Ever witness an athlete perform a tumbling pass that looked like perfection from the side, but then as soon as you watched it from the front, you couldn’t believe the horror?

The horror of them going so sideways you would think they’re trying to practice how to change lanes for their driving test.

Like GIRLLL, you better get some indicators for that pass lest you take out everyone on the team!

Luckily, I have just the drill to help fix this problem. It’s called the Alleyway Round Off. 

Take a look below…

? Disclaimer (Click To Open) ?

Please keep in mind to watch the drill animations for their theory and mechanics, not execution. Most of my videos are captured during an athlete’s learning phase. Also, please do not perform any drills, prerequisites or progressions unless you’re in the company of a certified coach and have their permission to do so. The information on this website is presented purely for entertainment purposes only. You are solely liable for any injuries that may occur.

Basically, don't be foolish and use common sense.

Generally speaking, a tumbling pass will maintain momentum and keep going in the direction the Round Off tells it to (assuming the athlete doesn’t violate any of the 3 Performance Factors).

So that’s why my Alleyway Round Off drill forces the athlete to fix ALL the common round off errors that make a pass go sideways. Here are some of the fixes that athletes can experience.

Straight Lunge

Because I incorporate a visual line on the floor along with the alleyway, the athlete has a clear indication of where to step. And the alley provides a very thin margin for error. Either your Lunge Shape is straight or you’re going into the mats before your pass can start.

Long Lunge

You’ll also see I have a length expectation — this is done by putting the thin sting mat at the end. In the animation above you’ll see my athlete just about makes it, but she’s still got work to do. So although her pass is straight, it needs more length and that will come from a longer, deeper lunge, and a more stretched out BHS.

Straight Needle Kick

This is another very common mistake. When you go into a Round Off, your needle kick phase should go right above your head. Too many athletes drive their heels to the side and thus, that’s where their entire tumbling pass ends up going. With the Alleyway drill, you either heel drive straight up, or you’ll be ninja kicking the mats.

Tight Arm Reach

Sometimes it’s not the footwork that throws off the Round Off but the arm placement. You can have tight hips, a long lunge and a straight needle kick but as soon as you place your hands off the center line, your round off will end up in the opposite direction (i.e if you place your hands far out to the left, your RO will land to the right for someone watching. To you it’ll feel left because you’ll be doing a half turn, if that makes sense). But again, the Alleyway drill — if set up correctly — forces athletes to squeeze their arms to their ears and reach directly in front. In fact, if you have longer mats than I do, the drill becomes even more valuable.

Bonus: The great thing about the Alleyway set up is that it can be used with beginner and advanced athletes alike. What’s more, you can also turn it into a game. Ever played the board game called Operation? It’s where you have to use tweezers and pull out body parts without touching the sides…

You can do the same with this drill! It’s called the Alleyway Operation. Here’s how it works:

  • +1 point = Avoided the “Alley” and did a clean pass
  • +2 points = Avoided the “Alley” and had length (landed on sting mat)
  • -1 point = Hit the “Alley” once
  • -2 points = Knocked down one of the “Alley” walls

After 5 mins of play time, the person with the highest positive score wins. If anyone ended up with a negative score, they must multiply that number by 5, and do the appropriate number of reps of a conditioning exercise or drill. (E.g if your score was -5 then you would do 5×5=25. So you have 25 reps to do of whatever your coach decides).

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