Tips For Gymnasts – back walkover (Gymbrooke) has a great page called:

Helpful Hints and Tips For All Gymnasts

It offers advice for gymnasts and parents on Floor, Beam, Bars, Conditioning and more.

For example, here is an excerpt from the backwalkover on beam page:


If there’s one skill on the beam that frustrates intermediate gymnasts the most, it has to be the back walkover. How many times in practice have you gotten your hands on the beam, only to realize you’re slightly off and end up having to bail out? Probably too many.

The first and most important thing to remember, whether you’re just starting to learn this skill, or if you’ve been doing it for a while, is that your alignment with the beam has to be perfect. There are no if’s, and’s, or but’s about it.

Beam: Back Walkovers –

See the rest of the tip topics: Helpful Hints and Tips For All Gymnasts.

coaches needed in the UK

Premier Sport are looking for Full-time and Part-time Sports Coaches to assist with the delivery of extra curricular coaching in Primary Schools.

Premier Sport is the leading provider of Sports to Schools in the UK. Your role will be to deliver quality sports coaching to children aged from 4 to 11 years on School premises. The ability to travel will increase your opportunities to earn. pay rates are from £10 to £15 per hour, based upon experience.

… We will provide you with full training and support to attain various sports coaching qualifications, to enable you to achieve a career in Sports coaching and reach your full potential. There are positions available all across the South West region, so we can place you in a position local to you. To apply please email your CV to darrenphillips AT

Darren Phillips, Head Coach, Premier Sport

The Chalk Bucket Gymnastics Community

Forums, Photo Gallery, Links, Articles, and much more.

We’ve just “subscribed” to The Chalk Bucket.

It’s like an on-line bulletin board — but much more powerful. As well as community comments, excerpts are linked to and other sites.

Very cool.

We’ve linked to The Chalk Bucket from the right hand navigation on each page under Blogs. (As it has a blog-like RSS feed.) And will be checking it every day.

Are you a gymnast, coach, parent, judge, or fan?

Register at The Chalk Bucket, it’s FREE!

Welcome to the The Chalk Bucket. Join the community and talk with other gymnasts, coaches, parents, judges, and fans. As a member you will be able post, private message (PM), upload and comment on photos, submit and review links, submit and review articles, and create your own personalized profile.

The Chalk Bucket Gymnastics Community


video – one arm rope climb

There is a whole fitness subculture who aspire to feats of strength.

A good starting point if you are interested —

A recent post on Beast Skills is an Interview with Jack Arnow, a “living legend”, considered one of the 10 strongest chin-up men of all time. Arnow has seen many feats of stength in his 64-years.

Arnow recounts amazing performances of one-arm chin-ups alternating and in series. Iron cross (“butterfly”) chin-ups on rings. One arm front levers. And much more.

As an example of a “beast skill”, watch a video of one arm rope climbing on CrossFit.

photo book – Gymnastics Balancing Acts

One of the most unique gifts for a gymnast we’ve yet seen is a coffee table photography book by Christina Lessa.

She has many famous American and a few international gymnast posed in costume.

Gymnastics: Balancing Acts

Gymnastics: Balancing Acts

Most of Lessa’s photo shoots are inspiring. A few merely bizarre.

It reminded me of the work of super photographer Annie Leibovitz. Certainly I prefer the gymnastics photos in Leibovitz’s Olympic Portraits (1996).

larger image – Dominique Moceanu – Annie Liebovitz

Chinese gymnastics equipment – GAOFEI

In Australia I saw samples of equipment from the Chinese company who won the 2008 Olympic contract — Taishan Sports.

(In the end, Taishan did not win the contract.)

A friend in Canada is negotiating a major purchase with another Chinese company called GAOFEI.

Their equipment looks to be good quality, as well. In fact, GAOFEI is also the distributor for GYMNOVA (a French company) in China.

Expect Chinese companies like GAOFEI to be VERY competitive in terms of price.


sample – bars handstand trainer

Rik Feeney – books and articles

Rik Feeney is one of our most prolific gymnastics coach authors.

The best guide still for parents with questions about what happens after their child is invited into competitive women’s gymnastics is his 1992 book simply titled Gymnastics.

Checking Rik’s website — Gymnastics Training Tips — is inspirational.


But did you know that Rik has has articles posted which you can download and republish for free? (One of these might be ideal for a club newsletter.)

One I particularly like is called: How to size, break in, and take care of your grips

It’s written by Mike Jacobs from US Glove and edited by John Deary of Deary’s Gymnastics Supply.

The article has information on selection and sizing of “hand guards” for bars, rings and horizontal bar:

… never borrow a teammate’s grips …

… it’s always a good idea to have a backup pair of grips broken in and ready for use in case of untimely breakage.

… keep your wristbands clean and in good condition and to discard worn or thin wristbands.

Suppliers are also often asked to recommend Velcro or buckle closure. This decision is a personal choice. What does the athlete or coach prefer? Velcro is easier for younger athletes, but many higher-level coaches prefer buckles because they are more secure and the athlete does not have a tendency to wrap and unwrap the Velcro closure constantly throughout a workout. Constant wrapping and unwrapping the Velcro straps on their handgrips causes the Velcro to wear out long before the useful life of the grip.

Athletes often complain about breaking in new handgrips. …

When not in use it is a good idea to store your grips in a separate bag to protect them from damage from other items in your gym bag. This will also keep the chalk and smell of the grips from transferring to the other items in your gym bag.

Read the full article on Rik Feeney’s website

The most important topic of discussion is the question of water usage on handgrips.

Mike Jacobs says that water usage on leather is not recommended.

“Water can cause deterioration and rotting, as well as stretching of the leather. This can shorten the life of your grips.”

Yet many gymnasts persist in using water to both “break in” new grips and in day to day training.

Of course you must cut grips in half once they are weakened or a nick appears in either edge as they can “rip”. Don’t simply toss old hand guards in the trash (as some inexperienced gymnast might pull them out and use them). The cutting of old hand guards was a ritual in our gym — often with the gymnast jumping up and down, complaining that they are still perfectly good.

Reisport are still my favourite grips.


competition photos

One of the great advantages of digital photography is the ease by which coaches, athletes and parents can get professional “action” shots from competitions.

(I still remember the day when parents begged me to come on to the competition floor in order to get a good angle for a personal photo.)

The only problem now is browsing the hundreds of available photos on-line to decide which ones to print.

Altadore gymnast at the WOGA (World Olympic Gymnastic Academy) competition, Feb. 5th, 2007.

Sydney Olympics venue

I got a chance to visit of the 2000 Olympic site at Homebush near the airport in Sydney, Australia. It still hosts about 1800 events each year, an impressive legacy.

Not bad for land which was once written off as “industrial wasteland”.

We had a personal tour of the impressive aquatics facilities. (Thanks Elanore!)

It seems I won a gold medal … for something.

official Olympic podium
Rick McCharles

more photos on Flickr