In this blog I would like to show Teachers how you could easily use one of the balances from our book ‘Pair and Trio Balances’ to create a fun and engaging Gymnastics PE lesson.
When I am not writing and promoting books I teach Gymnastics in primary schools and run a busy gymnastics club. The time I spend in Schools is some of the most enjoyable of my week. The teachers are extremely enthusiastic to improve their teaching of gymnastics and always welcome new ideas. This week we trialed using one of the balances from our Pair and Trio Balance book and it resulted in a very successful Gymnastics PE lesson that could be developed further for future lessons.
I chose this exciting balance from the book for our Gymnastics PE lesson;
It is a Front Support balance performed on top of a Back Support, if you wanted to give it a name to engage the children I guess you could call it a ‘Car Transporter’ as I think it looks like one! The children quite often have better ideas than me though… so you could always ask them to name it. The two gymnastics shapes used to make this balance; Back and Front Support require a strong core, stretched legs, pointed toes and head kept in a neutral position. The perfect shape should look just like the picture with a straight line from shoulders all the way to toes. If you have a child that struggles to hold a Front Support allow them to simplify it by positioning one knee/foot on the floor .
Gymnastics PE Lesson – Warm-Up
A few ideas for warm up games incorporating this balance into your Gymnastics PE Lesson;
- Stuck in the mud – Choose 2 or 3 children to be your catchers, when they catch the remaining children those children perform a back or front support. To be freed a child must slide underneath the front or back support. Once freed a child can then run around again. A child can also jump over the feet to free their peers or go under and then over their feet.
- Spot shapes – Place a number of colored spots around the hall and ask the children to travel safely around the room. When you clap your hands shout out a gymnastics shape (including Front and Back Support) the children must then find a spot on which to perform the shape.
- Over and under – Half the class make a shape of your choice and the rest of the class are instructed to safely travel under or over the other children as many times as they can before you ask them to stop and swap over. For example slide under a Front Support or jump over the feet. To extend the game ask the children to go under and then over the same child.
I always finish the warm up games with a quick stretch, I keep the stretching dynamic and try not to do any static (still) stretches. I like arm swings, hip circles, lunging, ankle and wrist circles etc. If you would like ideas for further stretches there are sections in the front of both book 1&2 that you can include in your own Gymnastics PE lesson.
In the Gymnastics PE lesson pair up the children and teach the ‘Car Transporter’ balance ensuring all the children are capable of performing the shapes correctly first. Discuss with the children who should go on the bottom and who should go on the top. The general rule is that the stronger of the pair should go on the bottom but it may take some trial and error to work out who should go where! Give the children time to practice the balance and then ask the children to see if they can all hold it together as a class for 3 seconds.
Ask the children to develop their own pair balance using a Front Support, insist that one child makes this shape and that the other partner can make any shape that they like to develop their own unique balance. Spend time looking at the balances that are created and again challenge the class to hold the balance as a class for 3 seconds. Challenge the children to perform someone else’s balance.
Repeat this activity requesting that one member of the team must perform a back support. The children’s ideas are endless and we found that they had much better ideas than both the coaches and teachers during our Gymnastics PE lessons!
Gymnatics PE Lesson Cool Down
- Keeping the children in their pairs ask them to mirror each other. Demonstrate this activity with one of the children, keeping the activity slower than the rest of the pace of the class. When you are the leader choose gentle stretching moves to encourage a thorough cool down.
- Ask the children to run and touch each of the four walls of the hall. When they return to where they started, ask the children to lie down and think about what is going on with their bodies. Discuss why their breathing and heart rate accelerated and why it is slowing, talk about why they might be sweating and feeling hot. Finish this activity by asking them to lie still for 20 seconds – allowing time for them to rest and think about what you have been discussing during the Gymnastics PE lesson.
Ideas For Followup Gymnastics PE Lessons
Once the children have two balances that they are able to hold for the 3 seconds required they have the key components for a quality pair gymnastic routine. Discuss ideas of how to then create a routine using these balances in future Gymnastics PE lessons.
My suggestion would be to give two or three skills for the children to add into a routine (e.g. roll, travel, leap, Gymnastics shape and synchronization, mirroring). Once you have chosen these write them onto a whiteboard and provide the children ideas of how to link these skills to the balances they have created. Children are usually very good at the creative side of gymnastics and will quickly develop fantastic routines.
Use the pairs that are first to put together their routines to demonstrate good practice and discuss why their routines are successful. In addition ask the children what it is that they like about their routine and how they could look to improve it. Allow time for the children to generate these routines and perform them to another pair or half of the class during the Gymnastics PE lesson.
The Head Over Heels Pairs and Trio Balance book used in this Gymnastics PE lesson plan can be purchased from the following link;
For more ideas please also have a look at our app, this has been created from our first book and contains full video tutorials of all fundamental gymnastics floor skills.
Below is a sample video tutorial from the app;