cartwheel on beam

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Feb 25, 2009
My 5 y/o girl is just loving gymnastics - she started this winter with a club. She is doing gymnastics all around the house. My husband just made her a beam (carpeted it) and now she wants to do cartwheels on it. She has been practicing on a line of tape on the floor. About 50-75% of the time she stays on the line. Do I let her try it? Or is this something she should be first trying at the gym with a coach? If it is okay to do it at home, is there some trick I should tell her - like hand placement?
Most 5yo only work a beam cartwheel if they have it down on floor and quite often that means it wouldn't be just a regular 5yo. How high is it off the ground?

Even a small trip off beam could lead to a fall of some sort.

Hand placement for beam cartwheel is first hand thumb forwards, fingers out to the side, second hand instead of like first turned with fingers towards first hand thumb. Sometimes call T hand placement.
When doing cartwheels on a beam, I tell my girls to look under their arm as their coming down so that they can see the beam & where to put their feet. I usually tell them it's like "smelling their arm pits." I know that sounds gross, but it works...& usually they laugh.:) If the beam sits right on the floor I don't see why you shouldn't let her try it if she's landing consistently on a line (just pay attention to hand placement as that can throw the whole skill off). Hope this helps
I would let her get started on the skill in the gym and make sure she understands the mechanics of the skill before doing it at home. My rule with my gymmie(when she was a little younger) was she could only do skills at home that she was already doing at the gym. Keeps them from trying things they are not ready for, developing bad habits or getting hurt.
...Keeps them from trying things they are not ready for, developing bad habits or getting hurt.

The bad habits part of this is so true. I have seen several kids who have learned a cartwheel on the beam somewhere outside the gym. Nearly every one of them made their cartwheel too short, dropped their back leg too close on the landing, and looked over their shoulder instead of under. If she is only 5 and is truly ready to do a proper cartwheel on the beam, then, as someone else stated, she needs to be doing more than just a gymnastics class! Whatever you decide, please talk to her actual coach -- the person who knows just exactly what her cartwheel looks like :)
thanks all for the advice. I really want her to be safe, and not start a bad habit either. I just can't get her to stop doing gymnastics on our furniture - which is one reason mt husband built the beam-it rests on the ground. I will mention to her coach her strong desire to do a cartwheel on a beam and see what he says. Thanks.
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