A Painless Approach

Kathy Forsythe

Seattle, Washington



Rolls are "any movement where the baton makes one or more revolutions on the surface of any part of the body without being held or caught in the hand."

Tips for successful teaching

Approach a roll scientifically, making the athlete aware of what makes it work. Athletes become frustrated when they practice rolls because they do not understand the basic mechanics and cannot make the necessary corrections during practice. Rolls often take more time to learn than "tricks", but you can speed up the learning process if you lay the right foundation from the very beginning Do not allow cheating at any time. Do not allow bad habits to develop. Most important, don't try to speed up the process by skipping steps.

Teach rolls in a proper progression. Never teach a roll that has several elements without out teaching each of the individual elements first. Drill the elements until they are perfect and the athlete can "feel" the roll.

Teach all rolls Left and Right, Forward and Reverse

Break the roll down into its elements so that the athlete has a complete understanding of what will make it work.

Body and footwork control all rolls. Teach body and baton separately to insure success

Make sure the athlete understands the importance of the following

Proper path



Correct position of hand, arm, or elbow

Balance point of baton

Always teach a preparation and a follow through This helps to maintain the proper pattern.

Sometimes "catch" is a naughty word

Develop a variety of rolls. Don't just use variations of the same roll.

Construct a roil series so that it can lead to connection when the athlete is ready.

Maintain a positive attitude when teaching rolls

You as the coach do not have to be able to do the roll to teach it, but you do have to understand its mechanics.


Roll Progression

A. Single element rolls (teach them left and right, forward and reverse)

1. Straight arm roll

2. Hand roll

3. Wrist roll

4. Elbow roll

5. Neck roll

6. Open arm roll

B. Simple combinations of single element rolls

1. 2 hand rolls

2. Elbow extension

3. 2 arm rolls

4. Retraction roll

5. Hand/elbow/layout roll

C. Continuous figure 8 rolls

1. fishtail

2. reverse fishtail

3. Teach in increments of 1/2

4. Add variations as the athlete becomes ready      for them (forward and reverse carries)

D. Continuous elbow rolls & continuous back neck rolls