Dear Coach Wayne,
I have been a cheerleader for three years and have been in gymnastics for about five years. I have been trying to master my back handspring for about 2 years now but I don't seem to improve at all. Ever since I badly injured my elbow doing a spotted roundoff BHS, I've been EXTREMELY afraid of doing it again. But I really want to master my BHS by myself for tryouts for my high school's varsity team. The problem is, when I seem ready to try my BHS by myself, I'm too scared to even attempt it. I would appreciate some tips on how I can get over my fear.
Sorry I didn't reply earlier.
If you're afraid of your handspring, I recommend getting ADDITIONAL instruction, possibly from an additional gymnastics school. By taking classes from different instructors you will get different opinions on your skill. Also, you should be taking more than one day per week. Take TWO classes of TUMBLING ONLY each week and make sure you try DIFFERENT instructors. Your coach may be the greatest in the world, but we all benefit from second opinions.
Five years is enough time to get a handspring if you are in good physical condition. You should have your handspring by now unless you are not in shape. If you badly injured your elbow while being spotted and if you are afraid of the skill you may need another coach's opinion to help you get out of your rut. Let me know if you need a referral for a specialty weekend clinic of coaching. You'd have to travel for it, but it may be worthwhile if you really need it.
Have fun; be safe; push HARD.