stay off the “pommels” as long as possible

Ivan.jpgLast time I took Canadian boys to a U.S. competition I was reminded of the biggest problem with the American development program — they push young boys on to the F.I.G. pommel horse too soon.

Forcing kids who cannot do excellent circles to do routines on the Olympic horse ruins technique. At that meet — Peter Vidmar 2004 (photos) — every coach I spoke with agreed. As did the judge on pommels.

I know because I forced the issue by taking the pommels off the horse. The Canadian boys looked great — but scored 0.0 — as we had been informed in advance.

We learned from the Chinese in the 1970s to delay the start of high pommel training for as long as possible. When will the USA catch up?

Also, I’m concerned about injuries on pommel horse. The falls are much more dangerous than they look. If I have extra mats, I use them on pommels.

photo – 16-year-old Ivan Bulyha

Adam Ondra – world class rock climber

Gymnastics is a youth sport. We know athletes can get fantastically good at a young age.

That’s not the norm in most other sports.

But check-out this kid from the Czech republic. Adam Ondra, now age 13, some rank as high as 3rd as a SENIOR. His background is recreational gymnastics.

Does it exist any other sport where an 11-year-old can be part of the world’s Top-10 list? Probably, the closest you get is gymnastics . …

Adam Ondra –


(via Geared Up Blog)

why we should ALL do adult gymnastics

An article from Roger Harrell, editor of lists the benefits of gymnastics as a fitness activity for adults.

But there is a downside:

A few points that must be considered when starting gymnastics as an adult. First is that it is difficult. Adults have few if any advantages over a five year old child starting this sport, and many disadvantages. Adults will start out with basic skills, and must be patient in learning new skills. One of the biggest hindrances I’ve seen in coaching adult gymnastics is that many adults are embarrassed watching 9 year old kids that are significantly better than them at the sport. …. read more

(via Altadore Weightlifting and Fitness Club)

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