Fixing The Epidemic of Bent Kneed Back Handsprings

Hi All,

Today I’m going to talk a little about back handsprings. Specifically…frog legged back handsprings. Half the time at the end of level 3 routines I swear I avert my eyes. The epidemic of frog leg back handsprings is just…too much for me. Back handsprings are one of those things that I would rather spend some time on and not allow children to throw them even if they can in some ways “do” them. It’s so incredibly hard to fix frog legged back handsprings once a child does them like that.back handspring drill.jpg

I’ve been really liking this drill lately – especially for kids who can’t FEEL that their knees are bent. If you’ve got kids who complain about their backs hurting after doing this drill (I don’t have them do a ton, 2-3 each time and not too many in a practice), you can always do the same drill with their feet elevated on something – panel mat, lowish block etc. Just so that they understand the push – extend – squeeze action.

This is pretty much my most used back handspring drill (back handspring to fall flat). I start out with HS flat falls to stomach before adding in the back handspring. But I don’t think I have ever let a gymnast back handspring to their feet without doing this drill. And I often pull gymnasts back to it if I need to fix a technical issue. This drill is great for a couple reasons. 1) they can’t look like a frog, well they can, but it’s going to hurt so they generally don’t 2) I can stop them in the middle really easily and fix that handstand shape that I want 3) I can fix shoulder angles really easily.

This second drill I have to say I haven’t used. I generally stay away from back handspring trainers. It’s nothing against them, they have their place, but I just tend to like other drills better. That being said, for body tension and other reasons I think this is a great drill. Have you guys used this? Anything you can do in the beginning for body tension is good. I generally have kids do slow motion back handsprings for WEEKS before eventually letting them speed up (they also don’t get to full speed for weeks).

Train hard!


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