For Coaches Back handsprings - heavy trampoline training or not?

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Proud Parent
May 15, 2013
Hi coaches,

I have a new Excel Bronze dd (been in gymnastics 4.5 months), and I'm new to the sport as a parent who never did gymnastics (sadly - would have loved to!).

Understandably, all the girls are excited to learn the bhs as one of the next skills. I've noticed at our gym that the rec class coach has their girls on the trampoline a LOT doing BHS repeats, among other things on the trampoline/track. In the Excel Pre-team/team, however I note very little usage of the trampoline (or tumble track) for much.

I do note that the Rec girls seem to be learning the BHS on the trampoline, and are now starting to do it on the floor already. Some Excel girls watch and are a bit jealous ;-) I did hear a comment from one Excel coach once that she didn't like to teach on trampoline, but I didn't follow up at the time as to why.

This just makes me curious - are there different philosophies about using the trampoline for BHS or similar skill acquisition? Is there anything negative about it? Any reason why Rec would use it more than Excel in teaching?

thanks for satisfying my curiosity as I find this sport, which is new to me, very intriguing.

Eventually you have to bring it to floor. It can be too easy. So you may have kids who can do it on a tramp but don't have it on Tumbl trak or a wedge.

If you have to bring all the kids to the tramp, you just can't be very efficient as they are all sitting around or doing miscellaneous things while waiting on turn.

Sometimes when you are using Tumbl-trak, you can set up a wedge or mats as return stations. Thus more efficient.
We primarily teach back handsprings on the floor and down wedge mats.

We use trampolines and tumble tracks a ton...just not too much for teaching beginning tumbling.
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Different coaching philosophies. You do,often find that rec kids will learn skills faster than competition kids in terms of time to get a skill. Rec kids will be training less hours and seemingly doing a lot more advanced skills for the hours they train than a competition kid.

But the focus is different. The goal of the rec program is to teach these skills for fun, to build confidence or often kids who do rec want these skills for other activities like dance, cheer and martial arts.

While a competition kid is training the skills to be judged under stringent WAG judging criteria.

so a rec coach may teach the comp kids a back handspring as soon as they see that it is safe for a kid to do it. While a comp coach may spend a lot more time on the drills so that when the back handspring is taught it is perfect.

Other coaches have an aversion to trampoline often because they have seen worrisome injuries. I am a big fan of teaching skills on trampoline first because the kids can get more depictions in with less wear and tear on the joints. But there is the element of risk as the trampolines bounce can be unpredictable to the kids. Also because some kids develop poor technique throwing their skills on the backyard tramps.
I may use a tramp for form after the kid has the skill but I really hate it when a kid says, "I have my back handspring on trampoline" It sometimes takes years to fix the bad habits they develop using tramp for basic skills.
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I dont let them do backhandspring on trampoline till they're in spitting distance of doing it down the cheese or on the floor, & that's just to get them over the "i am going to die" factor for their first couple unassisted.
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I allow it sometimes for rec. and cheer girls pretty much the same reasons others have stated. I don't for team kids or team t&t it does take a lot longer but when they have it they have it and have it correctly. I too hate the "I have it on the trampoline" now for the next 2 years we re-teach you how to actually push on your arms to do it on the floor and jump back rather than straight up like a poodle doing a flip in a circus lol.
We do a LOT of back handsprings on the trampoline. I have found it to be the easiest place to perfect the skill before trying it on the ground. After trampoline, we take it to the tumble track (just because it's really hard and is a good step between the soft trampoline and the ground). Once it's good there, it's down a cheese and then to the floor.
Thanks for all the insights! Seems like our coach probably is aligned with those of you who are wary of form problems with team girls from too much trampoline early on. Makes sense. These little tidbits help me give my dd logical answers to her questions. thanks again!
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With any kid, my goal is to get them to the point they can do a backhanspring somewhere themselves ASAP. This way they can get the numbers in that I cannot when I have other kids to watch and spot.

This might mean over a barrel/boulder. This might mean into the pit off a wedge ( hands first landing in the pit and then landing at the bottom of the wedge ). Then down a wedge, then on a trampoline, then on a tumbl-trak, or somewhere, anywhere so I can tell them go 10 of them and come back and I'll spot you some more.
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