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Spotting Connections

Coach Wayne,
I coach 8th-grade cheerleading and many of my girls are working on round off back handsprings and round off back tucks. Can you give me some tips to spot them? I get scared because I am not really sure where they land and it all happens so fast. I am fine spotting standing BHS and tucks.
Thank you so much,

Hey Gretchen,

The best approach is to become VERY comfortable spotting your girls in VERY fast Round-off RE-BOUND jumps … a full speed back Handspring Rebounds.  Make sure you are COMPLETELY behind the kids in their rebound and help to lift/direct… and then decelerate their bodies for soft landings.

If they aren’t at a significant speed (power) then you don’t have much work to do and it probably is premature to be working on combinations.  However, if they have got some SERIOUS power in their rebounds… you need to start moving BEHIND them to FULLY support the rebound…. A REBOUND-CATCH.

Have them practice BOTH vertical rebounds and horizontal rebounds… and learn to spot BOTH.  Depending upon their HEIGHT and SPEED in the rebounds… you’ll be grabbing them (from behind) at the hips… or slightly higher.

On BOTH skills… you’ll need to be standing BESIDE them as they enter the skill… and then QUICKLY (as you know) move BEHIND them for the rebound-CATCH. 

Yes, it’s fast…

yes, it takes finesse…

NO, you cannot EVER miss the spot. 

YES, you should help them in the pre-rebound skill… to accelerate & guide it… and THEN… be behind them to lift (or guide back) the rebound… and then slow the descent.

Practice 50-100 rebound-catches…. Just to get your body accustomed to moving quickly into position.  AFTER that the transition to spotting a skill should come much easier.

However, make sure your girls have VERY good handsprings and back-tucks STANDING… then moving them to combine skills is MUCH easier on YOU.


Have fun, be safe, push hard.

You may also be interested in the following:
(FLASH player permission is required to view animations.)
Back Tuck Progressions
Benchmarks of Excellence
Cross Arm Spot 
Gymnastics Jump
Jump, Set, Tuck
Lunge to Handstand 
Round-Off Hand Placement
Straight Body Fall


Coach Wayne was 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 worldwide since 1991. Coach Wayne is available for tumbling instructor certification training. For booking information, coaches/owners should text or call 912.238.1747.


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