Back Handsprings Advice for Gymnasts
Because of the difficulties that they encounter when doing back handsprings, gymnasts often feel a lot of anxiety when learning to perform this stunt. In fact, learning how to do walk-overs causes them more worries than being liked by boys.
In this article, you will find some ways of lowering your daughter's anxiety level and talking her through a stunt that she is having some problems with. You just need to take note that the period that it will take for your child to acquire this skill may vary depending on her age, her natural physical ability, her sense of balance, her level of confidence and her motor learning ability. Because of this, learning this skill may take one month to three years. During this type, the proper groundwork should be laid in order for the gymnast to learn the proper mechanics of this skill.
Since a back handspring is considered to be an advanced skill, it is not taught to gymnasts until they reach level 3. The reason for this is the fact that it requires good body control, body awareness, flexibility, strength and a sense of timing which can all be gained after doing tons of tumbling, back-bending, back-walkovers, handstands, round-offs and other unrelated skills such as dive rolls and cartwheels. All these moves can teach a gymnast how to be aware of her body as well as maintain control of her body.
You have to remember that the back handspring cannot be taught in a week or even a month. In order for your child to get it right, she should have a good background in tumbling. This means that the skill should be taught by a certified or experienced gymnastics or tumbling coach, not through the Internet, IM or a video. This doesn't mean that you can't make it easier for her to learn the back handspring by helping her improve her strength and flexibility and increasing her confidence.
Confidence is very important when it comes to learning how to do a back handspring. The first thing that you need to do is to put yourself in your child's shoes and imagine what she would be afraid of. And, you would realize that she could be afraid of a lot of things like making a mistake and hitting her head on the mat, landing in an awkward position and spraining her ankle. She could also be afraid of being ridiculed by the people around her if she doesn't do it right. In order for your child to gradually let go of these fears, you have to increase her confidence slowly.
And, one of the best ways to build your child's confidence is to build her strength because "Strength is confidence."
The first thing that you need to is to look for a proper venue for practicing this skill. You should find an open area with a soft mat or a well-cushioned carpet. Practicing a hand spring in the living room, for example, may cause head injuries or shins from bumping into your furniture. Attempting to practice doing back handsprings in a cramped area, such as your home, can be very dangerous. If you are not a member of a gym, you should check if the gyms in your area have an Open Gym day or evening. If that's the case, you can head there every week to practice with some coaches who have taken a course in gymnastics when they were in college.
Here are some guidelines that you can use when working on this skill in a gym. You should start by practicing it on a cheese or incline mat. You should start by imagining that you are sitting on a chair. As you bend your knees and lower your hips, you will feel that you are about to fall on your rear. At this point, you should jump hard while pulling your legs over your head. You should push the floor hard with your hands while making sure that your arms remain straight and strong. It's like jumping backward and doing a handstand. Some coaches may ask you to swing your arms while others will advice you to keep them near the head. You should consult your coaches about this.
Although it may seem like doing a back handspring involves
arching one's back, it shouldn't be the case. When you
start doing some round off flip-flops, your back shouldn't
be too arched. Doing some back handsprings from a stand,
on the other hand, may require you to create a lot of
momentum from nothing. Because of this, arching your back
may be needed. In order to do this correctly, you should
concentrate on throwing your arms back and opening up
your shoulder angle.
The second part of the process involves getting a folded panel mat or a springboard. This should be placed flat on the floor in front of you. For a springboard, position it in such a way that the thicker part of the board is facing you. Now, try to do a handstand on the board or mat. In this position, your knees should be slightly bent, your back should be arched a little and you should also push your shoulders open as much as you can. With your stomach, back and arm muscles, push your body back to a hollow position before you land on your feet on the floor in front of the board or mat.
Although this may seem a little bit difficult, it is the second part of a back handspring. You should keep your body hollow while driving your feet to the ground and lifting your chest at the same time. This will make it easier for you to land on your feet.
