Punch Fronts

Punch fronts (AKA front flips, front tucks, front saltos, or just plain fronts) are one of the basic skills in front tumbling. They are often used to set up more difficult tumbling passes, such as front step-out round-off flip-flop backs or front step-out front handspring fronts. Punch fronts are usually learned early in the intermediate level, usually once the gymnast has mastered the front handspring.

 There are several drills that should be mastered prior to learning a punch front, and can also be used as drills for reinforcement:

Now, it can be taken to completion. Preferably, it should be attempted first off a springboard and onto an 8-inch crash mat with the help of a spotter. Remember the key points emphasized in the previous two drills: punch with your feet in front and punch up with a straight body. To ensure this position, try spotting an object on the wall or directly in front of you at eye level. Watch for a moment as you punch before rotating. The rotation motion should be primarily from lifting the hips. Then the chin should tuck into the chest as you bring your chest to your knees. To land, the tuck should open up, but keeping the legs bent and body tight in preparation for the impact.

 If you feel like you're landing short and almost about to crash your face into your knees, you may want to straddle very slightly so you don't end up with missing teeth -- just until you learn to land on your feet, at least.

 Common mistakes:

When you first try the punch front, you may find it difficult to figure out when to open up to land. Since fronts are a skill with a blind landing, it will require you to practice and practice some more until your body learns to "feel" its way around and anticipate the ground at the right time.

 Don't get discouraged. Just keep practicing and it will come to you. Good luck!