Variations of the Back-Handspring
Richard asks a GREAT question. There are numerous variations of the "Back-Handspring."
Most people think of a common "Flic-Flac" when they think of a handspring. That’s when the tumbler begins with his feet together, springs back through a handstand position with both hands almost together, then he rotates over onto his rebound, landing with both feet together. This is the variation of the handspring that is most frequently seen performed on FLOOR EXERCISE during televised competitions.
By altering the hands and/or feet at the CONTACT POINTS, (where the tumbler touches the floor) a tumbler can create numerous variations. The three contact points are:
1. The take-off - This is the beginning leap from feet as the skill
is initiated. Where the body is FIRST in contact with the floor.
3. The ending – The landing, once again, upon the feet which
usually completes the skill. This is the third point where the body is
in contact with the floor.
Another variation is how the hands or feet are placed, or oriented. For example: If you were performing your handspring upon a balance beam, you may want to adjust your handspring for the narrowness of the beam. You may choose to take-off with one foot SLIGHTLY in front of the other. That’s ONE variation of a handspring. Instead of the feet beginning together, they begin in a STRIDE position. Or, instead of landing with BOTH hands parallel, side-by-side, you may choose to land on only ONE hand. That’s a VERY advanced variation isn’t it?
That brings up an important point. Please, USE CAUTION!! Even if you’re an advanced tumbler you should ALWAYS rehearse new variations with extra caution. Use a SPOTTER. Small variations in hand or foot placement can be a bit awkward and confusing at first.
Another variation, one of my PERSONAL favorites, is a STEP-OUT landing. As the body passes through the HANDSTAND position, the legs STEP DOWN, one-at-a-time. I often use this variation to teach handsprings at first. It’s an easy, safe landing that keeps the hips and chest in good form, rather than collapsing into the squat out commonly found in beginning handsprings (because the body is not ready for a proper snap-down/rebound).
A tumbler can choose to have VARIATIONS at ANY, or ALL of the contact points. Variations may have a functional purpose, such as for the narrowness of the balance beam, or they may only have aesthetic value (choreographic choice).
To the casual onlooker, some handspring variations seem very similar
to the walkover. A good tumbler should know the difference between the
two skills. Handsprings demonstrate SPEED & POWER; the HANDS and
FEET should NOT contact the floor simultaneously. A walkover demonstrates
FLEXIBILITY and balance; the hands and feet DO contact the floor simultaneously.
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