gymnastics coach Vladislav Rastorotsky

Jenn Isbister of recommended the page of historical articles on

I am working my way through them now. Here’s a sample, from a 1981 article on coach Vladislav Rastorotsky.

I saw him live at a competition once — big, gruff. A brute of a man. The last person I would call a “great coach”.

Yet he trained Turishcheva, Shaposhnikova, Yurchenko and others. He must have been a genius in his time.

I’ve always been fascinated by the guy.

A Real Coaching Talent

Soviet Life, October 1985

… What is the basis for Rastorotsky’s long-lasting success? According to his wife, the closest person to him: “Vladislav loves children more than anything else in the world.” His right-hand man, assistant coach Gennday Malayev says: “He takes his time in whatever he’s doing. Today too many people are in a hurry, but not him.” Another assistant Elena Rylkova says: “Everyone of his workouts is a heated competition.” Overall world champion Natalya Yurchenko says: “He has faith in us like no other coach has faith in his athletes, and we also believe in him.”

He must have been a great motivator. A master of the psychology of the gym.

Rastorotsky was a story teller. I liked this one:

… Coaches usually try to make use of every minute of practice time. But not Rastorotsky. Suddenly he calls the girls into a huddle and begins to tell them a story: “It was at the Youth Festival in Berlin. Everybody, including me, was running a cross-country race. I finished last. Lyudmila Turishcheva came in first. One of our runners, a sprinter, came up to me and asked: ‘Vladislav, did Lyudmila ever train as a runner?’ I told him no. He couldn’t believe what he heard. ‘You’re lying!’ he said. ‘I’m a champion, and she’s beaten me!’ You see, girls, the character she had. She couldn’t lose in anything ever!

Gymn Forum: Soviet Life – Rastorotsky

Check out the entire list of Gymn-Forum articles.

Leave a comment if you whatever happened to Rastorotsky. I’d love a photo, as well.

David Belle on Parkour

Scott Bird linked to a free running video with a difference. A personal look into the life of a legend. He still lives at home with his Mom, unable to make a living from the activity he popularized.

Via Parkour Videos : A great 10 minute TV report [.avi, 45mb] featuring David Belle explaining the ideas and history behind Parkour. In French, with English subtitles.

Click PLAY or watch it on Google Video.

I saw it here – Straight to the Bar: David Belle explaining Parkour

gymnastics for your developing preschooler

Superb article on the benefits of our sport.

Originally posted in American Fitness, May-June 2004 by Myrna Beth Haskell.

Most experts agree that motor skills, listening, following directions and increased attention span are important faculties your child should develop in order to be successful in kindergarten. If you want your child to develop a variety of physical and social skills without having to enroll him or her in several activities, gymnastics is an excellent choice.

Many sports teach commitment, dedication and time management. However, gymnastics, because of the complex skill progression and vast number of physical techniques required to master elements on different events, teaches more perseverance, patience and discipline than most other physical activities. When a child participates in a gymnastics class, he or she develops a variety of motor skills (e.g., speed, strength and agility) while learning balance and grace. A student must also develop acute listening skills in order to transform verbal instructions into complex, physical movements.

The balance beam event, in particular, teaches students to focus and concentrate for extended periods of time. Gymnasts tend to do well in school because they utilize this ability while studying. …

Funtastics, Idaho

read the whole article – Tumbling tots: gymnastics is a great sport your developing preschooler American Fitness – Find Articles

It may be worth printing this and posting it at your gym. Or excerpting a section for your parent newsletter. It’s very well written.

Myrna Beth Haskell
is a former Level 10 judge, choreographer and athlete. She had a daughter in recreational gymnastics.

Gaylord 2 on bars

Gaylord 2, Geinger, Pak, Tkachev. Some new Chinese up-and-comer?

Nope, Zhou Duan competing at the 1997 East Asian Games. That’s 10yrs ago.

Did she compete it first?

Click PLAY or watch it on YouTube.

Linked from (profanity warning). That guy has excellent taste.

Chelsea Otto competed Gaylord 2 in 1999.

We’re still waiting for the first Kovacs in competition from a woman.

huge gymnastics meets 2008: Beijing and Athens

The Beijing Olympics. And NCAA Championships in Athens, Georgia.

I’d love to go to both. But expecting only to get to Athens. It just might be the more thrilling of the two.

The best gymnastics writer working today by far is Dwight Normile, editor of International Gymnast magazine.

His Women’s NCAA Preview article is perfect:

Suzanne Yoculan’s Gym Dogs are the team to beat, whether she likes it or not

Courtney Kupets and Suzanne Yoculan

Though the women’s preseason rankings are not yet out, Georgia is considered the favorite at the NCAA Championships next April. It has to be. The Gym Dogs have won the last three titles, they will play host to the 2008 NCAAs in Athens, they lost no routines from last season’s Super Six Final and they just began training this year in a new, state-of-the-art facility named after their coach, Suzanne Yoculan, who will retire after the 2009 season.

That’s a lot of upside for one program, but Yoculan knows that a ninth team title, which would tie Utah for the record, is far from a done deal. She says that in 1997 she had her “best team ever” but lost the meet because of mistakes. “I saw how our team reacted to that,” Yoculan explains.

Yoculan … won’t feel too relaxed at home. “I’m not crazy about hosting if we’re No. 1,” she says. “There are some high expectations for us on campus. (The pressure) is constant.”

Read the entire article on International Gymnast.

great idea – Gymnastics Intensive

Twyla Ryan organized a terrific coach education course in July 2007. It was a first, but hopefully not the last.

Twyla called it a “Coaching Intensive”.

She combined a number of Canadian coach education courses into one package: Level 1 Technical, Level 1 Theory, First Aid, etc. New candidates could get everything they needed to start coaching after that one intensive course.

Some coaches opted into some sections, and out of others, as needed.

It was hosted by Phoenix Gymnastics in Vancouver, Canada.


Twyla hopes to organize another, even more intensive, package of courses late June, early July, 2008.

Contact Gymnastics BC for more information.

more coaches should start blogs

Valentin just started a new blog for The Gym Press.

I wish more coaches would do the same. Acrobatic coaches are much unrepresented in the blogosphere.

Gymnastics Coaching is BIG PICTURE. All things to all people. Most blogs are narrow focus. One club. One athlete. One coach. The narrower, the better, usually. Those have fewer readers, but readers who are very engaged.

If you’ve considered it, check a new tutorial on how blogs work:

WordPress is better than Blogger, in my opinion, though the two are similar. (This site is on WordPress.) Both are free.

There are so few acrobatic coaching blogs now that I can guarantee you will have readers.