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How to help my DDs BHSs?

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mariposa

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My DD has been working on her back handsprings since November. At first, she was doing them well and started doing them on her own. Then, for some unknown reason, she started jumping UP instead of back. This has been going on for months now. She jumps way up. Has actually almost got her standing back tuck (which confuses me as to why they even showed them how to do this. It was for fun, but they are not even L4 yet. ) with just a tiny touch on her back, per her coach. And that she seems to have to jump up for.

I keep wanting her coach to go back to the basics, but it doesn't happen. She just always tells her to jump back, not up and will have her jump back into her arms, but I am thinking she needs to go back to doing them over a barrel or something.

She begs me to help her at home and though I feel comfortable spotting her, and admittedly have done it a couple times on our king size bed, I don't want to teach her bad habits or step on toes. We played around with it a few times after they first got introduced to her and a few times recently when she was insistent on trying to get the jumping back part right.

I just don't know what to do. Her coach even asked another coach to help her for a few tries last night and that didn't help either. DD says that all they keep telling her is to jump back and she says she feels like she is. She is 5 1/2.

Is this common? What should I do? I hate seeing her get frustrated and hate seeing it get overlooked week after week. She will occasionally do one that looks right, but the next is jumping up again.

She has a good backbend, bridge kickover, back walkover and almost her back limber.

I am afraid to approach the coach, but am unsure what to do. Are there any things that she can do at home (excluding me spotting her) such as drills, etc? She really wants to get this, but I am not sure she even knows what she is doing wrong.

Here is a not so good video of her trying to connect her ROBHS about 2 months ago or so. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oRdQp-EhWak

Thanks for any advice.
 
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hammy

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The backhandspring in the video jumped "back" enough. Jumping up instead of back is a very common issue for gymnasts learning backhandsprings, and sometimes it even comes back to haunt girls who have been doing them for a while. As a coach, when this happens I will either do a slow motion bhs with the girls (actually lifting them and carrying them through the correct positions, inlcuding the take off position), or I will have them do 'jump backs'. For jump backs, I find a big whale mat or a stack of eight inch mats and I have the gymnast jump up and back onto the mat as though they'd be jumping back for their bhs.
 

mariposa

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Thanks Hammy. I should have said, that when she does her RO BHS, she seems to do better, but they have been working on the standing BHS and she just keeps jumping up and not back. I don't have any video of it.

I guess we will just have to wait until it clicks with her. She isn't a perfectionist and doesn't seem to care if others have skills before her, so she isn't super frustrated, but she does get upset that she thinks she IS jumping back and apparently isn't. I just wanted to help her in someway because she keeps asking me to spot her on them at home, which I won't do. I told her I would see if there was anything else we could do at home to help. I think I could simulate the jump back thing on our bed with our mini trampoline.
 

Aussie_coach

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It probably was a mistake to have the girls working standing back tucks while they were still just learning their Back handsprings. For kids that young it can be hard for them to understand the different body positioning and it is a good idea to have a solid BHS before starting the BT. But some coaches prefer to teach both skills at the same time. But I have seen many girls srtuggle with their BHS due to working to early on BT's.

She should feel like she is going to fall backwards just before she jumps into the BHS. Get her to imagine she is sitting on a chair and just before she falls down she jumps back hard. This may help.

Another way is to have her coach place a hand on the centre of her back and ask her to push into the hand as she takes off as it will help her simulate pushing back.

Going bacl to the early drills will help too, jumping back onto mats, going over a barrell and so on and she should try to picture these drills as she goes into the back handspring.

Spotting at home is not a good idea and you have pinpointed exactly why. If she is practing any sort of mistakes at home all she is doing in reinforcing them and making them harder to break. As you say you don't fully understand why it isn;t working for her so it can make it a lot more difficult.

Don't be afraid to approach the coach. As coaches our biggest worries are not being critisized by parents it is when the kids are frustrated or the parents are frustrated about something and we don't know it, and they are going home each time unhappy. We would much rather be told what is upsetting the gymnasts and parents so we can deal with it.

Some coaches are defensive and think that if a parent approaches them they are being critisized but that is due to insecurity on the side of the coach. When you approach the coach try opening with something positive. Let them know how much your daughter is enjoying the classes but there is a small problem. Give the impression you want to work as a team not tell them how to do their job. It sounds like the coaches are unaware that she is not understanding.
 

mariposa

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Aussie_coach,

Thanks for your visualization suggestions. I did mention it to her coach one time, but she didn't seem worried about it. Said something about her being only 5 and that she had it before, that it would come back. My DD doesn't show frustration when she is working on something usually. But she is very talkative to me on the way home. LOL.

Also, thanks for your insider information about how coaches think. I appreciate it!

The standing back tucks were actually just for fun one day. Except my DD keeps trying to do them when she is supposed to be doing a BHS. She thinks they are just the greatest thing.

Again, thanks for your ideas and opinions! :D If I get up the nerve to talk to the coach, I will come back and read your post first! :D
 

lannamavity

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The bottom line is: your daughter is going through the normal process which all gymnasts go though when learning, perfecting and maintaining skills. It's especially common for a 5 year old to be inconsistent with new skills.

It's not the last issue she is going to have. More important than learning a backhandspring is the way you respond to her difficulties. Any sign of lack of confidence in the coach on your part (and kids notice EVERYTHING), will set a precedence as to how to deal with inevitable difficulties down the road.

The catch 22 for any coach in terms of teaching back tucks and back handsprings simultaneously:

"My daughter gets confused when you teach both back handsprings and back tucks. Why are you teaching both???"

