For Coaches Freak injury in back handspring

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Proud Parent
Nov 4, 2009
North Carolina
The little girl that hurt herself came in to make sure she saw me before the year end shows were over and she can't wait to heal and get back to work on the skills. I'm glad she doesn't appear to be scared of it.
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Pretend you are pushing open a screendoor that has a horizontal crossbar.
What did you do with your hands?
I'll bet not a one of you said point thumbs up and middle fingers outward to left and right...

Why is it that so many kids do that(?!) when they do backward handsprings?!!

The proper hand position upon landing is one where the thumbs are pointing towards each other - index and middle fingers about 45° inward towards the midline.
The triceps are the active elbow extensors in this skill - and IDEALLY the elbows will be bent (BUT IN THE PROCESS OF EXTENDING) at contact. The elbows should NOT be extended at contact - and of course we do not want the arms acting as "shock absorbers" (elbows bending) as they contact the tumbling surface. A great conditioning exercise for backward handsprings is "diamond" push-ups - make a diamond with your hands - thumbs and index fingers touching - and put your nose in the diamond.

To emphasize hand position - have your gymnasts working on backward handsprings go to a padded wall (or mat leaning against a wall) - chalk their hands up (so they can ***SEE*** their hand pattern) - and practice "punching" with their hands into the wall. PUSHING that screen door open! THAT is the action that is desired.
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Deleted member 14190

I was coaching a girl that has been working on back handsprings for what seems like forever. I tend to spot kids far longer than other coaches for safety reasons. This girl was finally doing the skill consistently on the down hill with just a touch spot. I usually spot just as much as the kid pushes down to save the wrists and elbows for these kids. The last one she did was a beautiful back handspring with no help from me. The shape was pretty, the angles were nice, she even timed the snap where she didn't appear to put much force on her hands. Some how she turned her left arm at exactly the wrong angle and the elbow dislocated. She ended up with a fracture in the elbow.

Has anyone else had a kid get hurt while actually doing a skill that appeared to be done correctly?
Any ideas on how to tell her she really didn't do anything wrong and she just needs to turn her fingers in instead of out on that hand?

Its a hard sport and injuries do happen. Dont beat yourself up about it.
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