NEW from TumblTrak – Bungee Mats

It’s obvious that there will be far more air-filled equipment in your gym over the coming years. And used in new and innovative ways.

At R2R Congress in Spokane, TumblTrak showed what they call a … Bungee Mat. The name confused me at first since there is no bungee (bunjie, or bungy) visible anywhere.

The bungee is inside, creating a tighter response than air alone.

That set-up shown above was used by John Carney at summer camp in Idaho. The kids could practice free hip circleand Stalder without needing a spotter.

This gymnast had never used the set-up before. Click PLAY or watch it on YouTube.

(via Funtastics

related – John Carney’s Wall of Death – flyaway video

videos – Gymnastics for All

Rick McCharles

At 2007 BC Fall Congress I did a presentation on best videos for recreational gymnastics coaches. Sadly there are far too few available. Most videos are targeted at competitive.

Click PLAY to see the PowerPoint presentation or watch it on YouTube:

Here are the most important links:

  • YouTube SaltoCafe channel
  • GymnasticsCoaching YouTube playlist
  • American Gymnast | Gymnastics on Demand
  • GymSmarts
  • Tumbl Trak – new product videos
  • Charles Minster Productions:

  • Complete Recreational Gymnastics
  • Impact (Safe Landings)
  • Advanced Gymnastics for Boys and Girls with Paul Hall
  • Related posts:

  • BEST gymnastics coaching DVDs
  • BEST gymnastics on-line video
  • DVD – IMPACT – teaching safe landings
  • building better gymnastics CIRCUITS

    Circuits are essential for gymnastics coaches. For best practice, all circuits:

  • must be SAFE for the least experienced child in the group
  • must be FUN
  • should develop fitness and include target movement patterns
  • be directed towards the long-term goals of the group
  • should be fast to organize, easy for kids to understand
  • frequently changed (adding more difficulty)
  • be very ACTIVE
  • Circuit.jpg

    At both BC Fall Congress and R2R Congress in 2007, I recommended:

  • games and activities to organize kids
  • setting an order for the gymnasts (usually tallest to shortest)
  • preparing lesson plans in advance
  • prepping one of the kids in advance to demonstrate the circuit, …. or
  • starting with the same base circuit each class, and modify soon after
  • buying as many mat “shapes” as possible
  • consider purchasing the innovative air inflatable and trampoline equipment available through TumblTrak
  • quickly removing “bottlenecks” by having kids skip any station where there is a line-up
  • Best case scenario, the gymnasts build their own circuit. The coach watches the circuit, free to make small adjustments as needed. Stand close to the station which is the most challenging for the kids.

    Here is a video of my PowerPoint presentation at Gymnastics for All, BC Fall Congress:

    Click PLAY or watch it on YouTube:

    At Region 2 Rising (R2R) 2007, Spokane I presented a similar PowerPoint presentation but using Vault as an example. I challenged coaches to do one (easy) vault / minute in a vault training session with young competitive gymnasts. For example, 30 circuits in 30 minutes.

    Click PLAY or watch it on YouTube:

    British Columbia gymnastics coaches Congress

    BC Gymnastics Congress 2007Rick McCharles

    Just home from BC Fall Congress in Vancouver, their biggest coach education event of the year.

    This week I will be writing up a number of posts on my presentations there. You can get to them by clicking on the BC Congress link in the right hand navigation column.

    It was very well organized and quite well attended. Great to catch up with the excellent coaches in British Columbia.

    Gymnastics World Cup TOURISM

    There were some good performances at the World Cup last weekend, especially Daria JOURA from Australia.

    But the bigger story was how many top athletes did not show:

    For the 25th time, the “DTB-Cup 2007” took place in Stuttgart (Porsche Arena).

    Altogether 69 men and 33 women … participated at this event, which took place right in between the world championships in the wake of September and the pre-Olympic Games in Beijing in the end of November.

    Beside the three mentioned world champions, there were only 8 of 48 World Championships-finalists participating in Stuttgart

    GYMmedia points out another interesting trend in the Men’s competition:

  • Out of 69 competitors, not one did all six or rather five apparatuses.
  • One single gymnast – Samuel Piasecky from Slovakia did four qualification starts: on floor, horse and qualified for parallel bars (3rd) and high bar (7th).
  • Only eleven gymnasts did a kind of “small all around” competition performing on three apparatuses.
  • The vast majority (54) cultivated “world cup tourism”, doing only one or two apparatuses…!

    Sure the timing is bad for athletes focused on Olympic preparation. In my mind, though, I feel it’s the extreme physical demand of the new code on All-around gymnasts which is convincing so many TOP men to opt out of doing all 6 apparatus.

