Afraid to Flip: A confidence building week.

On a few occasions as a kid I was taken to a gymnastics gym, usually for a friends birthday party. I always had a blast doing flips and tricks on the trampolines or into the foam pit. A gym would be the perfect place to learn a backflip, with padded floors, a spring board, and possibly somebody to give me advice. On Wednesday I began searching for local gyms, and when they had open gym times. After calling a few local gyms I realized that most don’t allow adults. The closest one that I could find with adult open gym was an hour away, with open gym on Monday and Tuesday. By now I had wasted most of my evening and it was necessary that I made some progress.

Safety First.

Safe From Landmines

I searched my apartment complex for a suitable place to practice. I was looking for an open area with thick green grass, because I was expecting at least a few rough landings. The space needed to be large enough for my inexperienced and unpredictable tumbling, and free of holes and stickers. Fortunately the universe was on my side, and provided me with a sign to let me know I had found the perfect spot. Flat with green grass and surely nobody is going to leave their dog poop on the ground right next to the ‘pick up your poop’ sign. So late in the evening I started with what I knew.

Within a few minutes I was comfortable with my round-off, cartwheel, and front handspring. That being the limits of my gymnastic ability I continued with more basics by lying on my back, hoisting my self into a backbend, and kicking my feet over my head. After many tries I was able to kick my feet over my head every time. As the sun began going down I decided to do a standing backbend and work that into a back walk-over. The first few I hesitated and ended up on my head, but when I fully committed I was able to successfully completing a few before nightfall. Having made a noticeable amount of progress my confidence was building, I was ready for Thursday evening, excited to continue practicing.

Soft landing.

A Soft Landing

Thursday after work I made a few more attempts to find a local gym that allowed adults. Still having no success I needed a soft place to attempt a flip. Taking some advice from my mom, I drug my mattress downstairs where it fit nicely in the L shape of my couch. Starting with a back walk-over I was building my confidence, and after a few failed back handspring attempts I just went for it. With a preparatory bounce I jumped as high as I could and tucked my legs. As I came over the top I untucked too soon, causing me to land a few feet backwards directly on the edge of my couch. Hearing the wood crack I immediately moved the mattress to see what I had done. Now if I sit on what used to be the most comfortable part of the couch it sinks to the floor.

I spent close to an hour that night doing backflips on the mattress. By the end of the night I even tried a few from the floor onto the mattress, but wasn’t able to get enough rotation. Friday has not been a day of any progress. I have been sore in my shoulders and lower abdominals all day and only spent about 30 minutes working on my new skills. I wasn’t even close to this sore after standing for a week. Hopefully my body appreciates the rest because this weekend is likely to be filled with practice. I have made some plans to take some video of my practice this weekend. If anything exciting, whether it be a backflip or an injury, gets caught on film I will post a link.

If you are interested in learning a backflip yourself, here is the best tutorial that I have found:

Afraid to flip:
Day 1 3
Day 5


4 responses to this post.

  1. Wow, that sucks about your couch. Way to be persistent though.


  2. Ok I have to ask the obvious question..Why did you put the mattress on you coach and not on the floor?? Put some bricks under the broken part of the coach for support when you sit on it…


    • The mattress was on the floor pushed up next to my couch. This allowed me more room to land on something soft. Bricks won’t help anything, I broke that part of my couch beyond repair.


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