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More Crooked Back Handsprings

My daughter's back handsprings go crooked and she seems slow too. What should she do? When she does her round off double back handsprings she goes crooked. She has been doing them alone for quite some time. They didn't seem crooked at the beginning of the season. It was just the last couple of meets and at practice, they seemed crooked.

Thank you for your prompt reply.

Most likely she is beginning the error in her round-off. Because it is a twisting/flipping and power generating skill, it is extremely complex, yet often not the focus of much practice because it's at the beginning of more exciting skills. Regardless, the way to correct her tumbling is to SEPARATE the skills and correct them individually.

For example: Have your daughter perform her Round-off... with a rebound-jump, (not a handspring) at the end. Make sure she's using the same steps/power/speed as normal. And most importantly, make sure she's working it on a straight line. I recommend having her practice the round-off PRECISELY upon a narrow strip of tape. Usually, the seam or tape on a floor exercise mat is perfect. Her feet should BOTH step upon the line as she runs, hurdles and steps into the round-off. Then at the rebound contact, both feet should be together ON the line... AND, finally... at the end of the rebound, both feet should be together ON the line. The rebound should be LONG, LOW and STRAIGHT.

If her round-off is CONSISTENTLY straight, 10 out of 10 repetitions... (with a 1" or less margin of error, right-to-left) then the problem is in the handspring. BUT start with the round-off. If it IS crooked, the error is probably in the hand placement... or she is ARCHING through the handstand position of the round-off... rather than ROUNDING (hence the name) her back... through the skill. Make sure her arms are FIRMLY against her EARS throughout the skill... and that the head NEVER sticks out from between the arms.  You can also use your tablet during practice to help with strength training and accuracy. (click here to find out how)

If the error is DEFINITELY in the handSPRING... have her practice 10 single STANDING back handsprings; standing, without a round-off... but, with a rebound... ON a straight line BEFORE she progresses to multiple handsprings. Working on a straight line (as if it is a balance beam) is a HUGE corrective influence.

Have fun, be safe push HARD!

You may also be interested in the following:
(FLASH player permission is required to view animations.)
Back Tuck Progressions
Benchmarks of Excellence
Cross Arm Spot
Gymnastics Jump
Jump, Set, Tuck
Lunge to Handstand
Round-Off Hand Placement
Straight Body Fall


Coach Wayne was the Head Coach for the Savannah College of Art and Design Cheerleading team and Executive Coach of Olympic Gymnast Zuzana Sekerova. His articles, videos, and books have been used by students and instructors worldwide since 1991. Coach Wayne is available for tumbling instructor certification training. For booking information, coaches/owners should text or call 912.238.1747.


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