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Back handspring help!

JJCE

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Dec 29, 2020
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My daughter is requesting help with her back handspring, this is one of her better attempts. At times she struggles with undercutting, she seems to be landing heavily on her hands but she's not sure how to fix it. Any suggestions are much appreciated.

 

Aussie_coach

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You are going to hear this from most coaches but we would generally recommend that she does not practice a skill that she is still developing at home, or in an air may and not with a parent spot.

It’s admirable that she is a dedicated gymnast and wants to improve her skills outside the gym. But when they practice in the gym their coach can watch each one and quickly correct errors. At home this doesn’t happen and errors can creep in, then the gymnast practices the mistakes and they become ingrained. It’s much harder to fix and ingrained mistake than it is to teach a skill from scratch.

I will tell you corrections that I would give the skill but each coach will want different things from their gymnast, as I am not her coach it may not be what her coach wants.

If she was my gymnast I would have her start with her arms at horizontal directly out in front of her, rather than to her ears. The arms need to swing enough that they hit the backwards horizontal before swinging back up to the ears.

By starting with the arms to the ears, when the timing is correct there is not enough time to powerfully swing them backwards to horizontal and then back to the ears. This means she will have to compensate by not swinging her arms enough or at the wrong time. This causes the back handspring to shorten.

The other things I would drill with her are lots of nice straight handstand holds, pushing up through the shoulders and handstand pops and lots of courbuettes.

From the angle of the video I can’t see her knees in take off. But a common cause of the undercutting back handspring is allowing the knees to come in front of the feet on push off or going up into the toes.

Watching videos of gymnasts doing real good quality handsprings can be valuable. It’s a form of visualisation.
 

JJCE

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Dec 29, 2020
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Thank you so much for taking the time to reply. She will give your suggestions with her arms a try and it's great for her to hear from yet another source that more handstands are important. We're not sure what courbuettes are? and neither does the internet :) perhaps it was a typo?

She had her back handspring and RBH (not super solid) in the gym earlier this year, then COVID, plus a small break to recover from a knee strain and she's taken a big mental hit. She had one bad Friday right before a meet and then the coach told her not to even try at the meet. Now her team, other than her and one girl, is doing them all unspotted and so the coach is elsewhere spotting other drills and just tells my daughter to just do a roundoff. So she feels like she can't even get a chance in the gym to practice, and this seems like a downward spiral.

We'll keep watching strong back handspring videos too!
 

Aussie_coach

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Courbuettes are handstand snap downs to a rebound.
 

JBS

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Looks pretty good as far as the general movement goes. More strength would be what I would recommend.
 

JJCE

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Looks pretty good as far as the general movement goes. More strength would be what I would recommend.
Thanks for your feedback, anything specific? I feel like she's not jumping enough but not sure how to build more leg strength.
 

bogwoppit

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Thanks for your feedback, anything specific? I feel like she's not jumping enough but not sure how to build more leg strength.


Jump squats, jump lunges etc Building explosive power will help her way more than doing BHS at home with mom. These are easy to follow, and very unlikely she will form bad habits. These drills will translate directly into the gym.



To add you can never be too strong through the core, everything in your center dictates how strong your extremities can be in rebounding skills. So plank variations are huge, plus any stability exercises.

As you see, there is a ton you can do at home to improve your BHS, without ever doing a BHS at home.
 

JJCE

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Proud Parent
Dec 29, 2020
6
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USA
Jump squats, jump lunges etc Building explosive power will help her way more than doing BHS at home with mom. These are easy to follow, and very unlikely she will form bad habits. These drills will translate directly into the gym.



To add you can never be too strong through the core, everything in your center dictates how strong your extremities can be in rebounding skills. So plank variations are huge, plus any stability exercises.

As you see, there is a ton you can do at home to improve your BHS, without ever doing a BHS at home.
Thank you so much I'll show her all these!

As you can imagine with kids, she's all about the skills and has less interest in conditioning, but I keep reminding her that she needs the strength. I got the air track so my kids can just all jump and bounce around all day having fun and not notice the calisthenics involved, she's already complained of some sore legs so I think it's working! I promise she's not trying more than a few BHS. Lots of roundoffs, front walkovers and back walkovers trying to get that perfect form and straight on the line.
 

CoachKay

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She seems to be dropping her chest a lot to try to get momentum. Instead of getting the momentum from pushing back off her toes, which is causing her to close her shoulder and jump back with bent knees. Lower body power would most likely help with the push back, and focus on smaller arm swing while keeping the chest up-back (as opposed to down-up) will as well. Plenty of beginner backhands look like this. She is doing well with it, focusing on the takeoff will help her improve and refine the skill. Watching well done videos and focusing on the athletes takeoff would be beneficial for visualization as mentioned before. I will also mention that I personally do not recommend her working backhands at home, not only is there potential risk of injury (One of my athletes actually came into the gym with a sling on her arm yesterday, after practicing her backhand at home!) but it is highly likely her technique will not improve as she is wiring but her brain through muscle memory to perform her backhands with such mistakes.
 
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JJCE

New Member
Proud Parent
Dec 29, 2020
6
Country
USA
She seems to be dropping her chest a lot to try to get momentum. Instead of getting the momentum from pushing back off her toes, which is causing her to close her shoulder and jump back with bent knees. Lower body power would most likely help with the push back, and focus on smaller arm swing while keeping the chest up-back (as opposed to down-up) will as well. Plenty of beginner backhands look like this. She is doing well with it, focusing on the takeoff will help her improve and refine the skill. Watching well done videos and focusing on the athletes takeoff would be beneficial for visualization as mentioned before. I will also mention that I personally do not recommend her working backhands at home, not only is there potential risk of injury (One of my athletes actually came into the gym with a sling on her arm yesterday, after practicing her backhand at home!) but it is highly likely her technique will not improve as she is wiring but her brain through muscle memory to perform her backhands with such mistakes.
Thanks very much! I will pass your thoughts on to her. We have not been practicing at home, just been busy with enough hours in school and the gym. Although she has been working on hanging from the pullup bar and doing leg lifts, and just bouncing for fun on the airtrak which I think has improved her strength in core and legs. She's having better success in the gym, can do both standing and RBH on the tumbleTrak, just gotta get them to the floor!
 
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