The headstand is one of the more easier skills to learn when starting gymnastics. It is also a skill that helps gymnasts to learn about balancing and tightening their body. This is also a good skill to learn the basic shape for the handstand.
Learn to balance.
Learn correct body shape.
Stage 1 – Setup
Stand tall with arms straight above your head.
Look straight ahead.
Stage 2 – Tuck
Lean forward and go into the tuck position.
Place your hands on the floor.
Stage 3 – Head Placement
Start to extend your legs as you place your head in front of your hands.
Crawl forward with your feet until your butt is over your head.
Stage 4 – Lift
Extend your leg, so you get a gently takeoff.
Your legs should be straight as soon as your feet are not touching the floor.
Note: The gymnast should work on lifting their legs and not pushing off with their feet. We want the gymnast to control their hips.
Stage 5 – Finishing
Lift your legs until they are straight above your head.
It is important to remember a couple things when spotting:
The coach should only spot, meaning they should not actually do the drill for the gymnast. Let the gymnast do as much as the drill as possible and do not help with more than what is needed.
Spotting should be avoided. Only spot when gymnasts are learning new skills or for safety reasons. If a gymnast is having difficulty executing the drill then the coach should consider new drills that help the gymnast improve the area they have difficulties with.
Spotting can turn into a bad habit for gymnasts. If gymnasts are being spotted all the time they will be dependent on a spotter and have a very hard time doing the skill when their is not a spotter (this is true for all skills and very common)
Spotting Method 1 – Leg Lift
If the gymnast has problems lifting their legs, it is usually caused by not having their butt over their head. Using this spotting method the coach can help by lifting the gymnasts legs and at the same time press the legs towards her butt until the gymnasts butt is actually over the gymnasts head.
Coaches teach gymnasts how to do skills correctly, but most gymnasts learns how to perform the skill correctly when coaches corrects their mistakes. This is not wrong, this is actually how gymnasts learn. This being said, it is very important that coaches corrects mistakes all the time. If a gymnast continues doing the same mistake over and over then they will be good at doing that drill with that mistake and have a difficult time later correcting it.
Always correct mistakes
Correct the first mistake you see the gymnast do (even if it is before the actually drill, i.e. the gymnast forgets to stand tall with arms over their head)
Correct only one thing (sometimes two if they are related)
Mistake 1 – Wrong Hand Positions
Hands and head position must not be on a line, this will result with the gymnast falling forward or backward. The correct position is the triangle position, were the head is further forward than the hands. This will create a stabile platform for the headstand.
Sometimes gymnasts will actually start with the correct hand and head positions, but if they are not able to keep their balance they then quickly move their hands to a new position and for the most part to the wrong position.
The gymnast should never move their hand or head when doing a headstand, except if the coach instructs them to.
Mistake 2 – Early Leg Lift
Some gymnasts will have difficulty getting their legs straight up and this is usually because they start to lift their legs before their butt is over their head.
The gymnast needs to crawl forward with their feet until their butt is directly over their head, at this point the gymnast can lift their legs. Coaches can help by supporting their hips.
Mistake 3 – Bent Legs
It is possible to get into a perfect headstand also through bent legs. It does not mean that it is the wrong way to do this exercise, but we are also teaching the gymnast the importance of the position of their butt relative to their body.
Problem of doing the headstand with bent legs is that the exercise becomes more forgiving if the gymnast does not have their butt over their head. It is an important aspect of this exercise that the gymnast learns to lift their butt first then their legs.
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