Welcome to our Gymnastics Discussion Community
554,231 messages... 44,365 topics... and 6,612 members
Join for FREE!
Thank you for supporting our sponsors Energym Music & Norberts & High 5 Meets!

Cartwheel on the beam...aaaah!

Not open for further replies.


New Member
Apr 16, 2008
My daughter has been practicing her cartwheel on the beam for who knows how long and she CAN'T get it. She started off with a stripe on the floor etc. but as soon as she gets even on the bean that's on the floor, her foot lands on the left side. I figure, it's typical.
She has a low bean at home and she keeps asking me WHAT's wrong with her cartwheel and I'm CLUELESS.

I asked her coach and she showed me what her position needs to be when she's about to do one, how the shoulder needs to align wtih their front knee (start in a lunge etc.)

If I sit infront of my daughter, from the moment she puts her hands on the bean I can tell she's already going to land on the side.

We've worked on her outside arm, making sure it doesn't go to her side (swing) but instead stays up next to her head. I see some girls do it with really poor form but don't fall off the beam!! :p

Is it just a matter of leaning her body more to one side?
I know, it's tough to say when you're not seeing her.

Any tips or a site that shows a video with proper form? Or what are the most common mistakes with this?


Active Member
Aug 27, 2006
My dds coach has told our girls that if you do a cartwheel properly you should be able to look under your arm and see your foot landing. Sometimes I've noticed that if you go too slow it is harder to lland it and you dont get your legs over the beam and they go out to the side instead of up and over.Thats all I know- I will defer to the experts though. Here's one site I like

Gymnastics Revolution - Gymnastics Interactive - 203-798-8651
Last edited:


New Member
Jul 6, 2008
One thing that helped me align my cartweel and stick it consistently was a drill that my coach set up on a floor beam. She unfolded two panel mats and stood them up almost right next to the beam and stacked other mats up on the outside of the panels to make sure they don't collapse. That drill definitely makes you stay on top of the beam and it helps with the stick.
I hope this wasn't too confusing =P I'm really bad at explaining things


Does your daughter do a lefty or rightly cartwheel (i.e. when she's in her beginning lunge, what foot is in front)? Or, in other words, when she cartwheels, is she landing to the side of the beam she can see or the side facing the back of her head? Random other question - can she do a decent roundoff?

The most common cartwheel problem is going around the side - legs do not go over the head and thus land off the beam to the side the kid can see. I suspect most reasons for this issue is due to fear. This is the first tumbling skill which is scary and it's not *too* difficult to crotch the beam. Going too slowly can can cause the legs to go around the side (although I suspect a kid goes slowly because it's "safer"). If she's tipping over backwards, it could also be from moving too slowly. This is not a side-handstand, step-down; it's a skill with continuous motion. I've never tried this drill with younger kids before, but maybe have her try some roundoffs on the beam. Roundoffs force a kid to push straight over the top, have some decent speed going, land confidently, and push through the shoulders. Which leads me to my next idea...

One technical problem could be in the shoulders. Make sure she pushes through the second shoulder as her hands come up. She's got to push through the shoulder as the hand comes off the beam and push her arm out in line with the beam. It's easy to let this arm drag a bit and often hard to see if it's dragging a bit.


cartwheels on beam

A number of years ago i had the privilege of working with a chinese olympic coach.

Her technique is too have the gymnast stand with her feet together on the beam with her arms beside her ears. Step forward and place the first hand (turned out) across the beam and the second hand is brought over the headand placed on the beam so the hands are in the position of the letter "T" with the fingers of the second hand pointing toward the first hand. This will automatically rotate the hips through the cartwheel she will land on the beam with one foot behind the other.

This should be the same hand placement for cartwheel on the floor and the roundoff. If this hand placement is used all tumbling on subsequent tumbling passes will be done in a straight line.

Hope you understand my explanation and i hope it helps her.



Well-Known Member
Former Gymnast
Proud Relative
Jul 5, 2007
I'm assuming she has a strong forward CW to forward lunge on a line on the floor. The big problem I see with "not confident" or awkward cartwheels (coaching beginner levels and cheer but this can go for technique problems on floor or beam) is a lack of rotation through the hip flexors (legs piked) and head too far out/shoulders over from the get go (trying to put both hands down too soon like a "sideways handstand." Usually if it starts wrong it just goes downhill from there. After they have the basic mechanics I will work on CW to HS (stopping in the side HS). The gymnast needs to be straight up and down, not leaning forward. This is like the L3/4 dismount and having a strong kick up to straight handstand hold (for a couple seconds) is really important in my opinion. If she does the CW to handstand and is immediately planching down (shoulder angle), or arching over, then it might help to work on hitting that support through the handstand phase.


My DD has gotten her cartwheel on the beam but she's still not consistent. She does have a good side handstand and can do both the pike dismount for L3 and the 1/4 turn dismount for L4. I have noticed that when she misses the cartwheel, its usually one of two things: either she's not getting her legs up over her head (getting vertical) or she's going too slowly and her legs just kind of fall off to the side. She also sometimes has this problem in combination- her first leg will land on the beam but then she kind of quits before the back leg is down and thus falls off.
Last edited by a moderator:


May 3, 2008
I really didn't get my cartwheel on beam until this summer. I was taught a trick with my hands. When your dd does a cartwheel, her hand furthest away from her turns into her body. The hand closest to her body grasps onto the beam as if she was doing a handstand with her stomach facing away from the ends of the beam. If that is confusing, I am very sorry. Be sure that she watches her first foot touch the beam. Also, her back should not arch or she will miss the beam.

Hope that helps or doesn't confuse you!
Last edited:


Proud Parent
Feb 16, 2008
DD has had a great deal of problem with this skill also. She just did not get her legs over her head enough, tried to go around like other posters said can be a problem. Finally her coach started to stand next to her at the beam, and guide her at the hip with one hand. If DD was standing on the right hand side of the beam and tumbling left she would use her left hand on DD right hip to somewhat guide her to land on the beam. She would do this 3-4 times, then step back and let DD do it without spot and then proceed to step back further. DD still will not kick over the top enough at times if she has not been on beam for a while and comes back to them, so one or two spots are enough to help her out.

I guess Monday at practice she missed the first one that she tried on her own, then made every other one with out any spots at all. She even moved up to the medium beam to try, but missed those.



Oh goodness; I can totally relate to this problem. My dd just has serious issues w/ most skills on the Beam. It's what's holding her back from becoming a level 5! sigh
She just went to the local University's summer camp and learned a few things that made her feel more comfortable on the beam. Her current coaches are good about her and the beam ; but I think w/ some new blood (at the U); it helped some.. I just wonder if we'll ever get this skill! LOL she can do it on the "hot dog " beam and the floor beam but once she gets to the med. sized beam; she jsut lands on the side. I kNOW it's a fear thing. Odd thing is that she'll try anything on bars, vault and floor (already has both kips, RO 3 flip flops etc!). It's just that darn beam!
Not open for further replies.