Back Handsprings are a huge, exciting milestone for your students to achieve! But, like anything in acro (and dance in general), there is a big difference between a student achieving a trick and mastering it. There are still a bunch of funky things that may happen during a back handspring that stop it from looking as good as it could. Today, we’re discussing the top three back handsprings questions we receive at the ADTA, so you can apply them in your classes right away.
Problem #3: Jumping too High
Jumping too high in a back handspring creates a few problems – it’s harder to control your spot, it’s more work for the student to get her hands to the floor, and the wrong snap-down rhythm is created, especially when multiple back handsprings are performed in a row.
To solve this problem, utilize the Sitting Back, Back Handspring Preparation Drill, and make sure your student is really pushing back into your hands (opposed to up to the ceiling). You can also help by manually pulling her back during the back handspring, until this push back becomes more natural for her.
#2: Not Enough POWER
On the other hand, you may have a student who isn’t jumping enough (and making you do lots of heavy lifting when spotting them). This is common with students just starting with back handsprings, and happens because they’re scared to go for the “blind” jump back.
Luckily, this problem can usually be solved with a simple conversation:
“I know it’s scary to jump back to your hands, but it’s harder for me to spot you when you don’t go for it 100%. So, it’s actually safer for you to really jump back, and just trust that I’ve got you.”
#1: Piking Down
In the second half of a back handspring, we want our students to snap-down by pushing through open armpits, and snapping their feet down to the ground (directly underneath their hips) at the last moment. We want students leading with their hips (and not their toes) for this snap-down motion – this results in a handspring with lots of energy, pop, and the correct rhythm.
If your student is piking down (leading with their toes), have them work on the Handstand Snap-down Drill with a partner. In this drill, they practice the motion of a snap-down from a handstand position.
Have fun implementing these corrections in your classes, and let us know what worked the best for you!