sports travel – “trip of a lifetime”

I’m excited for my friends from Island Gymnastics Academy in Maritime Canada who depart for Japan today. That’s half way around the world, almost 24hrs of travel.

P.E.I. gymnasts are off to Japan next week to compete and tour the country.

Visiting Japan is a trip of a lifetime for most people, but for 14 members of Island Gymnastics Academy it’s got an extra bit of spice.

Over nine days starting next week, eight boys and six girls from the 2007 Canada Winter Games training team, who work out at the Charlottetown club, compete in the world-class Moonsaulto meet in Sakata City, Japan (Nov. 24-25), train at the gym of Japanese gymnast Mitsuo Tsukahara (winner of five Olympic gold medals) and soak up the culture thanks to three days of billeting with Japanese families. …

For 16-year-old Alice Ma, it’s a chance to scope out some of the athletes before the Canada Winter Games in Whitehorse, Yukon, in February.

“I’m actually really excited. The girls will have a chance to see what we’re competing against at Canada Games,” said Ma at a recent practice.

The Guardian: Sports | Trip of a lifetime

I remember my first big trip: Germany, when I was age 16.

Sports travel is one of the best aspects of sport.

For me training camps are often even better than competitions. For years we took teams to United States Olympic Training Center and UCLA simply for training. Those were excellent, motivating trips. Coaches that have been to Tsukahara’s meet tell me it is one of the best trips available anywhere.

PEI gymnasts

video montage – I want more

The first montage put together by Gymlover (from Belgium) on YouTube is very well edited. Women’s Elite gymnastics.

It includes Produnova’s (oops) Podkopayeva’s double front half on Floor and the wonderful counter-tumbling line finishing with 1 1/2 twisting dive roll shown by 1985 World co-Champion Omelianchik.

Click PLAY or watch the video on YouTube.

(Thanks George.)

want to open your own gym?

Valerie-135.jpgI just attended an impressive gymnastics coach / athlete camp organized by Gymnastics Alberta. Women’s Technical Committee organizer Valerie Oudin was pleased with the turn-out.

It seemed everyone I spoke with at the camp agreed that the only way to move forward with coaching is for coaches to own the gym. In Canada we call this the “American model”. (Most Canadian clubs are parent-controlled, non-profit societies to avoid paying business tax.)

Though it is difficult for a business to compete against a non-profit club in terms of fees, it is possible. In fact, Valerie and her husband Michel Arsenault set up Champions Gymnastics in Edmonton. Within about a year they were already turning a profit.

They offer consulting for coaches who want to do the same thing:

Start Your Own Gym …

  • BUSINESS PLAN Template (Full template pro-forma financial forecast))
  • OPERATIONAL POLICIES Templates (29 policies)
  • REPORT CARDS & LESSON PLANS & TESTING SHEETS (For Parent-Tot; Pre-school; Recreational
  • Badge programs Templates
  • PROGRAM & ADMINISTRATIVE Templates (Approx. 80 forms)
  • Consulting work thereafter
  • Champions Gymnastics Inc. – Edmonton- Alberta- Gymnastics Club

    Leave a comment below if you know of others offering help for aspiring coach / owners.

    the world’s best hand balancing act?

    Known as the Alexis Brothers – Marco and Paulo Lorador have a slow motion pairs balancing act that has astonished audiences for decades. Many have tried to duplicate it. The brothers are currently with Cirque du Soleil’s Mystère in Vegas.

    old video clip on YouTube – Saltimbanco

    We come from Portugal but we grew up mostly in countries like Italy, Spain and France. We traveled with our parents thru Europe working in small circus. At a young age, we were fortunate to travel thru Europe and by the time we were 14 and 16 years old, we got to see all of Europe and won great awards for our performances in the biggest festival in the world. We were very lucky to be able to see and learn all the different cultures and languages. We first came in United States in 1983 to work for Ringling Brothers. It’s been now over 15 years that we work in the States and we are currently working with Cirque du Soleil since 1992.

    On a more personal subject we both like sports, all kind of sports. The only sport that we still do is soccer. We both like to train in the gym and keep in good shape since it’s a very important part of our show. We speak currently 6 languages such as French, Spanish, English, Russian, Italian and of course, Portuguese. People always ask us what is our favorite country or city we have worked. It is hard to say each country is beautiful in it’s own way, but I have to say that one of the best audience we have is in the Unites States. They seem to be louder and they are not afraid to show it.

    As for injuries, we had a few but not too threatening for our act. That is why we keep going at the gym regularly. Not only to improve our look but to keep the injuries as minimum as possible. When you do so many shows a year, you need to constantly maintain your body and your mind in good health.

    official website – Alexis Brothers – About Us

    Check their photos and videos.


    chocolate milk an ideal “recovery drink”

    chocolate.jpegI first heard this from Dr. Bill Sands. His recommendation came from research at the University of Utah.

    I now drink chocolate milk myself after strenuous exercise.

    But this was great news for coaches and parents of young athletes who can be very picky about what they eat and drink.

    …the study by the scientists from Indiana University was supported in part by the Dairy and Nutrition Council. …

    The small group of fit athletes who took part in the study were asked to work out strenuously on a stationery bicycle, then drink low-fat chocolate milk, a fluid-replacement drink like Gatorade and a carbohydrate replacement drink like Endurox R4. A few hours later, they were asked to cycle again until they reached exhaustion.

    The test was repeated three times — once with each kind of drink — and the data showed that the cyclists were able to go between 49 and 54 percent longer on the second stint after drinking chocolate milk than when they drank the carbohydrate drink. The difference between the milk and the fluid-replacement drink was not significant. …

    The milk folks tout their product as a less-costly and healthier alternative to the more traditional energy drinks.

    Study: Chocolate milk good for athletes

    Chocolate Milk: The New Sports Drink? – CBS

    horizontal bar finals – World’s 2006

    After speaking with one of the judges, Ray Heiderich, I went back to review the finals on YouTube.

    The quality of the video is surprisingly good.

    FIG still has the regulations wrong on the most spectacular men’s event. Everyone wants multiple release skills in series (like Nemov and Paul Hamm). But what we got at Worlds was mostly complex pirouettes — difficult to evaluate. And not exciting for the general public.

    I was impressed with Vlasios Maras from Greece. His Pegan (double front over the bar with 1/2 twist) was the best I’ve ever seen. (And Pegan himself was in the final.) Click PLAY or watch the video on YouTube.

    Compare his routine with:

    video – Aljaz Pegan, Slovakia

    video – Philippe Rizzo, Australia (gold medal – superb Tak 1/2, immediate Def)

    The clips narrated by Tim Daggett and Blaine Wilson come from the fantastic World’s coverage, only $4.95 for everything.

    clinic in Melbourne, Australia

    Leaps06_logo_black.gifJust got the final line-up of my presentations in Victoria, Australia, Jan. 11-14, 2007.

    I am one of the guest coaches at the huge Leaps and Bounds coach and judge education conference.

    All levels of coaches will attend though most sessions are directed towards recreation and developmental gymnastics. I am really looking forward to it.


    Now — why don’t we have huge coaching conferences like this in Canada?