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Gymnastics/Giants and high bar handstand


What causes a gymanast to lose her highbar handstand and giants after 6 years of competition? My daughter just turned 13 and is on her 2nd year of level 9. She has been competing handstand to 2 giants for 6 years now but has recently begun struggling immensely. She is lucky to have a full set a couple times per week of a 20 hr/week practice and was scratched on the bars in her most recent meet because she could only get 1 giant over. Any suggestions for why this may be happeing and how to overcome it would be greatly appreciated. Is this common? Also, does grip size have anything to do with her complications? I noticed she measures a 6.5" from the tip over her middle finger to the start of her wrist but her coach has her wearing a 00. What are your thoughts?   Thank you so much!

Hi Stacie,

This is way too complicated a situation to answer in a short letter. There are so many factors to consider:

* did she have a bad fall recently?

* has she had a recent growth spurt?

* has she been putting appropriate effort into conditioning?

* is there some other life event that is taking her focus away from the gym?

* does she really want to do gymnastics as a competitor still?

...and those are only the thoughts off the top of my head.

Also, you mention her grip size, which could be a factor. Does she feel comfortable with her grips or does she feel like she is going to rip off the bar? Some girls have longer fingers and shorter palms, some have short fingers and large palms, all of which could be a factor in determining a safe and comfortable grip size.

Any or all of the above could be the problem or none of it could be the problem. It could be a psychological issue (i.e. some erroneous or very real fear).

My suggestion would be to look into all of the potential answers listed above in conjunction with her gymnastics coach. If you do not find a solution there, then I would contact a sports psychologist to see if you can unearth any mental issues.



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Rik Feeney


I can answer questions regarding all levels of the sport of women's gymnastics, the business of gymnastics, and the marketing of gymnastics programs.


I am the author of "Gymnastics: A Guide for Parents and Athletes" currently being published by McGraw-Hill. I am also a ghostwriter and co-author of the Gymcert series of books "Levels 1-3 Gymnastics Coaches Certifications Manuals" for recreational gymnasts, and the "Levels 4 - 6 Skills and Drills" books as well as Safety Basics for Gymnastics Instructors. I have written several other books on the sport of gymnastics for Richardson Publishing, the latest of which is titled, "Back Handsprings: The Secret Techniques." Oh, and by the way, I was a competitive gymnast through high school and college (Temple University), gymnastics club owner for 10 years, and women's gymnastics coach for 30 years working with gymnasts at all competitive levels

USA Gymnastics National Writer's union Florida Writer's Association

USA Gymnastics magazine Technique magazine International Gymnast magazine several newspaper articles

Temple University - Health Physical Education, Recreation & Dance Norwich University - Bachelors of Arts in Writing & Literature

Awards and Honors
Several state and national level gymnastics champions in different systems of competition.

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Gymnasts, coaches, and club owners nation-wide.

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