Tips for Teaching a Handstand

A handstand, “the act of supporting the body in a stable, inverted vertical position
by balancing on the hands (Wikipedia),” is one of the most basic positions in gymnastics.

Not only does a handstand help the gymnast develop strength, balance, and spatial
awareness, a proper handstand position is a basic progression for numerous skills
on all of the gymnastics apparatuses and in all of the disciplines.

Everything from a cartwheel to a giant with a full pirouette on uneven bars
to a front handspring vault and many, many skills in between require competent
performance of the handstand position.

Let’s take this opportunity to focus on a few key points of the handstand,
beginning with the prerequisites necessary to perform a good handstand.

Upper body strength – the gymnast must be able to support his or her weight
in an inverted position, balancing on the hands.

Lead-up skills and drills to develop upper body strength include: front,
back and side supports on the floor; tuck and pike supports where the
gymnast lifts their body off the floor and is supported by hands; and
walking up the wall.

Core strength and control – the gymnast must be able to kick up to the handstand
position and control the body’s core (midsection containing the stomach and back)
to maintain a stable position.

Lead-up skills and drills for developing core strength and control include:

lunges; vertical balances on feet – such as standing tight and still on tip
toes, arabesque or scale; lever; and plank holds.

Spatial awareness – the gymnast must understand were the vertical position is
and how to step down or roll out from the handstand.

Lead-up skills and drills to aid in developing spatial awareness include:

rolls – forward, backward, and log rolls; tripod stands; headstands; and ¾
handstands (may add a switch of legs at the peak of the handstand).

Now that we understand the prerequisite skills that are important to performing a handstand, let’s discuss proper technique and teaching tips.
Original Article: