daughter is 10 years old. Last June she finally got her roundoff backhandspring.
She was able to preform it in pop warner cheerleading in October then
tried out for an all star team and made the team. Within a few months
she was able to do a proficient triple and was starting to work on a back
tuck. A little over a week ago she came home crying, she said "I've
lost my backhandspring". She'll do a single standing backhandspring
with no hesitation but the minute she does a round off, she freezes. She
takes tumbling 2 days a week and has already been moved out of her tumbling
sequences for her routine. She also takes private 1/2 hr lessons. The
instructor is very hard on her because she had incredible speed and great
form. Today, at her private, she fell apart again. He pretty much told
her that she is wasting her talent and unless she decides to start working
on it, she's done. I've asked her a hundred times if she wants to stop,
but she doesn't. I'm not sure what to do anymore. I've thought about professional
help but don't know where to go. How can she go from doing a triple backhandspring
to not doing any? She needs help I can't give her. She doesn't want to
give up. Help!!!
Skills do come and go for a while... what your daughter is going through
is neither uncommon, nor unnatural.
The initial achievement of a skill does NOT guarantee CONSISTENCY. Nor
does achievement, or consistency in ONE environment guarantee the ability
to adapt that skill to different OR life-changes. Skill MASTERY comes
at a high price... of TIME, ENERGY and DETERMINATION.
All sorts of influences affect us... health, social atmosphere, different
coaching staff, family upset, school pressures, boyfriends/girlfriends,
competitive expectations can ALL have dramatic affects on our emotions,
the condition of our bodies & our ability to focus. Something as dramatic
as a bad fall, or as uncontrollable as passing through puberty or even
something as predictable gaining 3 pounds of muscle... can totally throw-off
a students timing & rhythm for a skill... and POOF... it's all over.
I don't have an easy solution for you, only some solace in the knowledge
that this happens A LOT... and if your daughter persists and has patience
with herself... she WILL re-achieve the skill. When she does, it will
be MORE stable, MORE reliable, MORE consistent and she'll be able to address
it with greater confidence after having going through this.
It can be EXTREMELY intimidation and disheartening to have been a 'star'...
for a moment with the achievement of a new skill & then have it disappear
(possibly for many months). I recommend that the 'performance imperative'
be dropped for a while. Instead... re-find the 'joy of learning'. Approach
the achievement of the handspring, ONCE AGAIN, with a FRESH ATTITUDE.
Let the history of accomplishment-turned-sour be cast aside... and now
focus on having a fun-challenging series of lessons leading to re-achieving
her handspring series.That little change in attitude can bring the joy
and play of learning back into her gym-time. That'll make it easier to
address the HARD WORK that's ahead.
HOW IS YOUR TUMBLING?
come to YOUR gym!!!
tumbling for students &
Instructor training for staff
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: www.CoachWayne.com,
firstname.lastname@example.org or 912-238-1747, 912-398-8082.
Go back to BASICS.
handstands and simple standing handspring rebounds with carefully benchmarked
hand and foot-placement
Then progress to 3+ handsprings in series (no pausing), with a spotter
but WITHOUT the round-off. The hand-spotting of a sequence of 3 or more
handsprings in a row can DEFINITELY bolster confidence because the spotter
can make small changes in the timing of the handsprings to enhance them
and get the 'feel' or 'flow' back.
It is possible that having another coach work with her for a few weeks
will help also.
finally, work the round-off separately for a few weeks.
The round-off is THE MOST complex and difficult skill for a tumbler UP
to the full-twisting layout... and that's ARGUABLE... because the layout
is at the END of the power-sequence, whereas the round-off is a POWER
After 25 years of tumbling I STILL have to work on my standing round-off
rebounds. They are like exotic sports-cars... constantly needing tuning
and maintenance. A bad-habit or problem in the round-off will eventually
DESTROY every skill that follows it.
Have fun, be safe, push HARD!