Gymnastics: Back Walkover Progression

Gymnastics: Back Walkover Progression

Dick Moss, Editor, PE

Here's a progression for teaching the back walkover, beginning near the floor and ending at full-height on the balance beam.

1. Stack Mats Beside the Beam
Leaving the beam at a low position, stack mats on either side so they're level with the top of the beam. This eliminates the fear of falling, which is a powerful distraction.

Have your students perform the back walkover using a spotter. Initially, instruct them to place their hands beside the beam (on the mats), but to land their feet on the beam.

2. Place Both Hands and Feet on the Beam
For the next step, don't adjust the level of the mats or beam, but instruct your students to place both their hands and feet on the beam. To get them used to the extra balance this requires, have them perform several kick handstands in which they drop back into a lunge position as if finishing a back walkover.

Once they can perform this move with confidence, have them perform a full back walkover.

3. Raise the Height
Gradually remove layers of mats and/or increase the height of the beam until your students are performing back walkovers at the full competitive height.

1. “Training Tips: Back walkover on beam: Don't be afraid of it.” International Gymnast, August/September 1992.
2. Debby Mitchell, Barbara Davis, Raim Lopez, Teaching FUNdamental Gymnastics Skills, Human Kinetics, 2002.

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