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Need some good front handspring drills

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Geoffrey Taucer

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One of my guys is having a lot of trouble learning a front handspring on floor. He pulls his chin in and breaks his shoulder angle, and because of this can't get a decent block. I've tried a number of drills I've seen work in the past, but none seems to be doing this kid any good.

Anybody got some good drills to help him extend his shoulders and keep his head back?
 

gymdog

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I just saw this (and that no one replied). I'm having the same problem with someone I'm trying to help (not a kid I coach, someone in the gymnastics club I run). I haven't really figured it out. I find front handsprings kind of frustrating to teach from the beginning on the whole. I've had some luck in the past going to the bounder (tramp first, working from donkey kicks, then from a punch on floor) and seeing if they can maintain the tight arch position better there, but that's not really going to work with my current person.
 
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BlairBob

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Sounds like my two level 5's last year. One had ok shoulder flexibility and the other was poor to ok. OTOH, my L4 stud who is uber flexible in the shoulder did the same thing when learning it ( which I barely concentrated on during the competitive season ). They also had the same error in their headspring ( much more difficult IMO to land nice and arched ).

I and the other tramp/tumble coach focused a lot on flyspring on tumbl-trak eyes on hands. One of his drills was land arched flop on stomach.

With the little uber stud is was a matter of just learning the technique. Poor to ok L5 was a matter of just being raw and inflexible didn't help ( and raw/rough basics [ 1st year 5 only about 1.5 years into gym ]). Returning L5 with ok shoulder flexibility just didn't ever apply himself with the technique except rarely.

I did hand spot FHS timers where they just step from a lunge and hit the inverted arched position and I carry them. I will regret to say that I did not work much on handstand blocks on floor because their HS were just too poor to begin with. I don't work a HS block until they have a decent HS and can walk in a HS. Doing a HS pop with the head out, shoulders not pushed out, closed shoulder angle is just pointless IMO. With one, he wouldn't even kick to HS without bending his back knee going to HS. Arggh.

Occasionally I worked some front limber up hill or down hill to bridge focusing on eyes on the hands. If they tucked their chin in, they tended to just fall on their butt.
 

Valentin

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Nov 12, 2007
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Hi

Geoffrey what drills have you done?
Drills that can help this common fault are:
1- Go back to hand spotting the skill. but do it from a step lunge.. handstand block (making sure a nice lunge and reach into the HS) then spot and shape the handspring.
2- Do the handspring down from an elevated surface. So like doing the handspring of a panel mat. Feet on the mat and the hands are on the floor. This forces! the gymnast to reach down and lunge on that leg in order to put the hands down. otherwise they will dive and well it wont be to pleasant as you can imagine.
3- Re evaluate your gymnast entry into the handstand. Generally if you entry into the handstand is no good it will transfer to the handspring. If there are faults (like closing of the shoulders, depresed scapulas, lazzy first leg, weak push of the lunge leg etc. then spend the time to fix them.

Hope this helps. I think the best way to go about avoiding the problem in the first place is to
1- make sure the handstand entry and handstand block are solid (as in that problem is not present)
2- Handspot the handspring from a lunge..dont let them run at it until basic prep is solid
3- Under basic handspring prep spend time working the entry (its really boring for you and gymnast but it beats the frustration of your gymnast not getting it right)
 

Geoffrey Taucer

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Hi

Geoffrey what drills have you done?
Drills that can help this common fault are:
1- Go back to hand spotting the skill. but do it from a step lunge.. handstand block (making sure a nice lunge and reach into the HS) then spot and shape the handspring.
2- Do the handspring down from an elevated surface. So like doing the handspring of a panel mat. Feet on the mat and the hands are on the floor. This forces! the gymnast to reach down and lunge on that leg in order to put the hands down. otherwise they will dive and well it wont be to pleasant as you can imagine.
3- Re evaluate your gymnast entry into the handstand. Generally if you entry into the handstand is no good it will transfer to the handspring. If there are faults (like closing of the shoulders, depresed scapulas, lazzy first leg, weak push of the lunge leg etc. then spend the time to fix them.

