When it comes to kid's gymnastics training, both cartwheels and handstands are exciting and foundational skills. These two movements provide numerous benefits, including strength development, body awareness, and coordination. However, the question often arises: which should be taught first? In this article, we will explore the considerations and advantages of introducing either the cartwheel or handstand as the initial skill in kids' gymnastics training.
The Case for Starting with Cartwheels:
Cartwheels offer a solid starting point for young gymnasts due to their accessibility and relatively simpler technique. Here are some reasons to consider introducing cartwheels first:
- Building Confidence: Cartwheels are typically easier for kids to grasp, allowing them to experience success and boost their confidence early on in their gymnastics journey.
- Body Coordination: Cartwheels involve coordinating the movement of both arms and legs simultaneously, promoting body awareness and coordination.
- Arm Strength: Performing cartwheels strengthens the upper body, particularly the shoulders and arms, which is beneficial for progressing to more advanced skills.
- Preparation for Handstands: Cartwheels lay the groundwork for handstands by familiarizing kids with the upside-down position and introducing the concept of weight shifting.
The Case for Starting with Handstands:
On the other hand, starting with handstands can also be a valid approach in kids' gymnastics training. Here are some reasons to consider teaching handstands as the initial skill:
- Body Control and Alignment: Handstands require greater body control and alignment, which can enhance overall body awareness and core strength.
- Development of Balance: Handstands challenge kids to find and maintain balance, further enhancing their stability and proprioception skills.
- Progression to More Advanced Skills: Handstands serve as a foundation for various advanced skills, including press handstands, walkovers, and even tumbling passes.
- Encouraging Upside-Down Exploration: Handstands introduce kids to the thrill and excitement of being upside down, fostering a sense of adventure and body exploration.
Considering Individual Readiness:
Ultimately, the decision of whether to start with cartwheels or handstands should be based on each child's readiness and abilities. Factors such as strength, flexibility, body awareness, and previous gymnastics experience should be taken into account. It is also important to assess the child's comfort level with being upside down and their willingness to try new skills.
Both cartwheels and handstands hold value in kids' gymnastics training, and the choice of which skill to introduce first depends on various factors. It is essential to create a well-rounded gymnastics curriculum that includes both skills, allowing kids to develop a strong foundation in body control, coordination, and strength. By providing a supportive and progressive learning environment, young gymnasts can thrive and excel in their gymnastics journey, whether they start with cartwheels or handstands.