I am an instructor for a jr. peewee cheer team and a girl on the squad
can do a back handspring but always lands on her knees if i don't spot
her enough. What do you think she is doing wrong and what can help her.
The handspring to squat is caused by a weak handstand and poor coordination
in the EXIT from the handspring.
If you look carefully at a well-formed handspring, you'll see that the
handspring is a HANDSTAND-based skill.
To get your student off her knees, we must STRENGTHEN her handstand entrance
Instead of a two-foot snap-down. Let's modify her exit to a "step-out."
The easiest way to develop her coordination and confidence with this exit
is to have her practice the "step-in and step-out" of a HANDSTAND
until she is proficient.
Have her step-in and step-out of her handstand 10 times each practice,
first on her right leg, then on her left. She can place her hands near
a wall and lean against the wall for support. If she needs a spotter to
help her safely step to the handstand and down again, she does not need
to be practicing her handspring at all yet; regress until she can step
to handstand against a wall by herself. If your student has NEVER done
this before, she may need a spot for the first 50 handstands, but after
the first 50 she should be on her own. A mat against the wall and on the
floor will make her feel more confident, but she should be PLACING her
hands softly on the floor in exactly the same location each time, not
slapping them on the floor. And she should be swinging her legs to the
handstand and gently letting them rest against the wall for balance, not
slapping them against the wall.
HOW IS YOUR TUMBLING?
come to YOUR gym!!!
tumbling for students &
Instructor training for staff
Wayne is 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 world wide since 1991. Coach
Wayne is available for in-gym instructor training and performance
tumbling clinics throughout the year. For booking information,
coaches/owners should call 912.398.8082. Students and parents
should request coaches/owners to contact Coach Wayne: www.CoachWayne.com,
firstname.lastname@example.org or 912-238-1747, 912-398-8082.
As a coach you must DEMAND excellence in her simple step-to-handstand.
IMPORTANTLY: To help with coordination, make sure she KEEPS her EYES focused
on where she is ABOUT to contact the floor (hands/feet) when she is moving
into and out of the handstand.
Once she can step into and out of the handSTAND, she is ready to step
out of the handSPRING. When you spot her handspring, slow her AT THE HANDSTAND
just a bit so she recognizes the handstand position. Have her stretch
a STRAIGHT body in the handstand position; then ask her to step out. As
soon as she realizes the handstand position in the handspring, she should
not need ANY help with her exit. Whether she jumps backwards into the
handstand position, or steps forwards into it, the familiar position will
be the same.
Make sure she's covering the proper distance in her handspring. The placement
of the hands and feet in the handspring can be precisely selected with
an unchanging benchmark.
If you're unfamiliar with the placement and distances of the hands and
feet in basic tumbling skills make sure to get a copy of my Benchmarks
While the step-out exit is beautiful and a valuable skill by itself, your
student will still need the snap-down rebound exit for multiple handsprings
and for entering back flips. By practicing her step-to-handstand DAILY
with both her LEFT and RIGHT legs in the lunge she'll be COORDINATED for
the two-foot landing, and it will take a load off your back while spotting.
But, we'll have to save the SNAP-DOWN rebound (two foot exit) for another
Have fun; be safe; push HARD.