I would love to travel to GAGE (Great American Gymnastics Express) in Blue Springs, Missouri to see just how Armine & controversial coach Al Fong develop such fantastic gymnasts.
Al published an article in the Tumbl Trak monthly magazine which gives a glimpse into his methodology:
By using the Tumbl Trak … (to) start the workout for 10 to 15 girls I can condense the amount of time needed to â€œget the athletes goingâ€. It can involve total body movements from the obvious lower body groups to the not so obvious upper body groups by using arm swings to accompany the bounces down the tramp. After every pass down the trak I have the kids dynamically stretch their legs, wrists, and shoulders while waiting for their turn. Within a relatively short period of time (10 minutes) I can progress to actual tumbling passes from the basic back handsprings and fly springs to the big skills like double fronts and backward double layouts. Itâ€™s a perfect opportunity to reinforce tumbling basics and body positions. At the end of a 30 to 45 minute session I am able to provide warm ups, stretching, and tumbling in the same amount of time that usually takes 1 Â½ hours.
Since I have a big 8 ft x 15 ft crash pad at the end of the Tumbl Trak, I often times instruct the athletes to roll forward, sideways, and even backward after landingâ€¦ without the use of their hands to incorporate â€œfalling drillsâ€. I believe it is extremely important to teach kids how to fall properly. I provide ample opportunities during workout for them to practice so it becomes instinctive. This minimizes the chance that someone will over rotate and hurt her arm because she stuck her arm out to catch herself instead of rolling out.
Hereâ€™s a thought. Next time you have a group tumbling on the Tumbl Trak, have the kids line up next to the landing area at the end of the Tumbl Trak instead of the beginning. (This is where I stand to watch them tumble.) Have only 2 or 3 kids at the beginning of the Tumbl Trak. This allows the rest of the group to watch and see what I see and can hear the instructions I give. They understand better by watching each other. It also prevents them from talking in line while waiting for their turn. …