The Turn-around can be a difficult skill for a student to begin learning. There are a lot of steps to remember when first learning the skill. The student must take-off with the correct grip, the timing of the legs must be good, the flyer must remember to re-grip the bar, and then there is the new sensation of swinging whilst facing the opposite direction. And if any part goes awry then it becomes difficult to recover. It’s not a mystery why the Turn-around can take a long time to learn. However, learning the Turn-around can be a rewarding experience.
The most popular and common method is to take-off for a Turn-around is with what is known as a mix-grip. In a mix-grip, the starting hand will be inverted (palm facing upwards) and placed directly in the center of the bar. During the take-off, the second hand will be placed adjacent to the inverted hand. Since the inverted hand is directly in the center of the bar, the second will actually be slightly off-center. This is the most common grip for turning around.
After the take-off, the performer will be doing three beats with their legs (or four beats depending on how you think of it). The performer shall beat backwards, forwards, and backwards again. During the last backwards beat, the performer will turn-around to face the opposite direction. The performer should be turning away from the inverted arm. At this point, the performer shall re-grip the bar with the 2nd hand so that it is facing the correct orientation and slide the first hand a little wider. The third beat will continue to swing back and transform into a fourth beat forwards after the turn-around. When learning this skill, coaches should emphasize that the performer finish the 3rd and 4th beat as that is the most common mistake. Typically, the hand orientation and re-grip part of the skill are not the problem. Performers need to focus on their legs more than their hands. Coaches should emphasize that the legs be kept together throughout the entire turn-around. If coaches fail to remind the student, then bad habits can form, and those can be very difficult to break.
Another common mistake is for the student to rush the timing of the beats, and in doing so they will try to turn-around too soon. Coaches should remind the students that the kicks are often longer and later than they think.
Practicing swivel-hips on the trampoline can assist in the learning of the Turn-around. The leg action of the Swivel Hips is very similar to the leg action of the 3rd and 4th beat during a Turn-around. When performing a swivel hips, focus on keeping the body and legs centered beneath you during the twisting phase. Also focus on keeping the legs straight, together, and toes pointed.
Turn-around will may take many trials and iterations to understand and feel. Don’t be discouraged though, pretty soon it will feel natural and surprising fun. The turn-around will also open up a world of new Trapeze tricks that begin by facing the opposite direction. Quite fun all-in-all!