Back handsprings are literally a leap of faith. Who in their right mind would jump backwards, head first, towards the ground? Oh wait, that would be almost any death-defying cheerleader. If you’re like almost every other tumbler out there, your biggest hurdle is mastering the back handspring with no fear. Whether you’re new to the game or you’ve had an accident you’d like to forget, getting over the fear of performing a back handspring is a huge issue that limits a lot of athletes from performing their best. Having fear is a double edged sword for most cheerleaders. You have a fear because you don’t want to get hurt. However, that very same fear causes even more injury. Many hesitate in the middle of tumbling or a stunt and they try to pull out of their maneuver, causing it to go awry. The best way to conquer fear is to overcome it with confidence! Here are some tips you can use to turn your mountain into a mole hill. Take it to a professional. This may sound too simple, but finding a gym and working with someone who has experience helping tumblers overcome fear is the best solution. They will have all of the equipment you need, and a safety first mentality. How much better can that get? Except for the fact that it will cost money and you have to live in an area that provides these services. Which brings me to my next tip… Start small. Start your back handsprings with a spotter. Then take it to a trampoline. Once you build your confidence up, transition to a tumbling track, then a spring floor and then to a regular floor. It’s all about taking baby steps. You can’t learn to run before walking. Be your own movie star! Bring a camcorder with you to practice and have someone video tape you performing a back handspring. If you mess up, delete that footage and keep the footage of you performing it correctly. This way you can bring it home and watch yourself perform it over and over again. It’s a reminder that you can do this! Once you’ve memorized yourself performing your back handspring, continue to replay it over and over in your mind before practice or actually performing the maneuver. Practice makes perfect. Do not forget to maintain good technique throughout the entire process of overcoming your fear. Many tumblers who are fear-driven tend to start looking over their shoulders or tossing their heads back. This is the worst thing you can do! It misaligns the body and exposes weak areas of the body to injury. Keep your arms positioned tightly against your ears so you can’t even tempt yourself! Knowing that you are performing a back handspring as safely as possible gives mental peace and can help ease the fear. Follow the leader. Another fun way to overcome fear is to watch others overcome fear. Find fellow team mates who share the same fear and overcome it together. You can build a tight friendship and be each others support system. By the way, Fear Factor is coming back NBC. You can watch other people challenge their mental limitations and conquer their own fears. Do you have tips for overcoming fear to share with other cheerleaders who are fighting this battle? Leave a comment and share with the cheer community below!