Australia 2007 – intermediate tumbling

Once the “basics” are “good” … (For Rick McCharles “good” means reasonable form and line. And that the gymnast can keep the feet together on backward handsprings and round-off.) … we can begin to connect skills.

More valuable than back tuck salto is “whip back”.

More valuable than front tuck salto is “whip front”.

Rick asks all first year optional gymnasts to compete at minimum whip front (rather than front tuck) and whip back with half twist (rather than back tuck, pike or layout).

The whip front is learned progressing from flyspring, to 1-arm-flyspring, to no-arm-flyspring.

All advanced tumbling sequences should be learned on soft mats atop the tumbling strip or on trampoline devices.

Click PLAY to see his PowerPoint presentation or watch it on YouTube.

More information on tumbling.

air-floor-gymnast-holding.jpgMany of the coaches were interested in the new inflatable tumbling mats available from the USA.

Australia 2007 – computers for coaches

Rick McCharles edits this website for coaches of acrobatic sports. He wants to be a starting point for coaches looking for specific information on topics of interest.

For example, we had a request for information on “club management software”. Rick will research the current options and post that information here when he gets it.

Click PLAY to see his PowerPoint presentation or watch it on YouTube.

The future of coaching, Rick feels, will be video tutorials. For example, coaches are already taking laptops into the gym to better explain the task for the day.

Click PLAY to see an example or watch it on YouTube.

Australia 2007 – trampoline for gymnasts

Rick McCharles presented an overview of the issues facing gymnastics coaches who want to use trampolines and trampoline-like equipment.

He feels trampolines are ideal for fun, fitness and fundamentals. But cautions that the general public perceives trampolines as dangerous — and that very “spring” surfaces can be dangerous when not properly supervised.

Gymnastics coaches should bring in trampoline specialists to help design safe training programs.

To see Rick’s presentation notes click PLAY or watch them on YouTube.

More information on trampoline.

Australia 2007 – tumbling and vaulting

Rick McCharles uses similar drills for tumbling and vaulting.

For example, we can teach a Handspring vault using “Flyspring” tumbling drills.

He led an in-gym session explaining some of his favourite drills: high reps, low stress. Fun, easy and requiring a minimum of spotting.

To see Rick’s PowerPoint Presentation click PLAY or watch them on YouTube.

More information on tumbling.

More information on vaulting.

trampoline into foam pit

Popular in Australia are in-ground trampolines with pit access, many of which have no metal frame on the pit side.

Melbourne, Victoria

At first glance, this looks fantastic. There is now no risk of injury landing on the frame of the tramp while somersaulting into the pit.

But Aussie coaches informed me of a downside.

Since the pit side of the tramp is NOT supported, the bed is SOFT on the pit edge.

All things considered — I still prefer this pit trampoline (made by Acromat over a trampoline with a frame.


Australia 2007 – bar drills

Rick McCharles presented an in-gym coaching session of some of his favourite drills for girls bars and boys horizontal bar.

The objective is to find drills that work, are fun, are safe, and do not required much “spotting”.

To see Rick’s PowerPoint presentation click PLAY or watch them on YouTube.

More information on bars.

More information on horizontal bar.

video – “Complete Recreational Gymnastics”

I am happy to recommend (almost certainly) the best video resource for recreational coaches available.

It is called Complete Recreational Gymnastics, a huge collection (2hrs 43min!) of over 550 skills and drills for coaching girls gymnastics.

Quality is excellent, produced by coach Charles Minster, an expert video editor.

His co-author for this video is Tasmanian coach Mark Moncur from Kingborough Gymnastics.

Games and activities are easy to understand, even for young children.

The resource looks expensive at AUS$120 until you consider that other companies would have sold it as six 30min videos. (I find it far more convenient to have everything on one disk.)

View details and see video samples on-line: Complete Recreational Gymnastics. (PAL format)

This DVD is also available in the NTSC format from 10.0 for US$99.


Charles Minster has another video highlighting the coaching philosophy of world expert Colin Still from the UK. (This video is 4hrs 33min! featuring 395 skills and drills!)

And I will soon be reporting more DVDs. Charles is currently in the UK shooting more footage. Minster Productions will be permanently linked under VIDEOS in the right hand navigation column.

Will we see this fantastic content available on-line, as well?

Australian Youth Olympic Festival 2007

Congratulations to the British Artistic teams who both finished third ahead of host Australia.

I was not surprised to hear that Louis Smith was a star of AYOF Gymnastics 2007.

China topped the gymnastics medal tally with 11 gold. The women’s artistic team cleaned up the gold in all four apparatus finals.

Emma Dennis and Mary-Anne Monckton were the most impressive gymnasts from Australia, taking out the silver on vault and floor respectively.

Australia was unfortunate to miss out on medaling in the team events of the artistic gymnastics, placing fourth in both men’s and women’s.

In the men’s artistic competition Great Britain proved they have the potential to compete at the same level as China and Japan. Louis Smith claimed Great Britain’s first gold on the pommel horse.

He also won silver in the artistic all-around and an unexpected bronze on the high bar.

The British team scooped up bronze in both men’s and women’s artistic team events. Britain’s team manager, Vince Walduck said “It’s been a wonderful experience. Thanks for the invitation. The competition has had a great intense international feel but with a human touch that is so important to these young elite athletes.”

Australian Youth Olympic Festival 2007 – AOC


competitive gymnastics costs too much

I subscribe to Tom Burgdorf’s Parenting An Athlete Newsletter. Good advice, delivered by email.

You can sign up to get Tom’s Parenting Newsletter from the Gymnastics Business Newsletter page. It’s free.

dollar1.jpegTom feels the price levied to compete is getting too high. I agree.

How does cost in your region compare with Tom’s hypothetical USA gym club?

The $5650 Commitment

12 months of team gymnastics, Level 5 gymnast – $180 a month = $2160.

Leotard and warm ups = $100.

4 Local meets a year = $250 in total family expenses.

2 travel meets within the state with overnight accommodations needed = $600 for a family.

1 big meet trip with air fare = $1000 with 1 parent going.

Gas to the gym for a year = $500.

Team goes to a summer camp together = $800

6 private lessons during the year = $240

Total commitment = $5650

… My question is, can we have team and cut back anywhere above and still offer a terrific team program? Sometimes I feel like we add and add and add to the team commitment with hours and costs without keeping an eye on our community and the expenses for a family. We will lose some very nice kids because of the costs if we are not careful.