This Thursday, we are going to be examining a tumbling skill that is often regarded as “basic”; the tried and true handstand. Basic can have several different implications today, but handstands are far from a “basic” tumbling skill.
Handstands are one of the first tumbling skills athletes learn. It is one of the initial skills where athletes learn to be comfortable with balancing all of their body weight through their shoulders, while keeping their head between their arms. Handstands are also in many of the advanced or intermediate tumbling skills, for instance, round offs, back handsprings and front handspring.
Let’s start with a couple of tips to learn or perfect your handstand:
1. Start with your arms by your ears and your dominate leg in front of you in a lunge.
2. Reach out towards the floor, keeping all of your weight in your front (dominate) leg.
3. As your hands touch the floor, kick your non-dominate leg so it is in line with your hips, squeezing your core, and pointing your toes so all of the muscles in your leg are flexed. Kick your dominate leg up to meet your first leg over your hips. Your whole body should be tight, and you should be engaging your core the whole time. Think to hit a hollow body position, pulling your belly button to your spin.
4. After holding this position for 3-5 seconds, continue to squeeze your core and point your toe as you lower your dominate leg to the floor. Bring your second leg down in the same way, until both legs are back on the floor in the original lunge position with your arms by your ears.
Now, this may sound pretty standard, and you may feel like you already do this in all of your kills. Here is a common question coaches are asked and one way to tell if you are relaxing your core as you pass through the handstand position in your standing back handspring.
“My coach tells me I need to snap my toes faster, what do they mean?”
Your coach is probably telling you to keep your core tight as your hands land in the handstand position of the back handspring. If you relax your core in the handstand position of a back handspring, you allow your hips to drop through, creating a “C” shape with your back, pulling your toes behind your hips in the handstand. This then leads to a slow snap down from the top of the skill and a minimal rebound. Think to keep your core tight the entire time, keeping your toes, hips and shoulders all in line. The more you engage your core, the easier it will be to drive your toes down from the top of the skill, leading to a solid landing and stronger rebound.
Hope you find these tips useful! Come back next week to see what skill we choose to focus on!