When you've finally learned how to do these two drills without any discomfort, you can start putting them together. You can do this by placing a folded panel mat at the head of an 8-inch crash mat. You should stand on the panel mat with your back facing the crash mat. Before you start performing the two moves together, you should ask a spotter to monitor your height and rotation.
You should try to swing your arms harder if you find
it difficult to get over to your hands. You can try doing
a back handspring on an inclined mat as long as you have
a spotter with you. This will make it easier for you to
go over to your hands.
Since the back handspring is an advanced tumbling skill,
learning it requires a lot of effort. One of the problems
that you may encounter is landing on your head. Here are
some steps that you can use for guiding your daughter.
You should also tell her to keep her arms and hands narrow.
This means that her hands should be close to each other
and her arms should be so close to her ears, she could
feel them brushing against ears as she performs the skill.
After that, you can ask her to bend backwards and reach for the floor with her hands instead of her head. This may seem like commonsense but she should be reminded to put her hands on the floor when she does a handspring in order to avoid the common mistake of hitting her head on the floor instead.
One of the secrets of being able to do great handsprings is to ask her to pass through a complete handstand position. The spotter should ask her to do her handspring slowly so that he could coach her and fix her form when she is in this position.
Doing a headstand and keeping her arms in the correct position for 10 to 20 seconds can be a great drill for a back handspring.
QUESTION: My daughter tends to have crooked back handsprings. Although she ends up going in a straight line because she always straightens out when she lands, her hands usually land about six inches to the left. Her form looks a bit strange. Without that problem, her form is quite perfect. Can you give me some suggestions as to how she could correct this? We've tried "following the line on the ceiling." Unfortunately, because she over-compensated by putting the force to her right and moving her left arm back father than her right, it tends to damage her form even though it does straighten her course.
ANSWER: Crooked back handsprings may happen because your daughter's head is tilted to one side instead of looking forward. Perhaps you should tell her to keep her eyes on her hands whenever she throws them upward at the beginning of a handspring until she's back on her feet. As long as she follows the movements of her hands, she would be able to correct any errors that she might make while doing her handspring and take the proper measures to fix her form. If she has the tendency to bend her arms when her hands reach for the floor, she would be able to straighten them. On the other hand, she may also notice the way she throws one arm harder than the other. In such cases, she should do her back handsprings with her hands tied. This will stop her from swinging her hands too far away from each other. Of course, such a dangerous skill should be done with a spotter.
QUESTION: Although I can see that my daughter has her basics down pat, I can't help but notice the fearful look on her face whenever she tries to do a back handspring. She even stops before even going over. Can you tell me what she's going through?
ANSWER: It's possible that the problem is psychological. It's normal for her to be afraid so don't make her feel that it's wrong to feel that way. If you were told to leap backwards, upside-down, you might end up being terrified. Perhaps you should talk to her and illicit the cause of her fears. After you get it out of her, help her find some coping mechanisms. If she's terrified about hitting her head, for example, you should remind her that she'll be safe on a mat, or in a Port-a-pit. You could even point out how soft they are. She may also be afraid of being embarrassed in front of her friends if she fails to do a back handspring. If that's the case, you should give her a pep talk on peer pressure, being strong and focusing on her. After acknowledging her fears, you can help her by supporting her as she slowly learns the new skill. You can also assure her by keeping some spotters around her every time she tries to do a back handspring.
QUESTION: Although most of her classmates have already done a back handspring, my daughter still couldn't do one even though she's been working on it for a year now. Because she's very stressed out about it, this skill has been holding her back. How can I help her? Should I ask her to keep on practicing until she finally learns how to do it?
ANSWER: You shouldn't push her too hard. If she keeps on practicing without getting the correct form, she might end up stuck with an imperfect back handspring. Each failure can contribute to the creation of a bad motor pattern. Perhaps you should allow her to take a break from doing back handsprings. A month would do. During this period, you should ask her to invest more time on her other skills. This will take her mind off back handsprings. And, after some time, she can start practicing her back handsprings again and learning the skill without lugging a lot of emotional baggage.
With end of this special report, we’d like to encourage
you hang on and use this cheer: “Lose the fear – Back
handsprings are here!”