"Why do you make my daughter to back handsprings all the time??? She's not learning how to do a back tuck for Level 6. She's BORED."

These questions are why coaches get sick of questions. Parents are going to ask one question or the other...depending on the situation. At times, they are parents of two kids training side-by-side on the same day.

Few coaches are able to avoid this problem...they just deal with it over and over.

Just because a coach doesn't panic when an athlete has a setback, doesn't mean they don't care. Part of being a good coach is just being patient...kind of like being a good parent.
 

mariposa

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lannamavity,

as far as responding to my DDs difficulties, i have simply told her "don't worry. you will eventually get your BHS. just keep trying and have fun." she is the one who told me that she does try to jump back, but doesn't know why she always jumps up.

i actually love her coach. she is very good with the girls and always keep us parents up to date on how our girls are doing, etc. she is the perfect combo of fun and strictness and it is obvious she loves the girls. i did not take her lack of concern for lack of caring about my DD. her coach has been great from the start and i am so glad that she is DDs coach. she always asks us if we have any questions or knows what the skill is when she names something. she is great.

this has been an issue for a few months and my DD is the one that talks about it. my only question when she is done with class is "did you have fun?" that is my only concern. as i said, i talked to her coach, who wasn't concerned, and is sure she will eventually get it since she has done it before. i even told my DD that her coach is confident that she will figure it out.

i asked this question because my DD has expressed frustration to ME, her mama, that she tries to jump back, but ends up jumping up. she says that her coach always tells her to jump back, but when she tries, she jumps up. i was hoping for (and got) A) reassurance that this is normal and have told my DD again not to worry, that she will get her BHS when she is ready. and B) ideas on how to help her (the chair visualization was great). i doubt i would ever suggest to her coach that she start from the beginning, mostly because i don't want to step on any toes, though i am almost positive that her coach would not have a problem with me talking to her about it.

your tone sounds like you have a bit of a problem with parents questioning coaches and i can understand both sides of the issue. i am sure it is frustrating to be a coach at times, just as it is probably frustrating to be a parent of a gymnast sometimes.
 

lannamavity

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lannamavity,

as far as responding to my DDs difficulties, i have simply told her "don't worry. you will eventually get your BHS. just keep trying and have fun." she is the one who told me that she does try to jump back, but doesn't know why she always jumps up.

i actually love her coach. she is very good with the girls and always keep us parents up to date on how our girls are doing, etc. she is the perfect combo of fun and strictness and it is obvious she loves the girls. i did not take her lack of concern for lack of caring about my DD. her coach has been great from the start and i am so glad that she is DDs coach. she always asks us if we have any questions or knows what the skill is when she names something. she is great.

this has been an issue for a few months and my DD is the one that talks about it. my only question when she is done with class is "did you have fun?" that is my only concern. as i said, i talked to her coach, who wasn't concerned, and is sure she will eventually get it since she has done it before. i even told my DD that her coach is confident that she will figure it out.

i asked this question because my DD has expressed frustration to ME, her mama, that she tries to jump back, but ends up jumping up. she says that her coach always tells her to jump back, but when she tries, she jumps up. i was hoping for (and got) A) reassurance that this is normal and have told my DD again not to worry, that she will get her BHS when she is ready. and B) ideas on how to help her (the chair visualization was great). i doubt i would ever suggest to her coach that she start from the beginning, mostly because i don't want to step on any toes, though i am almost positive that her coach would not have a problem with me talking to her about it.

your tone sounds like you have a bit of a problem with parents questioning coaches and i can understand both sides of the issue. i am sure it is frustrating to be a coach at times, just as it is probably frustrating to be a parent of a gymnast sometimes.
Perhaps I responded to your post (well as Aussie's) in defense of the coach who is not included in this discussion. She could be doing everything right and this problem could still come up. That's my point. I'm not suggesting that you are "one of those parents" by any means.

I was having this discussion earlier tonight. I wish I could help parents see a timeline of an average gymnast's career, and what a microscopic flash in time one bad workout, or a month of frustration with a skill, or concern about a "move up" from Level 4 to Level 5 truly is. I understand that a sad, frustrated child is hard to deal with, and as a parent, there is an overwhelming urge to help in any way possible, but it appears equally hard to put things in perspective from the angle of the sport.

I read some wise words on this board about the sport of gymnastics being a marathon instead of a sprint...which is so true.

Maybe instead of technical questions...which aren't all bad...it would be best to ask the parents of some Level 10s if they remember their daughter having trouble with backhandsprings or similar skills.

I'd love to hear what the response is. You may be amazed by the insight they have.
 
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mariposa

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lanna,

i thought i responded to this, but i didn't.

i did not mean to disrespect DDs coach AT all. she is amazing and i am very thankful that we found our current gym and her current coaches.

like i said, i really just wanted to help my DD out since she was getting frustrated with herself.

as an update, she got her BHS back, though it isn't the most pretty BHS. LOL. like all her skills, she seems to first get the mechanics of it, and eventually works on making it look pretty. she still jumps up sometimes, but is getting the idea. she even still lands on her head sometimes.

i am sure one day i will look back on all this with a different perspective. you are totally right about that!

i do appreciate all the time the coaches take to answer our questions, here and at the gym. i know for me, having my DD choose gymnastics as a sport and really loving it, is scary. i have read and read things online and basically freaked myself out and it really is hard for me to rationalize her being in gymnastics sometimes. sometimes i don't want to bug her coaches with all my fears and concerns, so i ask questions here.
 
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