USA Gymnastics coach ‘certification’

Again USAG is making a push for requiring more of ‘coaches‘ than only safety certification.

The inaugural Junior Olympic Coaching Certification and Training Camp took place at the U. S. Olympic Training Center at the Karolyi’s Ranch on May 26 – 30, 2011. Thirty three coaches and forty-five gymnasts took part in this new educational program offered by USA Gymnastics.

The coaches certifications included both practical and classroom instruction under the direction of USA Gymnastics National Coaching Staff Tammy Biggs and Steve Rybacki.

This new educational opportunity emphasized on skills and progressions to train Junior Olympic athletes Levels 5 – 7. Training included hands on spotting techniques, proper body shaping, lesson plans and lectures on strength, conditioning, flexibility, periodization, sports medicine and psychology. …

read more on USAG

I bounce back and forth between Canada and the USA. The Canucks (mandatory coach certification) are better coaches, on average, than Americans. … I hear all sorts of crazy theories, based on no science whatsoever, in the States.

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coach Rick

Career gymnastics coach from Calgary, Canada.

10 thoughts on “USA Gymnastics coach ‘certification’”

  1. I dont understand. Can someone please explain to me what qualifications you need to be a gym coach in the USA? How long does the course take? Do you need to do any shadow or supervised hours before you qualify? Do you need a police background check? First aid certificate? Can someone legally coach without a qualification? Can a coach work without registration from usag (or another governing body).

  2. You don’t need anything. To coach on the floor at meets you need a Pro membership which requires a safety certification (a CYA for the USAG) and a background check which only checks for felonies.

  3. Rick, care to share some of the crazy theories out there in the US?

    I agree 100% that there is a great lack of holistic understand of coaching. It seems that knowing technique and spotting is all there is, which well it is only a small portion. This works for compulsories (and depending on the talent of the kid, in order to achieve reallllly nice stuff), but if you reallllly wanna make a great program its hardly enough i think.

    Interested to hear what is out there.

    1. You know I haven’t heard any CRAZY theories lately.

      But not so long ago there were coaches who would not teach Handspring 1/1, so the girls would be FORCED to compete Tsuk.

      Motivation, you see.

      I recall American coaches making all kids twist in the same direction … for efficiency in the gym.

      Famously, Steve Nunno coached one of the best gymnasts of all time, but seemed to know almost nothing about gymnastics. It was … weird.

      “Coach Education” is whatever the last guru taught at the last Regional clinic. There’s no consistency. No common language of biomechanics, body actions, movement patterns, etc.

  4. @ Valentin….oh you would be amazed. As a foreigner coaching here in the US I am astonished by how lacking in scientific knowledge, planning, real progressions and general common sense there is. Thank goodness for the programs that know what they are doing to produce the champions….

  5. I know some coaches who have not evolved with the times and are passing along technique that I consider obsolete; some who stubbornly cling to what’s familiar to them, or what worked in the 80s, but who express an unwillingness to explore anything new, or entertain the possibility of superior cutting-edge technique to the “tried and true” methods that maybe worked for them 20 years ago.

    One of the things that one of my mentors has warned me about is how some coaches might see a great drill; but that it’s worthless to that coach if he doesn’t understand what type of technique in executing a particular skill the drill is based around. There might be several different approaches to teaching a Pak, a layout whip, a Tkatchev, a backhandspring, or whatever. A drill might have been designed around a particular way of doing the skill and will not be applicable for someone who is teaching the skill using a different technique. The danger is in coaches who don’t have a deep enough level of understanding to recognize this, see a “cool” drill, and then try to utilize it in their own curriculum without fully understanding why the drill came about and what it’s actually good for. If they did understand, they might realize the drill is a jigsaw piece that doesn’t fit into their puzzle.

  6. “Famously, Steve Nunno coached one of the best gymnasts of all time, but seemed to know almost nothing about gymnastics. It was … weird.”

    I think he had help.

  7. yeah, we all know that. Peggy Liddick was the brains and the beauty behind that famous gymnasts…..Peggy has gone onto great things, but where is steve now???? funny that. but that is not the only copaching pair when the MAN has taken credit for the WOMENS genius. im sure you all know who the ex Romanians are!!!!!!!!

  8. I had a gymnast that trained under Nunno at the same time Shannon was in the gym. I was at that time a judge and coach in that area. I can assure he was an excellent coach. Very motivated and very technical. Many of his training is still used today. Steve opened several gyms in OK. The got married has children and he more than some of us realize his priorities are with his family. So he is not as involved as much, and I admire him very much. Shannon was very well trained before Peggy arrived. the skills were there, he just needed a choreographer, that she was great for. I was there , I saw it from Shannon’s first press. Steve trained her from the ground up, he deserved the credit, certainly not Peggy. Anyone that tells you different is not truthful.

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