Front Handspring on the Floor

When I went to coach at Bowling Green State University in 1996 I inherited 18 gymnasts and in turn 18 different ways to do a front handspring on floor.  I was amazed that we had just won the Olympics as a country in Atlanta yet these young ladies none of whom were below a Level 9 did not know how to do a good front handspring.  Below is a progression as to how we can all better teach the front handspring.

We are luckier today than in 1996 and before in that we have tumble traks to use to teach tumbling.  Unfortunately, the more advanced technology, at times, allows us to skip steps that are extremely important to a skill.  In this case kids can do many repetitions thinking they are being sucessful yet end up learning to do a front handspring finishing with the legs bent and or the head forward or arms forward or even down.

We must use basic concepts to teach these skills.  We should not lose sight of the fact that a front handspring is merely a front limber done quickly with a coordinated push off the ground with the arms through the shoulders.  And most of all it is important to emphasize the finish being with straight legs, in an arch, with arms overhead and head back.  This creates a slingshoot effect.  With the body acting as a bow bent and ready to release into the next skill. That skill would logically be a  front flip.

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