What are appropriate avenues to learning a back handspring? First, let’s start with the inappropriate – trying it at home. All too often, fear and injury are a result of kids “working” their back handspring outside of the gym. Here are safer alternatives:
#1: Back Handspring Clinic
Many gyms provide weekly or monthly opportunities for kids to participate in an hour-intensive introduction to back handsprings. The clinic offers circuit training with proper equipment, hands-on spotting from professionals, and kid-friendly explanations of the skill.
#2: Private Lessons
Although private lessons can be pricey (averages around a dollar per minute), they usually offer accelerated skill acquisition. A coach can cater instruction and drills to a child’s individual needs and learning styles. To make this option a bit more affordable, find a friend to share in the cost.
#3: Tumbling Class
It is common for gyms to offer tumbling exclusive classes. Unlike traditional gymnastics classes, tumbling classes do not dedicate time to the bars, beam, or vault, so more attention can be given to floor skills (such as the back handspring). If your child is antsy to get their back handspring, try a tumbling class!
It is important to allow the body and mind enough repetition to develop properly. All too often, children (or parents) give up on the trick, when the only ingredient missing, is time. Turning upside-down (not to mention backwards with speed), is not natural for most of the population. Allow your child to learn at her own rate – the journey is just as important as the final accomplishment!