You’ve worked on drills, used mats and other heights, spotted what feels like 10,000 back walkovers, and your students are still struggling to get this trick on their own.
Before we give you our secret answer, remember that repetition (yes, a lot of repetition!) is part of the process, and just because the quest of back walkovers seems to carry on forever, it doesn’t mean you are doing anything wrong. However, this secret will get more of your students achieving their walkovers, and achieving them more quickly – who doesn’t want that?!
When you analyze a back walkover or a bridge kick-over, your mind likely goes to the lower body: i.e. is the leg straight and kicking with enough force to get over?
But, the secret to your students’ success is often in their upper bodies – specifically, in their shoulders.
When a student with flexible shoulders is in a bridge position, her upper body is stacked over her wrists. If she lifted her leg here, you would see that her leg is also (relatively) stacked over her wrists. From here, it is fairly easy to “kick-over the top” because the only place her leg needs to go is back down to the ground! Put simply, gravity is working with her.
Now, let’s think about a student with tight shoulders: her upper body is not stacked over her wrists. If she lifted her leg here, it definitely wouldn’t be stacked over her wrists, either. This means, to kick-over, she needs to kick much harder (and have much more leg flexibility), because she has to kick her leg UP (to get over her wrists), and then continue this momentum to get back down to the ground. (Gravity is working against her).
This is why Shoulder Stretches are vital when you have students working towards their walkovers: flexible shoulders will make the whole trick much easier for them!