It is wise to spot a novice gymnast attempting front hip circles down until she can demonstrate control to lower down at a safe speed. At the beginning, the coach holds the nearest forearm to assure that he will have a firm grip on the gymnast encase she lets go or rips off the bar. He places the other hand on the back of her legs to help the athlete slow down the skill.
Before attempting fast front hip circles down in preparation for the whole front hip circle back to support, the gymnast must master a slow front hip circle down. Shrugging the shoulders down a little brings the hips and center of mass lower so the skill can be performed without the body falling down as fast as when the hips and center of mass are higher up. A good goal for gymnasts is to try to lower down to hanging "L" position before bringing the feet down to the floor.
Once the gymnast has a fair snap down from folding mats, they can begin practicing back handsprings with a spot. This is a good introduction to connecting a handspring from the hands-to-feet flying phase and is very helpful as initial preparation for roundoff back handsprings.
The snap down back handspring is a very helpful progressive step toward the round off back handspring. Advanced gymnasts may practice this combination to refine some back tumbling technical details such as turning over from hands to feet on a hollow single body unit and rebounding with a tight arch first flying phase while the shoulder area is open.
Piking down with knees bent and no arm repulsion at all is a very common novice mistake. There is not a flying phase and the feet touch the floor with the hands still down.
Here are several snap down examples some better than others. Back handsprings have two flying phases one from feet to hands and the second turning from hands to feet. Snap downs help gymnast to understand the second flying phase.
Snap down drills are closely related to the hands-to-feet motion on back handsprings required to add power and turn over to the rebound connecting a handspring to another handspring or to a somersault. The goal is to open the shoulder area and then pushing from shoulders and wrists snap the whole body into a deep hollow while turning on one unit from hands to feet.