I really like this video on teaching the front hip circle. I think first off the most common mistake coaches teach their gymnasts comes from the introduction into the front hip circle. The gymnasts should start in a straight hollow position, meaning the upper back is round as they push down on the bar and their feet remain straight. A lot of coaches start their gymnasts in an “arch” position on the bar, with their chest pushed forward and their feet behind them. Not only is this technically incorrect, but it also does not allow the gymnasts to generate enough “kick” to get their body into an upside down candlestick shape on the bar.
I absolutely love the lead up drills in the video and firmly believe that they should be done with pre-team levels, as well as level 3 gymnasts. The only exception on this video occurs at about 1:15, I believe the gymnast should have their toes more over top of the bar in a candlestick shape before she pikes and begins to push on the circle up on top of the bar. Gymnast who pike too soon tend to get “stuck”, wrapping themselves around the bar too early without less heel drive and lack the deltoid strength to get on top of the bar.
However, the front hip circle, though in the J.O compulsory routine, truly is not used again after level 5. The only reason this skill is of any benefit is in teaching shaping and wrist shifting technique on the bar. I would be happy if they would just take it out of the program but I don’t see that happening anytime soon. For children in our recreational program whom of which you see entering Prep Optional or even our High School workout program, focus more time and energy on the back hip circle and other elements.