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.

coach Rec Gymnastics in Kuwait

Wiggle Kids Club – kids between the age of 2 to the age of 8 years.

We will be offering a variety of different age appropriate activities like dance, sports, martial art, and gymnastics. We also have arts and crafts, play dates, and birthdays. We are seeking for full time enthusiastic fun fitness, ballet, rhythmic gymnastic instructor that would like to join our team.

Offering a salary of approx Euro 1,300 per month including free accommodation and transportation. All visa work and flight ticket will be taken care of by us. Kuwait is a tax free country and the medical is also free.

info (a)

Building a Rec Boys Gymnastics Program

by site editor Rick McCharles

Many excellent girls Gymnastics clubs underserve boys in their market. Brothers are sitting in the parents seating area – restless – waiting on sisters. That’s a waste.

The best boys Gymnastics clubs have as high a ratio as 1 boy for every 3 girls. That kind of ratio is possible.

Ashwad Springer

First priority for boys coaches is increasing the base. Increasing the numbers of boys trying Gymnastics and other acrobatic sports.

Once in the Gym many will find they like the sport. It’s FUN. Keep it FUN.

have fun

Boys love Games, Contests and Challenges. Most boys love height and flight. Excitement.

rope block tower

Once hooked on the sport, next priority is improvement of Physical (Endurance, Stringy, Power, Flexibility, etc.) and Motor (Agility, Balance, Coordination, Spatial awareness, etc.) fitness.

Skills are lower priority than for girls the same age.

Role models are important for boys. It’s important coaches and the eldest and most advanced boys in the club be leaders.

Clubs who do want to increase the size and quality of the boys Recreation program have two major problems:

  • hiring competent, experienced men’s coaches
  • getting boys into the gym to give it a go

There are far fewer boys coaches available than girls coaches. Some serious effort may be required to recruit and train boys Rec coaches.

In 2016 Parkour / Ninja classes are very popular with boys. Boys parents are very keen to keep their sons doing Parkour safe.

Once in the Gym some of those Ninja boys will get interested in the Artistic competitive apparatus.

I like “bring-a-friend” day, as well. Check the insurance implications of bringing in a friend to your Gym.

rope swing

related – Gymnastics Ontario Congress 2016BUILDING A RECREATIONAL BOYS PROGRAM presentation notes PDF

(via Rec Gymnastics)

Gymnastics – head balances

Here’s a sample of my 180 Recreation Fitness Games & Activities videos posted online free by Tumbl Trak.

The ability to balance on the TOP of your head is an important skill. Here’s one series of progressions from beginner to advanced.

Do NOT allow any child to balance on their forehead. The neck is vulnerable in that position.

Click PLAY or watch it on YouTube.

See ALL the Games posted so far on the Tumbl Trak Fitness Games YouTube channel.

Gymnastics NINJA obstacle course

Cutting Edge Gymnastics in Michigan has greatly expanded their boys programs with parkour training. Motor and Physical fitness is the goal, not necessarily specific skills.

Click the IMAGE to play or watch it on Google+.

Ninja course

That video was produced by Doug Davis at Heart Tech Plus. The goal is to monitor heart rate and other variables while kids “play“.

(via Rec Gymnastics)

only 7000 gymnasts in China

Canadian coach Liang Cheng is taking western style Gymnastics back to China. He set up his first club in 2012. And Inspire Sports is expanding.

Click PLAY or watch it on YouTube. English language instruction.

Some in China feel mass participation clubs are needed.

Wang Tongjie, director of gymnastics at China’s General Administration of Sport:

… There are only 7,000 registered Chinese gymnasts, Wang said. The United States — with a population only one-fourth of China’s — has nearly 150,000 competing gymnasts at all levels. …

Team China is covered for now.

The future is not so certain.

“What we have is about to become broken, but the new system is yet to be established,” Ye said. He points to a former powerhouse that failed to qualify for Rio as a team this year as a tale of caution. “If we don’t change, we will be like Romania.” …

In China, ‘Happy Gymnastics’ replaces grind of strict study

(via Nancy Armour)