I am a
19 year old who wants to be on my University's Cheer Squad. I can't do
a BHS. I was wondering how long will it take to learn if I practice diligently,
and I was wondering if you offered classes, camps, or anything?
that depends on a number of factors. Here are some of them:
1. What is your current athletic condition?
If you're in magnificent athletic condition and 14 years old you'll probably
achieve the skill more quickly than your grandmother will.
2. How frequently do you PRACTICE that skill each week?
If you are working to achieve a new skill, but only go into the gym for
ONE hour every other week, and only practice that skill TEN TIMES at
each practice, your rate of progress will be slower than if you are in
the gym four hours each week practicing that ONE skill. Remember there
are MANY, MANY, MANY exercises that you can work on AT HOME to condition
your body for handsprings. For example, there are strength and coordination
exercises and core-skills like HANDSTANDS.
3. What is the QUALITY of your instruction?
If you don't have hands-on access to a great tumbling instructor your
progress is going to be slower than it could be. You'll likely develop
bad habits that need to be corrected. Being spotted SAFELY is only ONE
factor to consider in selecting your instructor. If your instructor has
taught MANY great tumblers in his/her school, you're probably in good
hands. Looking at the quality of the students tumbling in a gym is an
excellent way to determine how good the instructor is.
Have Coach Wayne come
- performance tumbling for students
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4. How good are your CORE gymnastics skills?
If a student comes to me with TERRIBLY sloppy, weak handstands, I can
be SURE that s/he is going to be slow to attain the handspring. On the
other hand, if s/he has magnificent core skills, we should expect VERY
rapid success in the handspring. Most of those skills, (like the lunge-step,
handstand, gym-stand) can be practiced without a coach or heavy matting.
5. How quickly do you learn from your mistakes?
Some of us are TERRIFIED of making errors, and when we DO make them, we
are SO hard on ourselves that it actually SLOWS progress. We FEEL we have
failed and thus lose much of the necessary motivation for success. Learn
from the errors you make. Pay attention to the mistakes and learn from
6. How aggressive are you when you work out? I know students who can fill
an hour-long workout with 50 minutes of water-breaks, goofing, walking,
talking and staring off into space. That doesn't leave much time for gymnastic
skill progression. Other students will fill that same workout with hundreds
of VALUABLE skill, movement and coordinative repetitions. Who do you think
will learn the handspring most rapidly?
7. How well do you EVALUATE your own gymnastic work? This is perhaps
the MOST important factor. Each ATTEMPT at a skill is an opportunity
to IMPROVE. It is in the INDIVIDUAL attempt that you will, or will NOT,
change.If you evaluate yourself carefully before, during and after each
attempt, and ACT on that evaluation, selecting SPECIFIC changes to
focus upon during the NEXT attempt, you WILL improve RAPIDLY.
Those are some of the more important factors to consider when asking how
long it will take to "get" your back-handspring. I welcome your
comments and suggestions.
Coach Wayne is the Head Coach for the
Savannah College of Art and Design Cheerleading team and Executive Coach of
Olympic Gymnast Zuzana Sekerova. His articles, videos and books have been
used by students and instructors world wide since 1991. Coach Wayne is available
for in-gym instructor training and performance tumbling clinics throughout
the year. For booking information, coaches/owners should call 912.398.8082.
Students and parents should request coaches/owners to contact Coach Wayne.