gymnastics GAMES

Rick McCharles

Gymnastics Coaches are the world experts in warm-up games and activities. Games should be the very best time spent in our gyms.

They are fantastic for all athletes.

I did a presentation on this topic at the 2007 BC Fall Congress:

  • goals: FUN, Fitness, Fundamentals
  • kids use their own body first … delay adding balls, ribbons, etc. for as long as possible
  • near continuous activity
  • success for all participants (no “losers”)
  • challenge / discovery
  • use a wide variety of games
  • repeat favourite games of the group
  • Of course, SAFETY (physical and emotional) is the over-riding principle. The inexperienced coach is prone to start a game appropriate to the majority of the kids, but too complicated for the youngest and least experienced.

  • age appropriate
  • ability appropriate
  • ethical
  • I led a sampling of games in these categories:

  • Organizing games and activities
  • Mimic activities (e.g. “fly like a jet plane”)
  • Co-operative games and activities
  • Tag games
  • Combative games and activities
  • Races
  • Relays
  • The easiest way to increase FUN, challenge and complexity is by putting kids together as partners, trios or into small groups.

    I advised coaches to do more combative games with girls, fewer (or none) with boys.

    Christchurch School of Gymnastics

    Many clubs overuse tag games which are often dangerous. We should do more co-operative activities and races.

    Unfortunately there are no GREAT books or videos available yet on this topic. The best is the out-of-print Gymnastic games and activities: A compendium, by Ken Daley (1981).

    We’ve posted Games Guru David Adlard’s PowerPoint presentation previously. Dave is an elite Artistic coach who no longer uses a stretching warm-up. His girls do games only for warm-up.

    But what every coach needs is a video database of recommended games. Leave a comment if you are interested in working on a project like that.

    Published by

    coach Rick

    Career gymnastics coach from Calgary, Canada.

    5 thoughts on “gymnastics GAMES”

    1. Hi Rick,
      Just wanted you to know that GymSmarts is working on getting some of Dave Allard’s presentations out on DVD, and we are also working with Beth Gardner to get her books out & some DVDs from her on Recreational Gymnastics!

    2. Plenty of games in this book. Bug him about the video! He presented at Region 1 congress in Santa Clara and GAT before.

      I’ll attest to the games because I know most of them by heart!

    3. Hi Rick & fellow gymnastics enthusiasts,
      My book “The Big Book of Gymnastics Games” is currently available on Amazon. You can also get it from my site These games are designed to be skill development activities incorporated in the class lesson plan. On my site, you also have the option of downloading the games individually. Instead of video, each of my gymnastics games includes full color photos with complete description and rules. I will soon be adding more games designed for boys events. I am very busy right now, but do have plans for video projects and would be interested in a collaboration.

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