Our latest post on our YouTube channel is a tutorial guiding you on how to spot someone learning our inversion series: straddle, tuck, pike, pencil. Parents, if you have a child struggling with this series, watch the video and see how you can help!
If the student is still working on gaining strength for this series, they can start practicing their straddle from the ground. To do this, have the student sit on their safety mat with their legs in a straddle and then wrap their hands high on the silk. The student will then use their core and arm muscles to lift their hips up toward the silk and straddle their legs to the outside of the silks. Practicing this will help them gain strength in their grip as well as their core so they will be able to go into their straddle easier from standing.
A great technique to help a student into an inversion without putting any muscle strain on the spotter is the knee boost. The spotter should kneel on one knee and have the student step on the spotter just above the knee. Then the student can gently push off the spotters knee to get a leg up on their inversion.
(This knee spot is also a great technique if the student needs a boost to get into a high knot backpack!)
If the student just needs a small push to get inverted, the spotter can hold at the back of the student’s knee and help pull them up. Please note, to avoid spotter injury, this is only for students who are really close to inverting all on their own.
Sometimes, the slight difference in hip placement in tuck and pike can be confusing. In tuck, the hips should be going up right in line with the silks. In pike, the hips should be shifted back so the knees are close to the silks and the legs are parallel with the ground. Depending on the student, this might just need a verbal cue such as, “shift the hips back.” But some students may need a gentle, physical spot guiding them to position their hips correctly.
Pencil can be a tricky move because it requires a lot of balance and core strength. The ultimate goal is to be able to go from pike to lifting the legs straight up to pencil. While the student is working on their balance in this move, they can go from pike, back to tuck, then slide their feet up against the silks. The student can leave their feet on the silks as they are gaining confidence in the pencil position. When they are ready, they can slowly bring their feet away from the silks and together, balanced in the center.
In this move, we never want to rotate all the way back. This over-rotation can hurt the shoulders. Should this happen, the student should immediately release their hands from the silks.
While the student is still working on their control and balance in this move, you can help prevent over-rotation by using one hand to hold one of their crocheted hands and the other hand to hold their ankle. If they start to over-rotate, you can pull them back by the ankle to help them back into balance.