This is a common problem in our sport. Most of the time this problem develops because we don’t know how to strengthen our athletes in the proper areas in order to produce a faster back handspring.
First, of all you need to check the plyometric ability (ability to jump) of the athlete. If you put the ball of their foot and elevate it on a mat and they do better this is one of their problems.
Secondly, you need to check their shoulder flexibility. If they cannot lift their arms up beside their ears then we need to work on their shoulders.
Thirdly, you need to check their thoracic mobility. Generally if they have a slight hump in their upper shoulder area it means they need a little work in this area! There are thoracic mobility exercises that can help this. Both the shoulder and thoracic problems will slow the speed of the back handspring by not allowing the proper positioning of the arms in the back handspring.
Fourthly, you need to check the strength of their core. If it is not strong the whole body will be weak because they will arch instead of stretching through the shoulders.
Fifthly, make sure they have proper technique. The steps are:
- Sit in athletic stance
- Swing arms to ears
- Jump up and back stretching through shoulders
- Pass through handstand
- Snap whole body down while blocking off the floor
Sixthly, if their block is not right do blocking drills. The block is up and back like pushing the floor out of the way.
Seventhly, make sure when arms contact the ground the shoulders are totally stretched out and arms are by the ears.
One of the best drills for making back handspring faster after making sure they have the proper strength and technique is to do them up a wedge.