Yes, I am talking about feet.
Most people complain about flexed feet. And admittedly, flexed feet are not attractive at all.
But I’d rather have flexed feet than sickle feet.
I learned about sickle feet because my roommate, who is a dancer, would randomly correct my feet whenever I pointed them.
“Don’t sickle!” she would yell at me while straightening my feet.
Apparently, when you point your feet, your big toe should be in line with your ankle. That is how a proper foot point should be created. When your feet are sickled, your big toe is pointed inward (creating a weird shape).
This flaw is a lot subtler than flexed feet. That is why it seems to go unnoticed. I don’t know if gymnasts know that it is improper to sickle your feet. They probably think it is okay, because their feet are pointed ( and that’s what is important). It doesn’t create a good line, though. Like choreography, this seems to be another area where gymnasts could stand to learn from dancers.
And if you need a better reason than aesthetics, sickling also puts a lot more stress on the ankle than pointing correctly. For example, the dance world doesn’t like sickled feet because it stretches your ligament the wrong way. That is what puts the stress on the ankles and puts you at risk for injury. When the foot is pointed correctly, it is much more stable than if you sickle. Granted, this is gymnastics, not dance. But many basics of dance translate directly to gymnastics.
Some gymnasts do it more than others.
Ksenia Semyonova used to have sickle feet, especially in 2007. She seems to have corrected it, though. This makes me happy!
I once saw a comment on how good Chelsea Davis’s toe point was. But if you take a closer look… sickled!
One of the worse offenders by far, however, is Rebecca Bross. I wince (internally) when I watch her bar routine and when she vaults.
She. Constantly. Sickles. Her. Feet.
I know she tends toward the knock-kneed, and that she probably sickles her feet in an attempt to keep her feet together, but it is still improper. I seriously feel like making a little visit to WOGA to fix her feet. Maybe if she turned out her legs (see? Another dance term!), she could get the lower half of her legs somewhat closer together. Then she wouldn’t have to sickle.
I have mostly noticed this sickle phenomenon while watching vault and bars- particularly during Pak saltos and laid out dismounts. I haven’t noticed it yet on beam and floor, but it probably happens there too.
Please, coaches, take notice of this flaw. Otherwise it will never get fixed. It will help your gymnasts a lot and make this fan happy, (and maybe, make healthier ankles!)