welcome David Kenwright

Passionate, dedicated, serious, focused, David Kenwright is a model elite women’s gymnastics coach. He feels the coach / athlete relationship can be as sacred as the parent / athlete relationship — the kids trust you with their lives.

Originally from Manchester, England, David had long been a fixture in Vancouver, British Colombia. His recent move to my town, icy Calgary, Alberta, is a big leap.

I want to welcome David. His influence will be felt throughout our region, but most strongly at his new club, Calgary Gymnastics Centre. (Home gym of Adam Wong.)

David can be a harsh critic of inefficiencies in our amateur sport system and does not suffer fools gladly. If he could change only one thing in the Canadian model — it would be to add compulsories.

I appreciate David’s candour. With a wealth of international coaching experience, twice Olympic Coach, he knows of what he speaks. He is coach to Kate Richardson, Canada’s best ever Canadian female gymnast.


I enjoyed David’s recent bars clinic for age group gymnasts. Key points included:

  • emphasize straight arms even with developmental gymnasts
  • be very cautious and exacting when teaching flyaway
  • he feels flexibility is only about 15% trainable
  • be demanding on correct body position (“shaping”)
  • core body conditioning is critical
  • gymnastics is a dangerous activity (read the warning labels on the equipment)
  • I am pleasantly surprised that a philosopher coach like David Kenwright, who sees the big picture, still chooses to coach high performance gymnastics — a monumental, under-respected challenge. I wish him all the best. Everyone in our Province will benefit from his example.

    For a sample of David’s coaching style, I edited video clips from his presentation on introducing backward giant swing. Of course he teaches it on a men’s bar with safety straps. Emphasis on shortening the body on the upswing to the “candle position”.

    Click PLAY or watch the video on YouTube.

    making gymnastics more FUN

    Joe Coiffe (not Coffee) spends a lot of time prepping the gym for gymnastics birthday parties.

    His birthday circuit is amazing.

    Do you want to celebrate your next birthday at Calgary Gymnastics Centre.

    my favourite – an “elephant” mat

    manic Joe Coiffe

    more gymnastics FUN photos


    Joe has a kindred spirit in Santa Monica, California. Check this video fly-through of one of their birthday party obstacle courses.

    I had this vision from the camera’s perspective of swooping around through the birthday obstacle course like I was going through the trenches of the Death Star in my X-Wing fighter … The Special Edition has extended credits, and the addition of soundclips from Star Wars….I think the closing credits may be longer than the actual video footage.

    Gymnast Crossing: “Birthday Wars”- Special Edition

    Cirque du Success

    Perhaps the best article I’ve yet read on Cirque du Soleil.

    Pulled from a scouting database of about 20,000 acts from around the globe, the bulk of Cirque’s 900 “artists” arrive as acrobats and gymnasts, including many former Olympians from the Russian and Ukrainian teams. The recruits spend their first months learning everything from how to apply their own makeup to the fine art of clowning on stage. Those who make the final cut are then paraded through Cirque’s vast costume, shoemaking, hat-making, and props workshops, where each is sized up and outfitted from head to toe in exotic garb cut from more than 10 miles of fabric used each year, much of it dyed and printed on the premises. …

    USNews.com: Behind the Scenes at Today’s Hottest Live Entertainment Act

    skateboard movie – Lords of Dogtown

    Finally saw the critically acclaimed film Lords of Dogtown documenting the beginnings of vertical skating.

    The movie reminded me of Almost Famous. It is very well done. I loved the soundtrack. I am the same age as writer / skater Stacy Peralta.

    Lords of Dogtown is a 2005 film directed by Catherine Hardwicke … based on the story of “The Z-Boys”, an influential group of skateboarders who revolutionized the sport. …

    Tagline : “They came from nothing to change everything.”

    In the 1970’s, a group of teen surfers from a rough neighborhood known as “Dogtown” in Venice, California, created a cultural revolution by transforming skateboarding from a recreational activity into an extreme sport. …

    Known as the Zephyr Skateboard Team, the boys transferred their surf skills to drain pipes and empty swimming pools with stunning results. Their acrobatic manoeuvres inspired generations of teens and catapulted them to fame and fortune.

    Lords of Dogtown – Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

    Lords of Dogtown - Unrated Extended Cut

    Now I need download Dogtown and Z-boys, the documentary narrated by Sean Penn and directed by Stacy Peralta.

    500 adult gymnasts – Chelsea Piers, NYC


    This is awesome.

    With a membership of over 500 adults, Chelsea Piers boasts the largest adult gymnastics program in the world. Classes are offered for all levels from first-timers to seasoned pros. Our experienced staff is specially trained in adult gymnastics coaching, safety, and spotting techniques. Our 25,000 square foot gymnasium is equipped with state-of-the-art gymnastics equipment including all Olympic men’s and women’s events, in ground trampolines and foamed filled safety pits. Beginner to elite level classes are offered year round.

    Adult Gymnastics – The Field House at Chelsea Piers – New York City – NYC


    gymnastics demos – are they worth it?

    When I was a kid we did dozens of displays every year. Football games, shopping malls, anywhere that would let us set up equipment.

    I loved them. Especially the tramp and mini-tramp shows.

    Later, as a coach, I began to tire of transporting the equipment. Bemoan the wear and tear on the equipment. Finally — I decided to exit the world of gymnastics displays.

    We still sent club kids to demo. But usually the precompetitive “cute” kids with young coaches and simple, safe equipment.

    In 2006 I feel that gymnastics displays are not the best way to build membership. “Bring a Friend Day” works better.

    But if you do choose to do displays, at least do something original.

    Setting up a Tumbl Trak makes for a brilliant show. Safety straps on a horizontal bar even better.

    former World Championships competitor Rhett Stinson

    Taiso Gymnastics in Saskatoon, Canada even set up rings in a public park.


    Somebody has to fix the sign atop the ring tower.

    More photos of this 2002 gymnastics display – Warren Long

    Powertrack tumbling trampoline – purchased!

    After months of consideration, the fitness club at Altadore Gymnastics has custom ordered a Powertrack from Dave Ross at Rebound Products in Toronto.

    I was personally convinced after testing a Powertrack at Cirque du Soleil in Montreal.

    This is by far the most expensive tumbling trampoline we could find — C$15,000 including shipping for 40ft — but I’m convinced it is worth the big bucks.

    Dave Ross is the leader in trampoline design these days, recognized around the world.

    Though Rebound Products is expanding their production facilities, we don’t expect to receive our Powertrack until January. Build-to-order equipment takes time.


    Beth Tweddle – world champion on Bars

    beth.jpgI was cheering Beth Tweddle at Worlds.

    She is a HUGE star in the UK, nominated for the BBC’s Sports Personality of the Year … in a meagre year. Good luck!

    Here’s an excellent interview where Beth talks boyfriends, Uni, travel, training 36-hrs-a week and her history of ankle injury.

    Tweddle reveals the scars that made her a world beater – Guardian