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Gymnastics/Non-dominant side cartwheels



My daughter has to learn side cartwheels on her non-dominant (left) side for a routine she's doing in dance. Her right side cartwheels are beautiful but she's having trouble mastering her left. Do you have any tips on making them better? Is it even possible to have great cartwheels on your non-dominant side or are they just never going to look as good as her right? Just wondering if there is a light at the end of the practicing tunnel, so to speak. Thanks for any help.

Hello Sarah,
         I am very happy to help you.  Usually the bad side cartwheel starts off as a mental thing.  After enough repetitions the athlete begins to figure out the technique they learned when they got their good side.  Below are a couple of tips.
•   Face forward to start in the traditional cartwheel.  You are sideways when you are up side down but not when you start the traditional cartwheel.
•   Perform your cartwheel like you are tumbling in a skinny hallway.  Most bad side cartwheels are pancaked or kick around the side.
•   Watch you hand placement.  The first hand is sideways and the second should be slightly inward to finish the step down action.
•   Oh, I am describing the most basic cartwheel which faces forward in the start and faces backward in the end.  This kind of cartwheel is the building block for round offs.  If your child is suppose to do a side side cartwheel… is very important for the athlete to see the floor during the cartwheeling action.  Athletes that do not see the floor go crooked and lose their balance.
I hope I have shed some light on the makings of a good cartwheel.  I wish you daughter the best of luck and take care – Jack Leonard


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Jack Leonard


Former 5 time Natl. Tumbling Champ, 3 time Natl. Vaulting Champ, Natl. Floor Exercise Champ; Ass`t coach of Dominique Dawes for 6 years; Owner/Director/Head coach of Kauai Gymnastics Academy on the island of Kauai in Hawaii; Retired Physical Ed teacher; Childrens Fitness Expert; Expert Consultant for gymnastics litigation; Retired Mens & Womens HS Gymnastics coach for 32 years. National coaching honors for Men in 1981 & Women in 2001.


I value the following awards because they were given by acknowlegement through my peers: The Nissen/Grissold Award given to the outstanding Tumbling and Tramp Athlete(1972), National High School coach of the year in 1981 for men and 2001 for women, 10 time County Coach of the Year. Medal Award given at the first World Tumbling Championships in London, England for dedication to the sport. Lastly, having the opportunity to coach Wes Suter(1988 Olympian)in his intermediate years and Dominique Dawes(1992 & 1996)

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