For Coaches Teaching Backhandsprings

Parents... Coaches... Judges... Gymnasts...
DON'T LURK... Join The Discussion!

Members See FEWER Ads!
Join for FREE!
Not open for further replies.


Jan 18, 2009
I'm currently coaching a group of level 4/5s and most of them are yet to learn a backhandspring. Those who can do them themselves are quite sloppy and I just feel like I keep repeating the same corrections over and over again. I'm not sure if they just aren't looking/thinking about what I tell them or if my corrections aren't making sense to them. I'm really hoping some of the other awesome coaches here can maybe give me some tips on how to better explain the corrections or something so I don't feel like I'm constantly in repeat mode and so the girls can actually get this skill! Drills would be greatly welcome as well. Right now most of what we do is bhs down a cheese mat, into the resi, or just on the regular floor.
So some of the major issues:
-Either not jumping at all or jumping too late into the backhandspring. I try to tell them "faster feet" or "jump!" but that doesn't seem to be working.
-Not stretching the bhs out. Some totally miss the "tight arch" position in the beginning and go right to a piked position others just go straight up. I tell them to sit back more, show them the tight arch position and even put them in that position, but that doesn't seem to be working either.
I think those are the two most common ones, any help would really be appreciated. Thanks so much in advance!
Sep 21, 2008
The best advice I ever got about teaching BHS is to make gymnasts feel like they are pushing the floor down and away from them, and they are reaching for the ceiling as they push.

If they swing their arms hard enough, and push their legs hard enough, and get the timing down, their BHS will improve.

It comes down to repetition, and exposure to "good body position" versus "what keeps them safe and has worked all along."


Do you have any of the octagons or pac-mans or any backhandspring devices.

There are jump backs onto stacked wedges or a porta-pit or into a pit. Stand, feel the fall back ( and when they feel that loss of balance )-JUMP!

Obviously, back bend to bridge kickover and back walkover. BWO can be done over a barrel.

Kick to an arched handstand against wall or wedge mat and snap down to a pushup. I work a lot of HS snapdowns where they kick up a wedge ( and I spot the HS up because it's uphill, they arch and snapdown ).

A lot of handspotting the skill just to HS. Not easy, not fun. I prefer to do this only when they are itty bitty and teeny-tiny. I like doing this into pit because the spot is easier.

TumblTrak - Back Handspring - Back Handspring from a Pit Pillow into a pit - Tumbling Training Tips & Videos

In fact there are a lot more videos on that page.

I will also handspot a lot of the fall, sit and extend.

Concurrently or before the backhandspring, I will teach the flyspring on tumbl-trak so they know how to transition through a HS from hollow to arch ( while BHS is arch>hollow ). This is done with a lot of HS flatback. Jump/bounce to HS flatback that over rotates ( their body will rebound off the 4 incher on tumbl trak to candle and down ). Flyspring and FHS over an octagon. Lots of knee drop to HS focusing on kicking the feet rather than dropping the hands ( and flexing at the shoulder ).
We also have our kids sit against a block or padded wall. They start standing about a foot (or a bit further depending on height) away from the wall with arms by the ears. They have to quickly sit and snap their arms down against the mat. This has to be monitored the first few times or they will sit too low or high, but it does help eliminate the incorrect sit position. I find that once a gymnast learns to sit enough or not too much, then that helps the BHS immensely. Also, at our gym, we don't even allow a child to attempt a spotted BHS until they can make it over a barrel either without touching it or barely touching it (again depends on height of the gymnast vs. height of the barrel).

When a gymnast isn't stretching out enough, we have them try to get their hands past a mark on a mat. If they are doing it on a cheese, there is usually a seam where the mat folds up to use as the visual. On the floor, we open a panel mat (length depends on gymnast's height) and they must start in front of the panel mat and get the BHS to land on the other side of it. Actually, even our strongest tumblers do this drill monthly -- standing & with a roundoff.
Jun 3, 2009
I do a lot hand spotting especially in the beginning. I do, sit-jump-catch the gymnast in the nice tight arch. I'll do this two or three times before spotting a back handspring. I also do a lot BHS on tramp. I'll draw 3 lines, one for feet, one for hands, one for feet. This gives the gymnast an idea of where they should be.

As mentioned above, jump backs are great, the pac-man shapes and barrels are great tools also. There are so many different drills and techniques out there! Just keep plugging away, one of these times it'll click for them.
Not open for further replies.

New Posts