are your gymnasts actually getting STRONGER?

I see many Gyms with conditioning lists filled with general physical preparation.

Kids quickly adapt to the load and advancement soon flatlines. Many of our programs result in maintenance, not improvement.

Nick Ruddock consults with many Gyms around the world. One of the first things he looks at is their conditioning programs.

  1. Be Proactive
  2. Don’t Wait
  3. Collaborate
  4. Avoid ‘fluffy’ programming
  5. Have a structure
  6. Supervise
  7. Prioritise the Time
  8. Listen to your athlete
  9. Ensure Volume and Frequency is adequate
  10. Don’t neglect the significance of the time

Nick recommends 25-33% of your total training volume to be spent on physical preparation related activities. Bill Sands would say you could spend as little as 30 minutes / day if the program is individualized, correctly targeted and efficiently done.

Click over for the details:


For RECOVERY from exercise SLEEP is priority

Christie Aschwanden has a new book that’s getting a lot of attention, especially from coaches of endurance athletes.

The main takeaway for me was improving quality and quantity of sleep had the best potential for feeling more READY for the next training.

In one study a group of athletes spent 10 hours / night in bed, whether or not they were sleeping the whole time.

She found that many of the commercial products on the market had negligible effects on recovery. Often the placebo had the same result as the supposed recovery aid.

Recovery is very individual. And complicated.

She found that ice baths can “work” in that they make many athletes feel better (later), even if you’re not actually changing anything in the body.

Personally, I find the best strategy for the coach is to do an assessment of readiness to train at the beginning of workout, and adjust the plan based on that assessment. On a GOOD DAY do more. On a BAD DAY do more basics, less impact.

One season I had the girls do one rope climb during the warm-up reporting back to me how it felt. That was a good indicator, I found. We changed the load (e.g. tumbling reps) based on how they were feeling that day.

Amazon – Good to Go: What the Athlete in All of Us Can Learn from the Strange Science of Recovery

Christie Aschwanden is an award-winning science journalist.

She was the lead science writer at FiveThirtyEight for many years and is a former health columnist for the Washington Post. …

She was a high school state champion in the 1,600-meter run, a national collegiate cycling champion, and an elite cross-country skier with Team Rossignol. She lives and occasionally still races in western Colorado.

Superstars of Gymnastics a success

If you had a choice between the Superstars meet in Birmingham or the concurrent World Cup meet in London — both hosted the same day — which would you choose?

No question for me. I’d be at the World Cup.

But they had a big crowd at Superstars. Ticket paying fans seemed to enjoy the comedy. For once the gymnasts knew that entertainment was the goal, not the very best Gymnastics.

Hopefully Superstars will continue to be a success into the future.

BBC Sport – Libby Dawes:

Do elite gymnastics competitions need to be more fun?

World Championships in Glasgow was a near perfect meet for me. NCAA Gymnastics meets — both MAG & WAG — are plenty entertaining enough too.

A meet should last no longer than 2 hours. And I’d love to do anything to improve safety.

new USAG President / CEO Li Li Leung

Official announcement.

Impressive credentials:

She was a gymnast at the University of Michigan

She has a sports marketing background

She has been working in the NBA headquarters since 2015

She competed in American Ninja Warrior

The main question so far is WHY she would leave the NBA for USAG.

Let’s wish her all the best.

importance of the sport parent

One of the biggest weaknesses I see in Gymnastics coaches is poor people skills with parents.

That’s especially true of young coaches who haven’t learned the hard way yet.

Many parents need to be convinced that a young coach knows what they are doing. (Those same parents assume an older coach does have the experience to do the job. Indeed, it’s not fair.)

Are you spending enough time keeping YOUR parents informed and onboard with shared goals?

That’s from Lisa Mitzel’s book FOCUSED and Inspired. Recommended.

update on Valeri and Brazil

Cedrick Willian on Gym Blog Brazil posted an important update on Valeri.

The original is in Portuguese. Here are some points I gleaned from Google Translate:

– short term goal is Tokyo 2020. Long term is important, as well.

– National Team training camp was Jan 7-17th

– no more weighing gymnasts

– nutritional orientation

– buffet at camp offered juice and dessert (yes, dessert!)

– doctors, physiotherapists, nutritionists, physical trainers and biomechanist involved

– first day medical assessment and specific skills test

– other days training: morning 08:30 to 12:30, afternoon 15:30 to 18:30.

– Saturday morning only and Sunday off

– all apparatus each day. Ballet and choreography rotations

– Brazil travels to WOGA Jan 28th – Feb 10th

– Jr and Sr team members will compete WOGA Classic in February

– the feeling is that the doors are open for everyone who aspires to National Team

The beginning of the democratization of Brazilian women’s artistic gymnastics

Valeri Liukin

interview with Tom Forster

Women’s high-performance team coordinator is not a full-time job.

The process for Doha was successful so Tom so far plans to continue with that approach into the future.

Read the interview.

are coaches willing to CHANGE?

I go to a lot of Gyms. A lot of excellent gyms.

Many coaches are doing many things right.

My last visit was to a club where only one of the competitive team had anything taped. It has a reputation for keeping girls in Gym through High School.

When I watched training my main feedback was to KEEP doing what they are doing: good basics, safe landings, good handstands.

That said, none of us are the best coach in the world. We should all constantly be evaluating and tweaking our training plans.

Some advice from Dave Tilley:

1. Everyone Taking On More Accountability and Self Awareness
2. Eliminate the Say-Do Gap
3. Pushing Athletes Hard But Intelligently
4. Collaborate, and Give Everyone and Equal Voice in Training Decisions
5. Critique Athlete Behavior, Not The Athlete
6. Don’t Value The Opinion Someone Has of You More Than Your Opinion of Yourself
7. Don’t Be Afraid of Very New, and Very Different, Ideas


View this post on Instagram

🚨*New Blog Post*🚨- "7 Culture Changes Gymnastics Needs for The Future" (link in bio) – – 🙏Got quite an important new blog post today, one that I have been really thinking hard about over the last year. – – 💡Not all of gymnastics is broken, but there is a massive amount of work to do. – – 📚I put together 7 of my thoughts I think we need in our sport if we want to a future for producing happy, healthy, and high performing gymnasts. It’s just based on my experiences as a gymnast, coach, medical provider, researcher, and consultant. Please share if you find it useful! #gymnastics #culturechange #performance #health #TeamChampion #SHIFT – –

A post shared by Dave Tilley, DPT, SCS, CSCS (@shift_movementscience) on