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Cartwheel Teaching Tips

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Tips for teaching your K-6 students how to do a successful cartwheel.  
Submitted by Julian Stein, Oliver Springs, Tennessee.


Here are a few ideas that have been very successful in teaching all students to perform a cartwheel. Typically, any child who has the upper body strength to perform a donkey kick on the mats should be able to do a cartwheel following this easy-to-do progression:

• One Chair Donkey Kicks: Place a chair solidly and securely against a wall. The student will approach the chair and perform a donkey kick by placing both hands on the chair seat and getting both feet higher than the hips. Once the student has demonstrated that he or she can do this skill under control, move to the next step.

• Two Chair Cartwheel: The student now tries to perform a cartwheel pattern on the chairs. Place two chairs securely against the wall, about a shoulder’s width apart. The student approaches the chairs from either the left or right. If from the left, the student places the left hand on the first chair and the right hand on the other chair.

Concentrate on hand placement and sequence, not being overly concerned with extending or raising the legs. Once the student has mastered this step, move to the next!

• Cartwheel on the Mats: Have the student perform the same pattern on the mats. Once your students have practiced the basic cartwheel pattern on the chairs, they should be able to do a cartwheel on the mats with a little more practice!

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