Last week Jon and I went up to the Hendon Leisure Centre – run by the wonderful people at GLL (www.gll.org) – for our first artistic gymnastics session. (Gymnastics is broadly divided into trampolining, artistic gymnastics and rhythmic gymnastics).
After a great stretching session, we started on basic floor exercises – the hand stand and the forward roll. Jon was able to manage a hand stand but, with injuries to my wrist (sabre), elbow (tennis) and shoulder (swimming, shooting, you name it), I was struggling to bear my own weight. Which left the forward roll.
Now, while everyone else does forward rolls without thinking, I’ve never actually been able to do them. However, with three coaches at the session and a proper padded floor, how difficult could it be? Turned out that I had a complete mental block – that I just couldn’t make myself do a forward roll.
The coaches all had a go at helping me but you could see the look of bewilderment in their eyes as they’d never previously had to teach something quite so basic. I guess it was bit like going for football training and asking the coach to teach you the basics of running.
Eventually, after an hour of botched attempts, and with the help of padded mats and triangles, I managed some sort of forward roll. Jon captured the whole thing on video. A video I haven’t been able to bring myself to watch but which I’ve heard a lot of people laughing at so it’s probably worth watching:
Huge thanks to the coaches and to Jon for their patience in getting me through what turned out – absurdly – to be one my toughest sporting sessions yet.
And please don’t forget, if you found my tussle with the forward roll even remotely entertaining, please spare some sponsorship money here: