In human movement, flexibility and balance have a close relationship. The balance distributed across the heels, toes, balls and outside edge of both feet is adjusted when a single step is taken. The centre of gravity of the body’s mass is initially moved sideways over one supporting leg, then forward over the ball and toes of the supporting foot. It is then transferred sideways in the opposite direction if the other leg is then used for support in standing, or for another step.
All objects with mass have a center of gravity. In human movement, such as gymnastics, balance is achieved around this point. The position of the center of gravity within the body, relative to the apparatus, will determine which moves can be successfully completed.
In artistic gymnastics, successful execution of the tumble pass depends upon throwing your weight around in a controlled manner. Accuracy of body position will help to avoid injury, as will a power-to-weight ratio sufficient to complete each skill.
Responding to rhythm is a basic element of dance in gymnastics. It has two components. The first is the natural rhythm of life everyone has, and the second is the rhythm imposed by the music used for the floor exercise. In Australian gymnastics many coaches compile a floor routine with elements fitted to phrases in the music. This gives scant attention to rhythm, producing a series of snapshots of movement rather than a cohesive, flowing presentation.
The new Gymnastics Australia Women’s Artistic Gymnastics Program, under Mihai Brestyan’s direction, is a good start, but it does not operate in a vacuum. An important aspect which will determine its success or failure is the prevailing culture of the community implementing the program.
The main career paths for Australian gymnasts are as gymnastics coaches. Employment as a gymnastics coach can be with an established club, or by becoming the owner or manager of a new club.
In women’s gymnastics, the floor routine shows the best example of integrating dance with gymnastic or acrobatic elements. Yet a sense of rhythm is a critical factor in the execution of skills on all apparatus.
Who chooses to become a gymnastics coach? Why? Does the coach want the athletes under her, or his, supervision to be the best that they possibly can be?
Is it the strange expressions of concentration on the faces of the gymnasts as they prepare for and execute a move? A dramatic component like a mime performing on stage.