WAG Back handsprings.....so frustrated.....help :(

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Jul 17, 2009
I am just frustrated to the point of tears about this. I've had my back handspring on my floor since I was about 9-10 years old(I'm 17 now, so that's 7-8 years). I used to be absolutely fearless about them, I could do them anywhere, several at a time, I would do them in the backyard, outside at recess during school, on the beach, in the living room......you name it. And I also moved beyond back handsprings, when I quit club gymnastics about 3 1/2 years ago, I had my back tuck on floor and was working layouts.

I quit gymnastics that year and joined cheerleading.....which actually didn't affect my tumbling at all...well, I kind of lost my back tuck because it was harder to do on the cheer floor and I didn't actually get to work on them that whole year, but I knew I would get that back eventually. I actually became even more ambitious about back tumbling, I could do a roundoff into about 10 of them on the grass, and worked my courage up to doing them on the football track/basketball courts so I could tumble during games. When cheer season ended, I didn't do them for about 6 months, but could still do everything fine when cheer started again. But then, I had a little 'incident' in cheer, and was moved onto the JV team. Basically nobody from the JV team at my school knew how to tumble, and the coach never practiced with us, so I wasn't getting much tumbling time. Then I decided that I didn't want to lose anything so I started taking private lessons at a cheer gym, and I gained everything back perfectly fine, could still do everything, even almost got my tuck back. However, in the middle of that school year(2 years ago), something happened....I don't know what. I got scared to do back handsprings on floor, standing or running. I think it may have been because I had a really tough tumbling coach who just pressured me too much, and I had a lot of pressure to get back on Varsity, so that probably was building up at that point. But I pretty much lost it for about 4 months(could still do it on trampoline and a cheese mat, just not on floor). Eventually I got so frustrated and overwhelmed that my parents and I simply decided I just needed a break, so I took one.

Then fast forward 4 months later....a few nights before tryouts, I decided to go to open gym. I worked up a bit of courage, and I could do one again on a thick mat on the floor at the gym! Then fast forward to tryouts....just a cheer mat on the school gym floor....we were practicing tumbling, and for some reason I felt a little more comfortable than usual. I just was practicing around a bit, and just did my standing back handspring. I did it! I had lost it for 4 months and then I had it again on the floor! I actually ended up quitting cheerleading that week(best decision ever), and the next week when I went to the beach, I could still do them on the beach!

Then I finally went back to gymnastics on my high school team last year, I was a bit worried because it had been a few months since I did them, but I did it fine. I was still scared to do it out of a roundoff, but if I had a coach just standing there, not even spotting me, I could do a roundoff into two of them. After high school season was over, I went to open gym a few months later, and could STILL do them completely fine without spot. Then, over the summer I started to feel a bit less confident about them...it hadn't been a significant time period that I went without doing them, I could still do them but only if I did like a back walkover or something first to avoid time contemplation, and then at an open gym later in the summer I maybe could do one on the floor and had to do the others on a thick mat.

Okay now here I am now, during this year's high school season....I can't do them at all. At.all. In the first few days of high school season, I tried them on the thick mat, and I could do that, but I still, even on a thick mat, didn't feel 100% confident. Tried them on a cheese mat later that week, same thing. Could do them, but didn't feel completely confident, even balked a few times when trying it. Week after, I would just try a few on this thick mat, and could just do them by luck of the draw, sometimes my body let me do them and sometimes it didn't. Now, this week, I haven't done a single one, not on the thick mat, not on the cheese mat. No matter how long I stand there and try to avoid thinking about anything, I just can't do it. I've had this skill for 8 years, used to be able to do several on the hard floor, NEVER have had any bad falls doing them, when I had a similar issue in cheerleading, I now think it was because of the pressure put on me but I honestly feel no pressure put on me now, it's just SO frustrating. We don't have a trampoline in high school, where MAYBE I could do it, and the closest gym that has one is like 30 minutes away.

Please, can I have some advice? This is bothering me SO much. I tell myself a MILLION times how confident I used to be doing them, how I've never gotten hurt, how whenever I ask for a spot the coach says I'm fine....and when I'm actually trying it, I clear my head completely of any thoughts and I just simply can't do it, on any sort of mat or anything. What could have happened? Please don't say that my body has just grown out of it, I KNOW I can physically do it fine, I just don't know why my brain won't let me do it...nothing significant has happened that would make me scared to do them.

Thanks to anyone who read this whole thing, I would really appreciate any suggestions :(
I would recommend working on your backwalkovers and then gradually start to speed those up so you can get the movement back in your head.

after you're comfortable again with that, try for the backhandspring.
I would also go back to the roundoff. In gymnastics, rather than cheer, the RO will come before the BHS in a tumbling pass. Work on your rebound and setting position of the RO. When that feels solid, it might be time to add the BHS.
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Thank you, but I prefer that I work on getting the standing back handspring back first, I know how my mind works and based on past experience there's no way I'm going to get the ROBHS back before I get a standing back handspring back. I haven't done a ROBHS by myself(or at least without a coach standing there) in two years, and I'd feel much more comfortable doing those if I got my standing back first.
Bumping this thread because I really need as many suggestions as possible...this is frustrating me so much that I can't focus on anything else :(
I've always heard when a fear sets in, or your brain won't let you do them, go back to the basics. Try to retrain your mind and body. I'm sure a coach will come along with more specific drills, but start over and go back to the basics. Good luck!
Okay thanks for all the advice, I now have a little problem though....
Our first high school meet of the season is tomorrow, and the plan is that I wasn't going to compete(we have a lot of good girls on our team and only 6 compete per event), however, tonight one of my coaches informed me that there was an issue on floor and now I am competing floor...I said okay but I might not be able to do back handsprings in the routine, so it might look really dumb, and they just said, no way you can do them, you did them fine with a spot, you'll be fine doing them in the meet. I did some standing with a spot today on the floor and they were perfectly fine but of course I didn't have the confidence to do them completely on my own. Still, the coaches think I'll be fine.

So, help. The coaches are expecting me to do a cartwheel-BHS-BHS on floor tomorrow in the meet, say I'm fine and I should just "go for it".....and I'm still too nervous to do them on my own. But, I need to get the confidence because I'm expected to do them tomorrow :O How do I get my confidence back to throw a cartwheel two back handsprings in less than 24 hours? Remember, I can physically do it perfectly, but I feel uneasy about it.....helppp! :/
Take a deep breath... don't think about it... and just do it. You have the muscle memory. Allow that to carry you through it. If all else fails, do your best... start your warm ups with cartwheel fast backbend 2 foot kickover.
Have faith in yourself!!!
Good luck.
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