? Gymnasts fear injury when they lack self-confidence in their ability to successfully complete a stunt. Coaches may implement strategies to help their gymnasts overcome fear and gain confidence. While danger and risk are inevitable attributes in gymnastics, drills assist in honing technique and building confidence in fearful gymnasts. Leaf drops are drills that can help a gymnast gain confidence for scary and difficult skills.
Leaf drops, also known as leaves, prepare gymnasts for more technical and mentally challenging skills. Gaining confidence in a challenging skill is paramount to performing and executing the skill to the best of the gymnast’s ability. A leaf drop is a practice skill that is not performed or judged during competition to assist gymnasts in gaining confidence to perform more challenging skills. Leaf drops are a dismount skill performed on the high bar apparatus. Gymnasts practice leaf drops flipping off the high bar and landing in a foam pit or on a soft mat.
Leaf Drop Technique
A leaf drop is performed by sitting on the high bar and leaning backwards while your feet flip over your head. You can continue the rotation by dismounting in a tuck or layout position or by adding multiple rotations or twists. The leaf drop allows the gymnast to get a feel for correct air position, air form and body technique without fearing the landing. Coaches may require their gymnasts to practice leaf drops prior to attempting a more challenging dismount, such as the fly away. Mounting the high bar in preparation for a leaf drop can be dangerous. Wear hand grips or apply chalk to your hands prior to mounting to decrease the risk of slipping.
The fly away is a competitive skill used in competition. However, the skill can create some fear and anxiety when initially introduced. The leaf drop prepares the gymnast for this skill and aids in building confidence. A fly away is a dismount and release move performed from the high bar. The gymnast swings back and forth on the high bar in order to develop momentum for the rotation. When the body reaches the horizontal position, the gymnast releases her hands from the bar, hollows the body in a layout position and rotates backward for the landing. If the dismount involves a tuck, bring the knees to the chest and tighten your stomach muscles. Allow the body to rotate and prepare for the landing.
Do not attempt leaf drops without proper supervision of a certified gymnastics coach. A poor landing can cause severe injury to the neck, back or extremities. Do not attempt double rotations unless advised by your coach. Landing an incomplete rotation often causes you to land on your neck or head. A foam pit does not safeguard against injury, as landing on your head or belly can cause injury to your back or neck. Use precaution prior to attempting any stunt.