Happy Holidays from Tom Burgdorf

Tom Burgdorf is National Clinician – Business Leader for USSSA Gymnastics and runs GYMNET Sports.

His letter to member clubs has a good message.

To: Owners/Coaches/Judges

Another family season rolls around. Busy & bustling.

I am proud of our industry. I have been there from pretty much the beginning when Olga cried on bars and got people excited about the sport of gymnastics. Not many gymnastics clubs back then. Not many meets. Not many judges either. But it was a special time as we saw pockets of gyms start springing up around the country. There was something magical about competing in grade schools, running down a hallway, passing 2 doors, into the gym and vaulting over the horse.


Some of us can still remember the sound of the squeak of a gymnast grinding rosin into her footies so she could stick on the wooden beam better. Enough of this dating myself.

Today we continue to change the lives of the children who are lucky enough to be brought to our gyms. I wish all of the parents realized how special the gyms are. Instead of nit-picking and being overly sensitive and sometimes overly competitive, they should be counting their blessings. I am proud of our industry.

For those who know me through my newsletter, seminars and lectures, you know that I am never satisfied. Can we be better? Of course. We can always be better. And we need to continue to develop gymnastics professionals who want to see things get better. To keep things in perspective and to continuously strive to do what is right for the kids.

Sometimes I think we get pulled along by others who may have different agendas but I have confidence that there are enough sensible coaches and owners out there who know what makes sense. That is why I am still so excited about now and the future.

We are doing a terrific job. The professional judges I see out there are so much better now. They care, they train, they want to be a positive part of our sport. And they are. And thankfully, they are resilient as we coaches sometimes let the competitive side get the best of us. Judges, keep pushing to make your part of this sport better and better. You are appreciated even though you aren’t told that often enough. Keep your standards high.

Our sport is bigger than any one of us. We will all eventually leave the sport but the sport will continue. Will it be a better place because you were involved? I think so.

Through our gymnastics the kids get more discipline. The desire to pursue their dreams in sports. We teach them the hard work ethic. How to succeed. How to fall down and get back up. And that the “getting back up” is more important than a score. These kids will fall down a lot during their lives and they will push on as they get up because that is the right thing to do.

Because of us they will be more aggressive. More selective. They will reach higher. They will be more determined and more confident in their abilities. They will be better students. They will be more fit. They will be more capable of making their lives what they want them to be. Because of us.

Get real. But we do make mistakes. We don’t take enough time off. We allow the people at the gym to become our “family” which cheats certain other people who are close to us. We work too many hours. We cater to the team parents too much. We work too many days in a row. Life is about more than gymnastics.

A little more time away from gymnastics will make the gym even more fun. The kids more fun. The parents more fun.


This holiday season I want you to get a little selfish. Appreciate YOURSELF. That’s right. Take a moment to remember how terrific you are. How you had a dream once and you are making it happen. Appreciate your talents. Your hard work ethic. Your compassion for others. Go back to your younger days when you “followed your gut feeling” a little more.

I believe we can take this sport to the next level. Both in business and in competition. That means make the gym more profitable and more fun to work in. That means to use common sense in the competitive side and keep the kids in mind as much as the trophies. I believe in the gymnastics professionals in the country.

I am proud of our industry. We are making a difference.

Happy Holidays.

Tom Burgdorf

George Novak recommends Tom’s GYMNET Sports Gymnastics Business Newsletter. It’s free, a weekly publication by email.

Published by

Rick Mc

Career gymnastics coach who loves the outdoors, and the internet.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.