Hey all, just wanted to offer some great drills and tips for developing a great back handspring on beam – what I consider to be one of the most important skills to train on beam. First you want to take a look at timing. Here are some of my favorite drills to teach the rhythm and timing of a back handspring step out.
This should be done first with slow controlled movements (without weights) you don’t want the gymnast trying to pull the weight over their body by sagging their shoulders into the floor and losing shape. That being said, make sure to emphasize that they are pushing into the floor to make themselves tall. Progress onto quicker kicks and adding resistance via bands or weights when they’re ready.
Aside from the shoulder strength and control needed to resist twisting out of a step out, the jump is the area that I like to drill the most often. I try to tell my girls to jump as high as they can so as to give themselves plenty of time to find and put their hands down on the beam. Here are my favorite ways to get that jump nice and strong.
Tumbling up is what I’ve found works best to teach a strong jump. Add any one of the following in as a side station during your beam rotation and you’re set. Not videoed is a drill I like where the gymnasts starts with her feet on a low or floor beam, and does a BHS up to and elevated surface.
Here are two ways I progressively teach hand placement on the beam. With the second, the gymnast can begin moving quicker as she gets better at the drill.
Occasionally you’ll have a gymnast who seems to rebound out of that back handspring and fly off the beam. Or they have a hard time absorbing their power into their legs and sticking the skill. This is an awesome drill to work those tiny stabilizing muscles that are necessary for a controlled landing. This drill works across the board for most any skill that finishes in a lunge.
My last piece of advice is to get those numbers in. Do dozens on a line each day, or dozens on a fat floor beam, or dozens on a stacked low beam, whichever suits your facility and gymnasts. This is simply to build that muscle memory that is so important.