Roll Back 101 – How to Teach a Roll Back

One gymnastics skill that every gymnast will have to learn at one point or another is kickback. Many people wouldn’t think of this skill as very important, but trust me, it is! A back roll is the foundation of many different skills, such as: rolling back to do a pike, rolling back to do push-ups, rolling back, back bending, back bending, etc. Make sure you learn and practice your back roll the right way. Correct technique in each and every gymnastics skills is very vital because these starting skills are the foundation for many important and required higher gymnastics skills. Here are the step-by-step instructions for doing a correct back turn, hope this helps!

  1. Squat down with your legs and feet together.
  2. Bend your arms and place your hands next to your ears with your palms facing the ceiling and your fingers back.
  3. Put your chin on your chest
  4. Round your back like a cat
  5. Lean back and roll
  6. Once your hands touch the ground, stretch your arms and push yourself off the ground.
  7. Land standing on a pike or squatting (don’t land on your knees)

Gymnastics coaches often use an incline gymnastics mat or wedge mat as an aid to teaching rolls. It gives the gymnasts a bit more momentum.

When you see a gymnast in this gymnastics skill, you should lift their hips so they don’t hurt their neck.

Before introducing the back roll to your gymnast, you should try starting with a gymnastics exercise. For this exercise, you should start as usual, but once you turn, you should flatten your hands against the floor and then roll forward again. It is like a candlestick but with the knees and arms bent. Every time your gymnast tries, this exercise encourages them to push their hands more and more.

Errors in a roll back

The most common mistakes gymnasts make is arching and throwing the head and shoulders back. When doing a cartwheel you should round your back like a kitten.

The second most common mistake I see gymnasts make is not pushing their hands. If their hands are not removed, they usually injure their necks and never recover. Usually they come back and fall to the side.

This really helps you and your beginning gymnast!

Remember, drills can be a great help in learning new skills.