Today was another great day training with coach. I was up at 3:40am and ready and down at LA Fitness at 5:15am. I trained for over an hour before heading off with coach. My back was in nice form doing some nice Back Walkover Series and tomorrow I am going to be back doing it on the beam again.

I started on vault this morning. We started on Setting 5 on the vault which is the height I need to be able to do my Level 7 vault which is a Front Handspring with a Full Twist. I am back to full running strength which is great and I am landing onto a mat in the pit. It is not a flat surface as it has the foam below it which makes it a little challenging to stick but I am getting more comfortable at it.

Coach has said I am going to vault into the pit once more, then vault onto the mat and then we are going to talk twisting. Yay. I will get to do the Level 7 Vault this block.

Next we rotated to bars. We are working up on tidying up the technique. I need to focus on keeping my belly sucked in. If my abs are out I am losing power and peeling off on the bail. I did a 5/10 Long Hang Kips as I was working on improving the form. The key thing here is the hands are in good shape for Thursday.

I then went over to work on Front Handspring and I got a new distinction about really focusing on reaching through the shoulders. I did 8 Front Handsprings and landed all 8 on my feet and going forward although the last one could have been better. Next I worked on Front Tuck into the pit. I did it onto a mat in the pit and landed on my feet on each one although I did not stick them all.

Coach said Bobbie you are actually landing a foot below ground level so you would have ended on your butt. So on the last one. I ran, set and tucked like a crazy girl and sure enough coach was like Hmm good Bobbie. So her then dragged another mat into the pit to bring it close to floor height and looked at me like lets see. Well I did four more front tucks and stuck every one of them. I should be doing Front Tucks on the floor before I finish this block. I also want to work with coach on Front Handsprings too.

Finally I finished with Handspring Pirouettes which is part of my Prep Optional Gold routine. I am going to be doing a 540 degree pirouette or 1 and a half turn. (This also helps with pirouettes on bars). I did my best set ever and coach was excited for the progress. So overall it was a great day and look forward to training tomorrow and continuing to get great results on my quest for GOLD in London in 2012. Go Heroes!!

How Good Can We Get

I never cease to be amazed by how my back keeps getting better and better. I remember when I could barely do a back bend and now ten back walkovers in a row are a nice warmup. My best is 25 in a row and I am sure I will be able to blow through that as well. Now I am working on doing Back Walkovers on the beam my shoulders are having to open a lot more which is greatly assisting in opening up the upper back. I regularly do back bends onto the beam now and push through and count for 60 seconds. I can feel that it will not be long before I am going to be able to beam slinkies at the gym and then eventually Back Walkovers by myself.

I was speaking to coach the other day about it and he said he can definitely see it as well. I know I will be doing Back Walkovers and Back Handsprings on the beam within the next year. It is a given considering how much my back is opening up. Doc said I am going to able to train at 100% for at least another 9 more years before age will begin to catch up with me. That is so exciting. I am wondering how good I am going to be able to get.

I am wondering how flexible is my back going to get as I keep drilling it and keep working on opening my ribs, my abs and my shoulders. Life is so amazing. Go Heroes!!

Building Muscular Memory

THe longer I train the more I realize about the importance of muscular memory in achieving a skill and how doing building patterns of muscles firing it gets easier to do it again. I am currently doing ltos of techniques that reinforce this. I am starting Front Tucks on the floor (into the pit first) without the aid of the springboard. As a result I was able to do the technique well very quickly and I know as I keep working with coach I will have it as well.

This is especially apparent to me on the beam where some of the new techniques were so wobbly and yet after constant drilling they became smoother and smooth even on the same day as learning them. Training is about putting in the hours. Drilling and drilling and drilling until the skill becomes ‘natural’.

When I train down at L.A. Fitness now I warm my back and shoulders up for about ten minutes and then I do a couple of slinkies and push hard against the body and squeeze to really open it up and then I am good. I can then do Back Walkovers, Slinkies, Front limber Kickovers and Standups pretty much at will. I can also do combinations of them.

I have recently being doing my back bends on to the minibeam. As I do this I am getting better and better and my hands are getting closer and closer to my feet. I was at the point this morning where my hands are getting very close to the edge of the beam which is fantastic news. I also squeeze very tight in full extension and can feel the stretch from the lower abs right up through the chest and into the shoulders. It is amazing to see this on film as my abs keep opening the arch gets tighter.

Coach is currently spotting me on beam on Beam Back Walkovers. I need to keep drilling the smoothness and balance of going straight back while standing on the beam. I will get there and that is so exciting. This is the one technique that washes out so many gymnasts because it is so scary. Not for me I LOVE it.

My next key drills for this is to do more back walkovers with front leg raised to increase balance. Do 20-25 standard back walkovers in a row in rapid succession to increase speed in the technique and then to do a back walkover on the floor with hands in beam position. These three drills will accelerate me doing Back Walkovers on the beam. Looking forward to it.

So look at what you want to obtain, break it into small steps, keep track of all your progress and keep persevering and watch your dreams come true. Go Heroes!!