USA Gymnastics Men’s Levels 1-3

A review of the USA Gymnastics’ Essential Elements program.

Al Scharns – Program Design

Dusty Ritter – Junior Olympic Program Coordinator

Here is how the program works – each coach can set up their own lesson plan by choosing 4-8 stations known as ‘boxes’ that coordinate with the 14 or more key “Essential Elements” for that level (Levels 1 & 2).

Week after week, they can select different boxes to introduce new drills, progressions and challenges. The boxes can be used for individual stations or included in a circuit or obstacle course. …

Of course, we want to make it fun, interesting, safe and challenging. Thus the program is designed to be flexible and creative. …

Our mission is to provide the opportunity for clubs to initiate and grow a boys’ gymnastics program while at the same time helping to train coaches to the discipline of boys’ gymnastics. We are providing an opportunity to do this in a way that is cost- effective for both the club and the participant …


The program is set up so a Club with very little men’s equipment and coaching expertise can still start to work towards J.O. competitive levels 3 and up.

The videos are excellent. Clear, bright, short and well edited. The demonstrators exactly at the ability level being taught. Any WAG coach would have no trouble teaching these drills.

Other curriculums are divided into 6 Olympic apparatus and Trampoline. This is better breakdown:

Category 1 – Warm up, Flexibility and Body Shapes
Category 2 – Swings and Hangs
Category 3 – Supports and Strength
Category 4 – Runs, Jumps, and Springs
Category 5 – Games, Races, and Courses

I really like the obstacle courses / Parkour content.

The content is advanced Recreational. But by the end of Level 3 boys are prepared to join competitive gymnastics at Level 4. Or go on to any other sport.

It’s $39.95 on disk:

Manual: The Essential Elements Program – includes program description, skill charts, curriculum planning charts, and sample lesson plans.

Video: Complete video of all five skill categories

Forms: Writable PDF versions of Essential Elements lesson plan charts, evaluation charts and certificates

We purchased that disk but it’s also available as a digital download for $29.99 to be viewed on iPad, iPhone and Mac.

Published by

Rick Mc

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

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