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For Coaches Handstands

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R

Rec Coach

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Hi, I've been reading this site a lot for the past couple months...love all the advice!

I need some suggestions regarding handstands.

We are a small rec club and our 'advanced' group is probably around the US level4/5 skill wise (front/back handsprings, beginning tucks, whips). The frustration we have is that none of the girls can hold a handstand for more than a couple seconds. They have beautiful tight body handstands but they just can't seem to stay balanced. We only train a couple hours a week and we do some handstand work every week but they don't seem to be getting any better. We often do incurve hold, tight body lifts, handstand against wall and just plain handstands...any other suggestions for practicing balancing??? (We don't have much equipment as we're in a school gym)
 

gymdog

Well-Known Member
Coach
Former Gymnast
Proud Relative
Jul 5, 2007
5,121
Tell them the balance is in their fingertips. They will probably have to press them into the ground to counter their weight. It is easier to practice this on the beam.

There aren't a lot of drills for this really but you can try having the kick up to HS, and stand by their side with one hand on either side of their legs, about a foot or so apart. They will try to balance without touching your hands, but if they fall one way or another, tap them back to the correct position and have them keep trying to balance. Do this for thirty seconds or so...the better they get, the wider you can put your hands.

Also having them do this on a bar or floor bar will help develop some of the wrist/counterbalance action.
 

Geoffrey Taucer

Former Admin
Gold Membership
Coach
Former Gymnast
Jan 21, 2007
4,077
Baltimore, MD
Country
USA
Tell them to use their wrists and fingertips to balance (ie push down with their fingertips when they start to fall forward, push down with the heel of the palm when they start to fall backwards). Beyond that, it's just repetition. Handstand contests can be pretty effective sometimes :)
 

Valentin

Coach
Coach
Nov 12, 2007
376
USA
HI

Unless you have told the kids already, you do actually need to teach kids how to use the wrists and fingers to blalance..
Tell them your hands are like your feet. Have them stand, and lean forward and ask them to feel they dig in with their toes to try and stop themselves, and then do the same with leaning back...and how they dig in with the heel.
Well Now in the handstand the fingers are the toes and the palm/back of the palm of the hand is the heel...same things.. Given the kids have tension this is all you need to balance a handstand.

However, this not really enough. tell them to keep their fingers spread as wide as possible and have then bend their fingers slightly, so that when they place their hands on the floor their fingers aren't totaly straight but slightly bent at the first and second joint of the fingers...kinda like a tiger claw thing but now that much bend... this will help them with pushing hard! witht the fingers/to dig in.
Pushing on the floor with straight fingers is HARD! and requires much more strength then with the sloght bend fingers (for anatomical reasons)

Balance aids... work it on the Parallets, on the trampoline (REALLLY HARD, but it does help improve the proprioception in the wrists), and strengthens the fingers and so on, work in on mats, and also work it on a harder surface...like Lino. It is much easier to balance on a harder surfece then on the soft surface. All this will help them get that feeling.

Hope that helps
 
G

gymnasticcoach

Guest
handstand balancing

Hi, one drill i use is to hang a rope from a height, hi bar, etc, and attached to the end of the rope to a foam cube.

Have the gymnast do a handstand under the rope/foam and hold the foam between the feet. This is not only helps to improve balance but is fun and can be made into a contest

Don
 
B

BlairBob

Guest
That sounds like a really neat drill, Don. To get them to hold handstands for time is merely a matter of repitition. Handstand walking and doing long extended handstands on the wall with your toes bouncing off the wall to simulate the struggle for balance.
 

lannamavity

Member
Sep 13, 2007
409
way out West
We used to tape a hula hoop on top of the pbars and have the kids do handstands and pirouettes on the floor between the bars with their legs in the hoop.

It helps them find vertical, and teaches them to adjust when their legs touch the bar. It helps to tell the girls that the boys were last to use the hoops, so they should try to avoid touching the edges of the hoop.
 
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