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For Coaches cartwheel question about preschooler

  • Thread starter littlekateskate
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My daughter only likes to do a running start cartwheel because she cant do one from standstill position.

How can I help her do one at home. Should i not let her do one with a running start. Or will that help her build the strength to do them from a standing position?

Daughter is almost 5


Well-Known Member
Former Gymnast
Proud Relative
Jul 5, 2007
I would never teach with the run first. It is very common to take awhile to learn the cartwheel, especially at a young age. Cartwheels are perhaps more complicated than they appear, especially to do in a corrent "gymnastics" way. It requires a fair amount of strength, flexibility, and coordination to perform a smooth, straight leg cartwheel that goes over the top and is directionally correct. For preschoolers and kindergarteners, this is asking a lot, so it takes awhile to get it right. Once the gymnast has a good standing CW, we usually do not progress to a running hurdle, but to side chasses, CW, directly into side chasses and back (several times in a row) over mats. The gymnast needs to have the strength to perform this series with coordination and the ability to control their momentum and direction at that level (this is easier to do correctly than a run, correct hurdle into a "forward" cartwheel, as young children and even older beginning gymnastics can become confused with the direction from the forward approach and end up entering it more like a handstand). It is important that we identify the child's "best" side and that they learn a strong and correct approach as this will be the foundation for a lot of skills.

We also look for a good standing side CW, and a good standing "forward" CW (starting and ending in forward lunge on a line) before progressing with it further. For many kids, even once they've master the beginning of the forward CW, it takes several weeks more work to master the end (not falling over sideways, not going crooked, landing forward). This is normal.

I would not recommend that a running CW is a skill that needs to practiced at home for a 5 yo beginner. She will most likely improve after several more weeks of instructions. Improvement in gymnast generally appears slowly at this stage until there is a click and it comes together into the skill. It is better to work on straddle flexibility and general strength and posture such as forward, side, backward standing kicks with good form, since there is less room for error than with attempting to correct the technique of the skill without the proper equipment at home.
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