Hope this helps. I think the best way to go about avoiding the problem in the first place is to
1- make sure the handstand entry and handstand block are solid (as in that problem is not present)
2- Handspot the handspring from a lunge..dont let them run at it until basic prep is solid
3- Under basic handspring prep spend time working the entry (its really boring for you and gymnast but it beats the frustration of your gymnast not getting it right)
The main thing I've been doing with him is hand spotting them from a step lunge, like you said. More and more, though, I'm thinking his problem is shoulder flexibility; his shoulders seem to have stiffenned up a lot over the past year or so.

I hadn't even thought about returning to his handstand entry. I'll take a look at that tonight.
 
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KBT

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I've never tried this, but it might work. Is this a kid who's ready for BHS-FHS-BHS-FHS over and over on a trampoline? If so, connecting the FHS to BHS might help because you can't go into a BHS well if your head is tucked towards your chest.
 

zeng13

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Jul 31, 2007
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I also have some of my girls doing front handsprings on an elevated surface. I have a panel mat in front of a big mat at least 16 in, high. The girls put their hands on the mat for the front handspring entry then pop to a hollow body postion onto the mat. Make sure the gymnast watchs their hands the whole time to help prevent them from tuckin their chin in. The idea of this drill is for the gymnast to do a fast front handspring and land on his/her back in a hollow postion.
 

Geoffrey Taucer

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Why train a hollow position out of a front handspring?
 
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BlairBob

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Geoff, in the case of KBT drills the back handspring will not land hollow but in an arched.

It will land in a position similar of the method of doing a backhandspring by hopping the feet forward ( so they are well in front of the knees and hips as they would be from a round off into back handspring or round off timer to back ) so the body enters the back handspring already in a backward lean and perhaps a nice tight slight arch ( we have to be so careful with this word in WAG ).

Honestly, I would go back to looking at the shoulder flexibility in the handstand and the strength of their handstands in general. If his handstand in general is poor it's just gonna get real sloppy in the FHS. He could also be doing all sorts of funky things in the entry as have been mentioned.

One of my 5's last season had a bad habit of kicking into a simple held handstand with bent knees. Sure enough it was in his FHS and headspring. His handstand came along but was poor and it showed throughout his front tumbling and 1/2 pirouette.
 
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coachamyamerican

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I didn't see that this was mentioned (if it is I am sorry) but I have my girls do front handsprings off of stacked panel mats. (start with 3 high and several in a row to make a runway) I usually spot at wrist and mid back so they can feel the correct arch position. I mark an X on the floor (feet landing) so they cant be too open in their arch. As they improve, I usually remove mats and start doing handsprings over an octagon. (hands on floor in front, feet on other side.) The drill that uses hands on floor and land on elavated surface tends to improve them once the form is there for rebounds and blocking through the skill.
I feel that front handsprings are hard to teach and for some are never really mastered! Good luck!
 

CoachLin

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Jun 29, 2007
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Have you tried doing front head springs down a cheese wedge? before we even strat front handsprings we teach head spring down a wedge...from a stand. Then progress to fly spring and then handspring...alot of work is done on the trampoline fist...always telling them to keep their "eyes on their Fries ( hands)"...
Alot of work done form stand, off of inclined cheese wedges, from hurdle - you could try having them do handstand bumps BUT have them bump BACKWARDS instead of forwards to help with the block....Hope some of this helps!
 
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BlairBob

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I like the idea of handstand hop backwards. No way to do that with a compromised shoulder angle or through the chest.
 
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TuesdayPillow

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Not sure if you're still looking for ideas. I never used headspring drills for front handsprings. The gym I'm at does and I notice their kids have a hard time NOT ducking their head in both their front handsprings on floor and on vault. I use front limber drills (not always so easy for boys). They do front limbers off mats and going uphill.
Using panel mats, I like to have them do front handsprings not just on (as many will try to tuck to get on) but also half on, half off. They will run and put their first foot on the mat and their hands and land off it. Or, they may just put their hands on. Or they can put hands on and land on the mat.
I also like doing a drill where you put a springboard in front of a cheese mat that is against the wall. They then take a couple of running steps to it and put their hands on the springy part of the springboard and block off, touching their whole body to the mat (or you can do just toes - this is also a good vault drill if you incorporate an arm circle). If they duck their head, they will land on it because their shoulder angle will close (of course). If they keep their focus on their hands, they will land back on the board in a nice handstand position.
Hope this helps.
 
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