How to Do a Backhandspring When You're Afraid

Young male breakdancer doing backflip (blurred motion)

During a back handspring, you jump backwards to land on your hands and kick your feet over your head. It's mostly seen in gymnastics, but other athletes such as martial artists do it too. A large part of performing back handsprings is conquering the fear of going end over end. This can be overcome through several training methods designed to bolster your confidence.

Proper Form

The single most important way to get over the fear of doing a back handspring is to learn proper form. Many flips rooted in gymnastics have form variations, but the back handspring has remained consistent. Place your feet together and raise your hands up over your head. Lean back, as if you were going to sit in an invisible chair. Then jump backward to your hands, keeping them close to the sides of your head. Keep the legs together and kick them over your head until you land back on your feet.

Trampoline Track

The buoyancy of a trampoline track allows you to simulate the form of a back handspring without having to apply nearly as much effort. You can find one at nearly any gymnastics school and even at some recreational facilities. For advanced gymnasts, using a trampoline track enables you to create complex sequences that require total commitment and concentration. For the novice, it's a way to gain an added leaping boost when learning to flip end over end.

Leaning Back Handspring

If you're still worried about the move, then try leaning to the side first. Instead of leaping directly over your head, turn your body toward your dominant side as you leave the ground. You can also try this technique on a hillside. Going downhill and leaping to the side nearly negates any danger than can befall you. When you find that you can leap back to just one hand, then turn to the other side. Now, try to do the back handspring leaning from your less dominant side, all the while aiming to move closer to the center.

Get Over It

You can still do a back handspring even if you're slightly afraid. Try simplifying the task by just "getting over it." Literally, just leap high and arch your head backward. Then whip your legs over your head. As your body comes around, place your hands down to brace your fall. This will look quite sloppy at first, but it will eliminate your fear of doing a back handspring. You can also try this from a slightly raised platform, which gives you extra time to complete the rotation.