Problem with Back Walkover on Beam

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M

monspangler

My daughter is experiencing a mental block on beam while doing her back walkover. She has been falling on just about every one, and has not even been able to get one foot on. It seems that her hips are not square and no matter how hard she tries, she just can't seem to land them. Any tips are appreciated.
 
My dd says sometimes you just get twisted and can't get square and keep repeating the same body position. It helps her to go to the floor and do them very very slowly on a line until she feels the square body position and lands with her feet on the line.
 
Practicing them on the floor or on a line might help. Or the coaches could spot her on a low or high beam and keep her hips square so she will get the feeling of going straight.
 
My coach would always tell me to "stretch up tall" before starting and, I know it doesn't sound like much, but it helped me a lot. I think part of it had to do with just turning my attention to thinking about body alignment and staying square, but it also helped me keep from "throwing" it back and taking my time.
It's hard to tell what the exact problem is without seeing the skill, but I'm sure her coaches are working on figuring that out. Taking it back to the floor and working her way back up is always an option to combat the fear. Sometimes fear can cause a gymnast to really chuck the skill, totally changing all of the basic components of the skill. Increased confidence could help her perform it on the beam just as she does on a line on the floor.
 
Like coachmolly said, sometimes just thinking about stretching up tall (i.e. shoulders pushed up by ears, core tight, standing as if there is a rod going from the bottom of her foot to the top of her head) before beginning the BWO is extremely helpful. If she stretches tall through her body, she will have less room to veer off to one side, and she'll be focused on her body alignment. Also, it can never hurt to take it back to a line on the floor or to low beam and just repeat, repeat, repeat to engrain the motion into her muscle memory.

I had difficulties with BWO on beam as well when I was competing level 6. A lot of it is because I would do exactly what your dd is doing, going off to one side and being unable to get the first foot on. I also had a little bit of a fear of the skill. My back flexibility wasn't great. It was just one of those skills that didn't ever really get along with me. I did get it down eventually, though, and luckily I never had to compete it again. It's one of those skills that you can leave behind if you have to. It's helpful to have a good BWO for the level 7 series, but after that you don't need it anymore. Not that I'm suggesting that she should give up on it and decide she never wants to compete it again after level 6, but it's nice to know that it's not required in future levels.

Good luck to her! This skill in particular takes a lot of time for a lot of gymnasts, but I'm positive her perseverance will pay off.
 

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