inexpensive gymnastics bar grips?

In Bangladesh the coaches cannot justify bringing in costly grips from Europe, Japan or the States.

And they currently have no good supplier of less expensive grips.

Though Bangladesh produces a great deal of leather, it is too “stiff” for home made grips. (Like the ones we used when I was a boy.)

larger version – flickr – alexjamessss

Any suggestions for them?

Is there a less expensive supplier in China?

Or … should we simply ship them all the “old”, left-behind grips from our clubs in developed countries? They could mix and match from single grips.

Leave a comment if you have advice.

coach in Bangladesh

by site editor Rick McCharles

I’m currently teaching a 9 day gymnastics coaching course in Dhaka, Bangladesh. Do you know it?


Very close to Calcutta, India.

Though Dhaka is a frantic city of millions, we’re housed in the green, tranquil BKSP Multisport Training Centre. That’s 104 acres of lush sporting paradise.

BKSP Multi-sport Training Centre, Dhaka, Bangladesh

Many foreign coaches have been brought in to Bangladesh. We live in this building.

BKSP Multi-sport Training Centre, Dhaka, Bangladesh

Right now we have a British Archery coach here for 7 months, two new Judo coaches from Iran, a Canadian gymnastics coach. Coaches from China, Korea, India. All over.

We are treated royally, let me tell you.

Bangladesh is a fast growing economy, devoutly Muslim … but with no security problems. Inside BKSP the religion is SPORT. More than any other place it reminds me of the American Olympic Training Centre in Colorado Springs.

The gymnastics facility is spacious though the equipment is 22yrs-old from Senoh, Japan. A pit has been “roughed in” but is not yet finished.

BKSP Multi-sport Training Centre, Dhaka, Bangladesh

I learned of a terrific opportunity this week. If a foreign coach pays their own transportation, BKSP might be able to “host” them. Free meals and board. An Artistic Gymnastics coaches is needed to assist the current coaches. There are boys and girls in this gym.

Kids train 22hrs/wk. Two trainings / day. The school is on site. Most of the gymnasts board at BKSP, as well. It’s an ideal set-up.

If you want to travel … and build your coaching resume at the same time … email me at Rick_McCharles AT for more information.

They are looking for a minimum 3 month commitment.

gymnastics book – Chasing Impossible Dreams

My old friend Jim Holt has written a memoir about his two decades striving for the international development of gymnastics. I’m certain it will be a great read.

It is an extraordinary saga of inspiring and (often) hilarious efforts to change the world through sport. Jim has transcended venality, corruption, and oft non-sensical institutional and bureaucratic resistance in a manner which ultimately affects the lives of those with whom he comes in contact. In short, it is a manifesto for self-determination, individual achievement, and a refusal to capitulate to the tides of conformity which threaten us all….

… He has coached (to date) in 11 World Championships, including 1991- Bolivia; 1993- Bolivia & Ecuador, 1994-Bolivia, 1996-Iran, 1997 Barbados; 1999-Namibia; 2001-Bolivia; 2002- Bolivia; 2003- Bolivia; 2006-Yemen; 2007- Yemen. He was the National Coach for Zimbabwe at the 1995 All-African Games where he also served as Gymnastics Competition Director, and was Assistant Coach for Nigeria at the 1994 Commonwealth Games. …

read more

It’s titled “Chasing Impossible Dreams”; check out the website:


It’s available from the author, Money Order or Cheque for US$18.95 inclusive of mailing. Cheap.

Or … order through the website via Paypal.

It’s coming to soon, but possibly not soon enough for Christmas.

Amelia – La La La Human Steps

James Glader linked to perhaps my favourite dance troupe ever, La La La Human Steps. In a video production of a long performance called Amelia (part 1).

I first saw La La La Human Steps on their 1985 tour, Human Sex. The physicality of lead dancer Louise Lecavalier blew me away. I’ve still never seen any other dancer anything like her. The reckless abandon.

This clip unfortunately doesn’t do the live performance justice. But it will give you an idea of Louise’s work. Watch it on YouTube. (Warning – partial nudity.)

The genius behind La La La Human Steps is choreographer Édouard Lock.

Kiara Nowlin is growing up

An update from Bekah on the IG Forum on Cheerleader / Powertumbler Kiara Nowlin.


She’s on the U.S. national tumbling team and won gold in Double Mini and Tumbling at this year’s Age Group Games in the 13-14 age group. She’s also the Double Mini and Tumbling U.S. Junior Champion.

Click PLAY or watch her 2009 VISA Championships tumbling lines on YouTube.

No deduction for “chest low” on landing on that piked full-in.

gymnast Elena Davydova (USSR) – Floor

MostepanovaFan posts this 1980 routine, one of her favourites of all time.

Click PLAY or watch Elena on YouTube.

Roll out skills had not yet been banned in Women’s gymnastics.

Elena is today a coach in Canada.

more Samantha Shapiro

Another Shapiro video from AshleyakaFlipper. (I’m still not tired of that lengthy intro.)

As she says:

… Sam Shapiro (in my opinion) has the best form and is the best dancer in this generation. She’s so incredible. …

Click PLAY or watch it on YouTube.

the Jim Walker gymnastics pit

This is a repost from Dec. 2007.

This system is super durable. And probably costs less over the long term.

It’s incredibly safe too as I learned when I tested the one at University of Georgia.


Jim Walker uses a unique design, suspending a grid of special cables one foot above the floor, supporting foam and matting above.

You cannot yet order one of Jim’s pits yourself, as he only does them for friends. (Friends like WOGA, Beigers, Hills, Parkettes, Karolyi Ranch. Those kind of friends.)

If you want to know more, email him:

jwalker AT

coach in New Zealand

HEAD COACH ARTISTIC GYMNASTICS. Full time position available in a world class gymnastics facility, Auckland, New Zealand. Suit senior coach with experience in either Men’s or Women’s Artistic Gymnastics. Hands on coaching of Uneven Bars, Vault and Floor Acro (tumbling) for Women’s development and senior squads.

Contact Marie at

Job Description available on NEWS

Amazing gym. Counties Manukau.

Georgia ranked #1 in Gymnastics

NCAA Women’s Gymnastics

GymInfo – 2010 Women’s Pre-Season Coaches Poll


Same as it ever was …

see the entire list

GymABstics now on DVD

GymABstics was launched as an online subscription program earlier this year by former gymnasts Andy and Jay Thornton of American Gymnast.

Just in time for Christmas, it’s now on DVD.

Plus, you’ll still be able to download the associated MP3 audio files, nutrition articles, weekly motivation articles and our favorite delicious recipes for each workout DVD that you purchase!


… You don’t need a gym membership or any fancy equipment – not even dumbbells or a chin-up bar. All you need is your own body and a little bit of space! GymABstics is designed to be a motivational, inspirational, comprehensive health and fitness program that will sculpt your body …

6 DVDS for $99.

Might be of interest to your adult Rec gymnasts or gymnastics parents.

Read Andy’s take on the project.

Svetlana Khorkina – Look At Me

An amusing look back at one of the great divas in our sport.

Click PLAY or watch it on YouTube.

I’m checking out a gymnastics drills site called put together by Will Vaughn. It looks quite good. reminds me of American Gymnast’s Gymnastics on Demand service. A collection of video clips showing drills.

GymDrills covers Women’s Artistic Gymnastics, the 4 apparatus, conditioning and flexibility.

You can try it free for a week … if you register first.

Subscription Options:

• Free per 7 Days (Trial)
• 3.99 USD per 1 Month (Monthly Membership)
• 35.00 USD per 1 Year (Year Membership)


Leave a comment if you try it out yourself.