Falls are commonplace in the gymnastics environment, especially as athletes learn new skills. Teach your gymnasts how to fall properly by demonstrating and practicing safety rolls. Safety rolls allow gymnasts to absorb the impact of a fall over a greater area of their bodies.
A safety roll, also known as a recovery roll, should be performed if a gymnast is off balance (figure 7.6, a-c). The gymnast should roll in the direction she is traveling—forward or diagonally (shoulder roll), backward, or sideways—instead of trying to immediately stop her momentum.
Tell your gymnasts to do the following when falling:
1. Make fists with the hands.
2. Pull the arms in toward the body and across the chest.
3. Roll in a tucked position.
Note: Rolls can also be done with the arms overhead (i.e., halo shape).
Read more from Coaching Youth Gymnastics.