Wrote by Ellie Perkins. Retrieved from https://gymnastips.co.uk/blog/gymnastics-floor-routine/
For most gymnasts, floor routines tend to be the most enjoyable, personal, aspect of a gymnastics competition. As the longest routine out of all the pieces of apparatus, it’s the one you want to draw all of the attention to. Here are ten top tips on how to achieve the best gymnastics routine for that top score and artistry bonus!
Dance Like Nobody’s Watching!
In a gymnastics floor routine, dance is a main piece of the puzzle! It’s one thing learning your dance choreography for your floor routine, but it’s another thing perfecting it and making it the best you can be.
One great way to practice your routine choreography is practicing in the mirror, whether at home or in a studio, this is an excellent way to see what you look like, and if there’s anything you can work on. If you don’t have a mirror big enough to see you full body, film yourself and look back for corrections!
The dance in a floor routine is just as important as the gymnastics in my opinion, so ensure you are happy with it! There’s nothing worse than trying to perfect something you feel uncomfortable with, be open with your coach or choreographer and even get involved yourself!
Confidence In Your Performance
Following on from the dance section in your floor routine, it’s such a bonus for the judge to see you showing off your confidence in your routine.
Showing confidence in your gymnastics routine does not only help you make your moves look sharper and more precise, but it helps you to feel self belief which in turn improves the routine as a whole.
If you do not feel confident in your floor routine, there are likely factors that are making you feel that way, whether it’s the dance moves or the gymnastics elements themselves, if you have any doubts about your routine, go straight to your coach so they can iron out any concerns!
If you want to work towards the best gymnastics routine, confidence is a big point! You may not start with it, but the more you practice and work on your routine, the more that confidence will grow.
Using The Whole Floor
One thing that judges look out for in gymnastics floor routines is your ability to use the space you are provided with.
Depending on your routine and level of tumbles, it can sometimes be difficult to fill the whole floor, as it’s definitely not small!
A great way you can fill the space and travel around the floor can be through dance and leaps. Style your routine in a way that guides you around the whole floor ensuring all the moves flow together, (you don’t want to make it obvious that you are just trying to fill the space!)
Make it look as natural as possible, avoid doing a giant run up into your tumble just to make it to the opposite corner as this can affect your gymnastics itself and make your routine look messy.
Trial starting your routine in different positions of the floor and playing around with your choreography, if it’s possible it is always best to learn your routine on a full size competition floor!
Expressing What You Love
If gymnastics is your passion, make it known!
There’s nothing worse than watching a floor routine of a gymnast that clearly is not enjoying their time!
When I say express yourself and show you are loving what you are doing, I don’t mean that big fake cheesy grin you do for your school photo, act natural and show that in your expression and movement!
Though dance competitions encourage judges eye contact, avoid this in your gymnastics floor routine. Focus on the floor, and yourself, feel the music and show you’re enjoying every moment of it!
Quality Over Quantity
To get the best gymnastics routine, it’s definitely about quality over quantity. A judge would much prefer you to have a precise, neat, elegant routine over a jam packed ‘i have no idea where to look’ routine.
Of course, floor routines are about showing off your moves and adding in your personality, but be sure to not overdo it as it could end up just over powering your routine and making it become messy!
If you are into tricks, or have some flexibility moves to show off, choose a couple of your favourites and incorporate them into your routine, avoiding repetitive moves and ensuring they flow with the layout and tempo of your choreography.
Choose Music That Suits You
If you can, get involved with your music choice for your floor routine. It’s really important that the piece of music suits the gymnast, or it can be difficult to connect with the routine.
If you are lucky enough to choose your own music, be sure to get a second opinion, from your coach, choreographer or even parent, they will know which suits you best and shows off your personality and strengths.
Before choosing a floor music, it may be worth experimenting with some beforehand if you know a new season is coming up, as you may shock yourself and excel in something that you thought was completely opposite your comfort zone!
Musicality and Timing
When it comes to working on your floor routine timing, practice really will help! As I mentioned before, there are other important aspects to a get the best gymnastics routine, it’s not all about the gymnastics skills themselves.
Though it’s not safe or recommended to practice full gymnastics tumbles at home, working on the dance, leaps and specific timing is definitely recommended and can help to perfect that routine.
Judges look at musicality in floor routines, so although they will not know the order or choreography for your routine, they will be able to see how it flows with the music and if you are able to start and finish alongside it.
Before a competition, run your full routine to the music and have somebody film it, you can then look and listen back and check over any errors.
Show Your Strength and Flexibility
As a gymnast, it’s likely you’ve been working hard on your strength and flexibility to get you where you are today, so what better way to show it off than in your gymnastics routines!
Where some people are not naturally flexible, this is something that if you work on it enough, it will improve more and more and in turn make your skills more effortless, neat and defined.
Flexibility does not only help in the gymnastics skills themselves, but it can really add to the dance elements of a floor routine such as leaps, working on flexibility and using stretching equipment at home regularly before competitions can help you to hit those oversplits and reach that higher score!
As Well as flexibility, strength is just as important, the more conditioning and cardio vascular fitness you do in or outside of the gym, the fitter you will feel getting through your gymnastics routine.
To get the best gymnastics routine you do not want to be puffed out half way! Trial running through your floor routine twice without a break or challenge yourself for example wearing ankle weights for a run through, doing things like this will make your floor routine feel effortless when done singularly!
Research For Inspiration and Get Involved!
When learning your choreography for your gymnastics routine, it’s important you get a say in what parts you like/dislike, and even request your own moves.
Before getting your floor routine, or deciding on specific music, have a look online for other gymnastics routines out there and get some ideas on what you like and dislike!
Using YouTube is a great way to see other gymnastics routines, from exploring through music to finding new fun moves, this is a great way to get a little feel of what you might want in your routine before going into your choreography.
Note down or save links to any specifics you like, such as a name of a piece of music, or a structure to your floor routine and show it to your coach, they may not take all your ideas on board, but it’s definitely worth showing them what you like the look/sound of!
Poise, Precision, and Getting That Artistry Bonus
More often than not, at gymnastics competitions the judges add a bonus for routine artistry or sometimes even hand out separate awards for it!
A good way to gain extra artistry points is to ensure your moves are precise but also flow nicely into your routine.
Having great gymnastics and beautiful dance is one thing, but it’s another challenge to make it all flow together to make an all around brilliant routine.
To get a great artistry bonus it’s really all about incorporating all of the factors I have gone through in this article, from making the routine your own, to showing off all of your strength and flexibility to make those moves hit.
All in all, though there are ten top tips in this article to make your best gymnastics routine, the main one has to be enjoying yourself and ensuring your heart is in everything you are doing. Gymnastics floor routines are often a vital part to the sport, and the one everyone loves to watch, so practice hard and have fun!