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Adjust your center of gravity to remain balanced.
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Balance is a key to any gymnastics discipline, whether you're tumbling on the floor, swinging on the parallel bars or landing at the end of a vault. For a young gymnast, therefore, learning to maintain your balance in a variety of positions is one of the first skills you must develop. It's helpful to understand why you do or do not remain balanced in different positions, and then to practice drills that will help improve your balance skills.
Stabilize Your Center of Gravity
Maintaining a stable center of gravity is the key to remaining balanced. To keep your center of gravity stable, make sure it remains above your base of support. For example, if you're healthy you can probably balance quite easily on a flat surface with your right foot in the air, by shifting some weight to your left. But if you stand straight and lift your right foot without transferring any weight, you'll fall to your right. In a gymnastics context, you can walk the length of the balance beam by continually shifting some weight over the single foot that's flat on the beam.
Maintain a Wide Base of Support
In general, a wider base of support is more stable than a narrow base. If you stand with your feet together, for example, leaning just a bit to your right or left will throw you off balance. But leaning slightly while your feet are shoulder-width apart will not upset your balance. The requirements of individual gymnastics exercises often limit the width of your support base, but to remain balanced you should spread your base as wide as the exercise permits. When you dismount from the bars, for example, spread your feet shoulder-width apart when you land, rather than keeping them together. Likewise, keep your hands shoulder-width apart when you perform a handstand.
Perform a Flat-Footed Drill
Balancing with one foot in the air and the other stationary on a solid surface is particularly important in your balance beam routine -- as the beam is only 3.9 inches wide -- and during the floor exercises. To practice your balance, stand erect, spread your feet shoulder-width apart and point your toes forward. Shift your weight as you lift one foot and keep it in the air. Hold your position for two seconds and then return your foot to the floor. You can also move your foot backward, or to the side. For a more advanced drill, stand straight, execute a lunge and then push off the floor with your front foot to return to an erect stance. But instead of returning the front foot to the floor, keep it in the air as you balance on one foot for two seconds. Do one or two sets of 10 to 12 repetitions, with both feet, for each drill.
Do a Hopping Drill
You must remain balanced while landing on one or two feet during numerous floor and balance-beam exercises, as well as during all of your dismounts. Help develop this skill with a hopping drill in which you simply hop from one foot to the other. Begin with your right foot flat on the floor, your right knee flexed and your left foot in the air. Hop as high as possible off of your right foot and land on your left, with your foot flat, your toes pointing forward and your knee aligned with your toes. Perform one or two sets of eight to 10 reps while hopping off of each leg.