Hand placement on beam - BHS and BWO

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May 4, 2009
I have pretty much always seen the BWO done with the 'thumbs together, fingers round placement. And the BHS done with one hand behind the other.
In coaching girls age 6-8, their coach is telling them to do the BWO with the BHS placement. Why might this be? Is it to get them used to it?
Also, how far behind each other do the hands need to be? I have seen some videos where it looks like they are almost next to each other. Obviously small young girls will have very small hands, but will problems come when their hands grow?

Thanks a lot.
Jan 3, 2009
Dallas, TX
I have actually never heard of teaching a bwo on beam with the hands one in front of the other like a bhs. That is new. I am not sure why the coach would teach the hand placement that way....you might consider asking? Hand placement for a back handspring is one hand in front of the other. Some kids will do one hand in front of the other, fingers pointing forward on both hands (my preference), and some kids will do it one hand in front of the other, fingers pointing perpendicular to one another. (One hand pointing forward and the other to the side). Either way is fine, as long as the shoulders stay squared and the athlete gets two full palms on the beam. As far as the back walkover, the athlete is moving slowly and not jumping onto her hands. That's why it's okay to have the hands next to one another. You wouldn't do that in a back handspring because you are jumping onto your hands, and it's easy to slip/miss with that hand placement. The negative I see in putting your hands for a bhs in a bwo is that it would probably be hard to pass through handstand in a controlled manner. It's much easier to show a full, controlled split with your hands side by side.


Mar 29, 2009
North Carolina
I do my back walk overs with my hands one in front of the other. On my backhandsprings, i do the same thing, except sometimes parts of my hand land on my other hand. My coaches taught it with hands side by side, and i used to do it that way. I don't really knw when i started to change it. well, i am 5'4", so maybe it is cause my hands are bigger, i don't know. But now, i can't even do it the other way (i am to scared my hands will slip!) When i do it, in both, my hands are touching each other, so they aren't very far apart at all.
Aug 15, 2009
The BH hand placement on backwalkovers is great as a drill for future backhandspringers! I've seen one great gym compete with these hands and just take the small deduction for alternative hand placement for their level 6s. Pretty normal stuff... I personally like to use it has a drill only.

I too like fingers forward and not right into the other, with the top knuckle of the pinky and ring finger gripping the beam if their hands are "grown up" size. Keeps the shoulders and hips much more square.
Jun 26, 2009
I tend to do my back walkovers with my thumbs touching and my pointer fingers on the beam so my fingers look like an L. I like to keep my pointer finger like that so if I go slow I can push with my fingers and make it over. In back handsprings I tend to put my good hand in front of my other hand barely. So close that the thumb of my right hand is next to my left pointer finger and my thumb frames my right hand in. I'm only 4' 8", so I could get away with putting my hands next to each other like a back walkover, but I prefer to do it the other way. After I switched, my hands have never slipped off.



I am going to be a second year level 7 this coming season and I competed a BHS on beam last year and I will this year too. Since I am right-handed, whenever I do my BHS I put my left hand behind my right hand with my left hand fingers gripping the left side of the beam and my left hand thumb gripping the right side. I put my right palm inbetween my thumb and pointer finger on my left hand because it makes a sort of slot for it anyways. My right hand is usually completely straight on the beam. I've only had my right hand slip off once, and it was a freak accident because I wasn't fully focused. I do the same placement for my BWO's too because it comes natural to me. Putting my hands side by side on BWO's doesn't come as naturally so i've never really done it.
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