beginner handstands and cartwheels

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Proud Parent
Oct 26, 2007
Hi I am not a coach but I did volunteer to teach a little class of 4 yr old and young 5's some tumbling skills at a daycare. We started the class in Sept and work once a week. I am a little stumped at what progressions to teach next with handstands and cartwheels. My little ones can do handstands against the wall where they walk their feet up the wall and they can also do donkey kicks. What comes next. For cartwheels I helped them learn to do the cartwheel where you just kind of put your hands on the ground and jump your legs over. They can do this with their hands on a raised surface and also on a cartwheel mat. But I can't seem to get them to progress passed this. They can't get the one hand at a time or the legs coming down at different times. Should I try to teach them the side cartwheel so they get the pinwheel action. Anybody have any sugguestions for these two problems. Thanks.


For the handstand:
Place a wedge mat against the wall and spot them kicking up to handstand with their back against the wall/mat.

For the cartwheel:
Have them put their hands on the floor and try to kick/jump their feet up over an object. I like to tell them to "Kick the lights" on the ceiling.
Jul 12, 2007
How about a cartwheel over a jump rope held up by a cone on each side? That was how our rec gym taught cartwheels and as the mini gymmies came around each time the rope would get a little higher.

It might be fun to set up a little obstacle course for them to navigate... they could cartwheel over the rope without touching, jump off of a mat, bkwd or fwd roll down a wedge mat, brave over the treacherous floor beam (perhaps hungry stuffed crocodiles would be surrounding them). Bear crawl over a couple of beams or mats, cartwheel - and then slide down the slide to safety... :D
Dec 16, 2007
Ontario, Canada
We get our rec kids to put there hands in the middle of a block and then kick there feet over to the other side.
We also draw semi-circles on the matts with chalk (you could maybe use a skipping rope or a hoola hoop). They start at one side, then put their hands in the middle, then try to kick their feet up to the other side of the semi circle. It's kinda hard to explain.

BlairBob cartwheel progressions by Roger Harrell from

I believe in the side cartwheel as the bread and butter of all cartwheels leading into round-off. If they are this young and small, set up a station in the circuit that you can spot them. Just rocking them in a handstand with legs apart back and forth.

Learning how to kick into a handstand off either leg from gross motor learning. I have them put their hands on the floor in what I can a mountain ( downward facing dog in yoga ). Lift one leg and learn to hop on it. Kick from one leg into the air and switch it so they have to land on the other leg and kick vice versa

Straddle leg handstands against the wall. Sideways tick-tocks ( like from a forward lunge with one leg up but instead going sideways )

Do you have an 8" landing mat? Forward roll to extend into straight body. Forward roll that gets hips to vertical and extend. Kick into a handstand with one leg vertical landing on their back tight. Kick into a handstand flatback.

Stand on one side of a barrel, roll on top of it in superman, place hands down and roll out ( handstand forward roll ). Stand up a wedge mat, kick into a handstand against it ( knocking it over ) and flatback or roll out of it.



Thanks for that. I am going to pass your post along to our rec coaches.

Rec Coach

for preschool handstand progressions we do:

donkey kicks,
needle scales,
donkey kicks off one leg
donkey kicks off one leg with raised leg straight
One leg donkey kick - snap legs together
needle scale to one leg donkey kick
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