teaching backward handspring

The spotter counter balances the gymnast so they can “feel” the correct position before initiating the jump for backward handspring.

The RED line is the goal. Thee figures on the right (A,B,C), common errors:


For fun, with confident, experienced tumblers on a trampoline — the coach can release the grip, asking the gymnast to do an almost instantaneous back handspring.

This diagram comes from an excellent longer article by Steve Bonham, from Georgia Southern University: Body Awareness Drills

confusing Olympic mascots

I really miss Cobi, the oddball Barcelona sheep dog. The best of all Olympic mascots, so far. Those were simpler times.

In recent years the mascots have been getting more numerous, and more confusing.

Vancouver 2010 Olympic Mascots, Quatchi (C), a sasquatch, Miga (L), a sea bear and Sumi, an animal spirit are unveiled in Surrey, British Columbia, Nov. 27, 2007. The Mascots were inspired by local Aboriginal mythological creatures.

(Xinhua/Reuters Photo)

Miga — a snowboarding sea-bear inspired by the First Nations’ legends of the Pacific Northwest. Miga, described as mischievous and outgoing, is part sea-bear and part orca whale.

Quatchi — a shy and gentle Sasquatch with a long brown beard and blue earmuffs meant to conjure the mystery and wonder associated with the Canada’s wilderness.

Sumi — an animal guardian spirit, who flies with the wings of the thunderbird, is described as “a natural born leader with a passion for protecting the environment.”

Quatchi and Miga will represent the Olympic Games while Sumi will represent the Paralympic Games.

Mascots unveiled for Vancouver Olympic Games _English_Xinhua


If so, now learn about the 4th mascot, Mukmuk — a Vancouver Island marmot sidekick considered an honorary member of the mascot team.

I know these mascots are all about marketing potential. Why didn’t they choose the Spirit Bear, the most popular and obvious choice? Must have been a committee compromise.

For comparison, here are the Beijing mascots:

The Beijing 2008 Olympic Friendlies.

The Friendlies consists of five members: BeiBei, JingJing, HuanHuan, YingYing, and NiNi. The five mascots incorporate fish, giant panda, fire, Tibetan antelope, and swallow designs respectively, and each also represents one of the five Olympic Rings. When the five names are put together, they form a pun on the phrase ‘Beijing HuanYing Ni’ which means ‘Beijing Welcomes You’.


I think the 4 Canadian mascots could take the 5 Friendlies in a cage match. Don’t you?

Olympic test meet prelim results

hambue_beijing_maskot.jpgFabian Hambuchen from Germany and Daria Joura from Australia were the top all-around qualifiers. (There’s no AA competition for men, however.)

2007 “Good Luck Beijing” International Invitational
Nov. 28, Beijing

Women’s All-Around Qualification
1. Dasha Joura AUS 60.000
2. Bridget Sloan USA 59.525
3. Jiang Yuyan CHN 59.125
4. Chellsie Memmel USA 58.675
5. Pang Panpan CHN 58.400*
6. Lauren Mitchell AUS 57.600
7. Kristina Vaculik CAN 57.000
8. Zhou Zhuoru CHN 56.800*
9. Svetlana Klyukina RUS 56.800
10. Marie-Sophie Hindermann GER 56.725 …

Men’s Team Qualification
1. China 363.625
2. Japan 361.550
3. Korea 361.350

International GYMNAST Magazine Online

  • gymnastics2007.org. – official website
  • Gym Chat forum
  • GYMmedia
  • venue.jpg
    more photos

    Parenting for Greatness – Jason Selk

    Jason Selk is a licensed Psychotherapist and Sport Psychology Consultant currently working with the 2006 World Champion St Louis Cardinals and the St Louis Rams.

    He has a popular series of GymSmart videos:

  • Coaching for Greatness Part I
  • Coaching for Greatness Part II
  • Goal Setting for Greatness Part III
  • The Power of Positive Coaching
  • Working Through Fear
  • Selk’s latest title may be the best yet:

    Jason.Selk.Parenting.jpgParenting the Elite Athlete: Helping our children become happy and healthy

    Parenting by itself can be extremely challenging. Parenting in today’s world of constant activities and demands on our children can strain our parenting abilities to their maximum. In this DVD, Jason helps parents develop a system that creates balance in our lives while dealing with stress and other life problems. Parenting for Greatness is a must for any parent with a child in competitive athletics.

    Every coach knows that the odds of success double or triple if the parents are on side with the coach. Many of us could do a better job of educating our parents.

    This might be a good resource to keep on hand at the gym to loan out to parents when needed.

    It’s featured on the GymSmarts home page right now along with the latest release from Tammy Biggs: Developing Body Shapes. She’s awesome. I love how she simplifies the sport.

    UNUSUAL method of spotting Tkachev

    For a strong spotter with a small gymnast …

    And one with access to a good trench pit.

    Click PLAY or watch it on YouTube.

    Not having tried this, my gut reaction is that I like the first of the two drills. But would prefer to spot from the side on the second drill.

    More — and more conventional — Tkachev progressions:

    Click PLAY or watch it on YouTube.

    Videos posted by Almir from Bosnia and Herzegovina.

    Acrobatic gymnast Okulova suspended for doping

    A Russian acrobatic gymnast lost her World Cup final title and was banned from competition for a year after testing positive for a diuretic last spring.

    Tatiana Okulova, who won the mixed pairs title with Revaz Gurgenidze at the World Cup final in April, was suspended for 12 months after testing positive for furosemide, the International Gymnastics Federation said Tuesday.

    Furosemide also is classified as a masking agent on the World Anti-Doping Agency’s list of banned substances. …

    Acrobatic gymnast Okulova banned for doping offense – International Herald Tribune

    Another Russian acrobat, Stanislas Kotelnikov, was banned for six months for stupidity.

    He tested positive for cannabis at the World Cup final.

    new – PRINT THIS POST on Gymnastics Coaching

    coachnate had several good suggestions for improvement to this site.

    For one, he suggested a Print This Post link.

    We’ve added that atop the individual posts. Try it out if you have a printer connected. Let us know if you have any problems (via the EMAIL US link atop every page) .

    It’s an experiment — printing is often a hassle.

    Simply click the title of any post. You should see the link as in this screenshot:


    There’s no option to also print the comments, I’m afraid.

    problems with sweaty hands …

    Katrina from Westwinds Gymnastics recommends a new (golf) product called Tite-Grip:

    product-small.jpgSweaty hands and feet cause alot of problems in gymnastics. Especially on bars and beam! Whether the ‘claminess’ comes from being nervous or just working really hard, it is a distraction we all can live without.

    Excess sweat on the hands (palmar hyperhidrosis) and excess sweat on the feet (plantar hyperhidrosis) can lead to slipping off the equipment, thus creating a fear of the skill being performed rather than the root of the problem.

    For people with any degree (mild to severe) of hyperhidrosis, chalk just won’t help the situation. The chalk just mixes with the sweat to create a ‘gooey’ substance. Instead of chalk, I found a product called Tite-Grip. …

    Sweaty Hands and Feet?

    It’s very inexpensive. Less than $10 a tube.

    Tite-Grip is a non-slip antiperspirant hand lotion that dries clear and will not stain clothes.

    Official website – Tite-Grip Grip Control Formula