If your tumblers are popping up into a mat they are more than ready for the front handspring. Just to make sure... have them kick to handstand at the edge of a soft pad and rotate all the way over to their BACK... landing FLAT on their back on the mat...
I usually start this as a slow step to handstand... making sure they are starting in a gymnastic stand, lunging an adequate distance and reaching with the hands to the proper hand-placement at the edge of the mat... swinging fluidly through the handstand... and falling flat.
THEN.... add momentum and speed. Still from a STANDING START... have them KICK the straight leg, and push with the lunge leg more aggressively so that they SWING through the handstand VERY quickly ... as they begin their descent they should push with the arms... (still not a true punch because of the delay in pushing) and attempt to PUSH their body DOWN the mat... away from the starting position... landing flat on their back again. THIRD... move YOUR body in to spot them... as if you're spotting the step to handstand... EXCEPT now you'll LEAN your shoulders into their raising hips (at FULL kick speed) and actually help them REDIRECT their power UPWARDS.
This is difficult to explain via e-mail... but the end result is that you BLOCK their FORWARDS direction and help them REDIRECT it upwards with your shoulder...
If a student has good handstand form and a swift kick
... when you lean into their handstand ... their hands should gracefully
lift off the floor... you'll actual lift their body up over your shoulder
for a moment... then put them BACK down on their handstand and reverse
the lunge. (they did NOT go OVER you completely...)
Lastly... they'll KICK more aggressively.. at FULL speed...
even allowing a step or two for weaker students... and THEN implementing
the arm/shoulder punch ...
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.
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