BACK HANDSPRING SOLUTIONS
Teaching gymnastics is a challenging job. Not only do we as coaches spend hours writing lesson plans and teaching new skills, but we often have to fix things that a student "got" during a backyard practice session. One of the most common skills and most difficult to fix is the infamous back handspring.
When attempting to fix the handspring, the first thing to do is to fix the sitting position. Most students sit down too far, thus making it harder to push off the ground due to increased resistance. The teacher should instruct the student to sit down like they're sitting in a chair that is slightly too high for them. They should also lean back so that they are nearly falling over.
The next common problem is the gymnast's jump. Most students either jump straight up so their handspring undercuts (their hands land too close to their starting position), or they straighten their legs and fall backwards without jumping. To fix this, the instructor should lead the gymnast through multiple drills in which the gymnast jumps backwards onto an elevated surface.
Many gymnasts, once they master jumping correctly, have a lot of trouble with hand and arm placement. The easiest way to fix this is to remind the student that a handstand is the central and most integral part of a back handspring. I also like to encourage the gymnasts to look at their hands as they jump into the skill. This not only solves the problem of hand placement, but also fixes the potential problem of the athlete's arms collapsing beneath him or her.
The gymnast must now begin to concentrate on his or her leg position. Many gymnasts leave their legs loose and apart, causing them to lose control during the skill. The best way to solve this is to ask them to "glue" their legs together, squeezing so tightly that the instructor can't pull them apart.
Finally, most gymnasts forget to push through their shoulders, thus not creating the crucial "spring" motion in a...
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