    Jade Barbosa from Brazil performs in … vault at the 25th DTB Cup, a gymnastics World Cup competition, in Stuttgart, southwestern Germany, Sunday, Oct. 28, 2007. Barbosa took second place behind Germany’s Oksana Chusovitina.

    (AP Photo/Thomas Kienzle)

    ESPN – Gymnastics Photo Wire

    Parkour in Toronto

    Rafe Kelley informed me that Toronto has one of the most active Parkour communities in North America and the world.

    They have a great website:

    On safety:

    Parkour demands as much or as little as you want to put into it, you never have to cross the boundaries of risk at all if you feel that is your path. In the 4 years we have been around, there has been very few injuries and we take great pride in knowing that we have been one of the safest Parkour scenes in the world. It is a common misconception as well that Parkour is ‘extreme’ and ‘roof top jumping’, but it couldn’t be further from the truth. 99.9% of our meets take place on ground level, using normal rails and objects.

    Realistically speaking, the greatest risk at a normal training meet is getting dehydrated, and if you are VERY unlucky, a sprained ankle is about the worst you will probably ever get.

    Canada’s largest Parkour community serving Toronto and Southern Ontario – FAQs

    PKTO.jpg – more photos

    video – gymnastics safety bar straps

    One of the best ways a gymnast can use straps for training bar swings. (I am not a big fan of PVC pipe systems except for absolute beginners.)

    Click PLAY or watch it on YouTube.

    Excerpted from a 2 DVD set by coach Paul Hall called Advanced Gymnastics for Boys and Girls. It’s available from in Australia and British Gymnastics.

    related post – best gymnastics coaching DVDs

    SPECIAL Awards for Worlds – Gymblog

    I really enjoyed one of Blythe’s posts on Gymblog. She’s recommended special awards for gymnasts at World Championships 2007 Stuttgart inspired by Longines:

  • Longines Award for Vaulting Without Actually Running: Beth Tweddle
  • Longines Award for Reputation Salvation: Nastia Liukin
  • Longines Award for Falling: Yang Wei (horizontal bar)
  • Longines Award for Longevity: Jana Komrskova
  • Longines Award for Most Consistently Overscored Routine: Steliana Nistor (beam)
  • Longines Award for Amazing Save: Vanessa Ferrari (bars)
  • Longines Award for Most Overused Word by American Commentators: “gassed”
  • Longines Award for Most Impressive Yang Wei Performance: Yang Wei (rings)
  • Longines Award for Coolest New Trend: double front dismounts from rings
  • Longines Award for Endurance: Yang Tae-Young
  • Longines Award for Best Split Jump Ever: Koko Tsurumi
  • v_gymnastics_h.jpg

    Detailed descriptions and video examples on The Worlds Awards « WordPress Gymblog

    video – 1.5 twisting Kovacs

    Blythe on the Gymblog links to this amazing clip and links to several more.

    Click PLAY or watch it on YouTube.

    … it’s hard not to be impressed by what could be called the Andrade, a one-and-a-half twisting Kovacs.

    This training video, from former Stanford standout Rico Andrade, is from 2003. A video of Andrade trying (and unfortunately missing) a double twisting Kovacs is also available.

    The Andrade, a 1.5 twisting Kovacs « WordPress Gymblog

    By the way, I still call Kolman (full twisting Kovacs) the “Pineda”. With my own eyes I watched Tony Pineda from Mexico do it — OK, more of a Gaylord 2 with a half out — at the 1985 Worlds.

    Tony was coached by Hideo Mizoguchi in Oregon.

    great coach and clinician – Hideo Mizoguchi

    img262.jpgOne of those most influential on my coaching career was Hideo Mizoguchi .

    I spent much of the past weekend at R2R with “Mizo” and we had a chance to catch up on old times.

    Mizo was an up-and-coming talent when Japan ruled the world of Men’s gymnastics. An injury cut short his competitive aspirations and, as a result, he moved to Oregon for University.

    There he quickly rose to prominence as a coach, especially for his part in the development of 1984 Olympians Traci Talavera and Julianne McNamara, two of my favourite, innovative gymnasts of all time.

    In those days Canadian clubs, including my own, sent kids to Mizo’s gym for summer camp.

    Mizo-mens-gymnastics-strength.jpgWhen Mizo was named USA Gymnastics Technical Director for the Junior Olympic National Program, a post he held for 10yrs, Mizo continued to invite Canadians to participate at National Team events in Colorado Springs, a huge boost to our development at that time.

    What is he doing now?

    Mizo and his wife Kellie are running Champions Gymnastics in Katy, Texas. His gym was custom built as part of a shopping centre, a most unique model and one that is working very well. They host the Ricky Deci Invitational each year.

    I recommend his Strength Development for Men’s Gymnastics video available from GymSmarts. (Click Men’s Gymnastics to get to it.)

    Video sample.