Backward Roll 101 – How to Teach a Backward Roll

Ethel Gonzales

One gymnastics skill that every gymnast will have to learn at one point or another is a backwards roll. Many people wouldn’t think of this skill as very important, but believe me, it is! A backward roll is the foundation of many different skills such as: backward-roll to pike, backward-roll to pushup, back extension roll, back tuck, double backs, etc. Make sure you learn and practice your backward roll the correct way. Correct technique in each and every gymnastics skill is very vital because these beginning skills are the base to so many important and required upper gymnastics level skills. Here is the step by step instructions on doing a correct backwards roll, hope this helps!

  1. Squat down with your legs and feet together.
  2. Bend your arms and place your hands right next to your ears with your palms facing the ceiling and your fingers facing backwards.
  3. Tuck your chin to your chest
  4. Round your back like a cat
  5. Lean backwards and roll
  6. Once your hands meet the ground make your arms straight and push off the floor.
  7. Land on your feet in either a pike or a squat (do not land on your knees)

Many times gymnastics coaches use an incline gymnastics mat or wedge mat as a teaching aid for rolls. It gives the gymnasts a little more momentum.

When spotting a gymnast on this gymnastics skill you want to lift their hips so they don’t hurt their neck.

Before you introduce the backward roll to your gymnast you should try starting them out with a gymnastics drill. For this drill you should start just like normal but once you roll you should squash your hands against the floor and then re-roll forward. This is kinda like a candle stick but with bent knees and arms. Each time your gymnast tries this drill encourage them to push off their hands more and more.

Mistakes in a Backward Roll

The most common mistakes gymnasts make is arching and throwing their head and shoulders backward. When doing a backward-roll you must round your back like a kitty cat.

The second most common mistake I see gymnasts make is not pushing off their hands. If they do not push off their hands they usually hurt their neck and never make it over. Usually they go back and fall over to the side.

I really this helps you and your beginning gymnast!

Remember, drills can be a great help when learning new skills!

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