free hip circle drills on bars

The standard progression is for the gymnast to jump off a box into a low free hip circle:

Click PLAY or watch it on Youtube:

Jumping from the box makes it easier to get a good “down swing” with the centre of mass as far from the bar as possible.

More advanced is John Carney’s Tower of Power drill:

Click PLAY or watch it on YouTube.

I love the “lobster” (Bungee Mat) by Tumbl Trak.

You can rig up the “Tower of Power” for yourself without an air inflated mat. But you’ll need to find a way to brace a mat up against the high bar. (I used climbing trestles one time. That worked well.)

These drills work far better, far faster, than spotting the gymnast. – watch Olympics online FREE

Great news!

… Microsoft and NBC will deliver on MSN, the official U.S. online home of the 2008 Summer Olympics in Beijing. In the first “long-tail” Olympics, online viewers will have access to more than 3,000 hours of live and on-demand content so they can watch their favorite athlete or sport, regardless of whether the sport has seven fans or 7 million. on MSN will be available free …

Press Release

On the other hand, Microsoft usually manages to screw up anything they are involved with.

Lets hope for the best.

Shawn is atop the NBC Olympics home page right now.


Bookmark this site if you want to watch Olympics on demand. Free.

NBC Olympics | Games of the XXIX Olympiad, Beijing China

(via Beijing Olympics blog)

home school gymnast in College

One of the gymnasts I coach every summer went to Community College this past Fall at age-16.

I was worried.

Home schooled for years, by mid-term it was evident that she had no problems keeping up with older, regular-schooled peers.

Now, what about former US National team member Kayla Hoffman?

She joined Alabama this season. It had been 18-months since she last competed. And she had been home schooled for a decade.

How did that work out for Kayla?


… Hoffman (5-foot-1 from Union, N.J.) earned a perfect 4.0 grade-point average in the fall in her first semester at UA after setting foot in a classroom for the first time in 10 years.

“I’ve been home schooled since the fourth grade,” she said, “plus I had a year off of school … and I was very nervous about coming here and keeping up academically. The first day I walked in the class, I was like, ‘Oh, gosh,’ there’s people. I like it a whole lot better. You get to communicate with the teachers and you’re not just staring at a computer screen.

“It was just a great plus for me when I made a 4.0. I just worked really hard at it and I overcame the nervousness about coming in after being home schooled and having a year off.”

After making a successful segway in the classroom, Hoffman will make her transition as a gymnast next Friday when sixth-ranked Alabama hosts No. 23 Illinois …

Tide’s Hoffman adjusting just fine to college life |

(via GymGemz)

great gymnastics photos – Trent Nelson

It really takes talent to capture exactly the right moment. The light, almost always, is poor in gymnastics competitions and training gyms.

Trent Nelson has got the right stuff. Click through the two links to see more of his work.

Trent Nelson is currently the Chief Photographer at the Salt Lake Tribune, where he has worked since 1995. Trent is a three-time Utah press Photographer of the Year, known for his keen observation and creative skills.

Katie Kivisto – University of Utah

Tribune Blogs — Fly on the Wall

Katie Kivisto – Salt Lake City Tribune

Coaching note: On Bars, thumbs around the bar in handstand, beside the fingers during swings. Even in the NCAA.

pommel horse on rotating wheel

I have no link to this device. And very little information.

Someone has an American patent on something like it.

Canadian coaches saw one in China. I assume this is it:

photo source unknown

Over 30 years ago I saw a similar device at University of Alberta in Edmonton. A number of coaches are talking about reintroducing the idea.

Leave a comment below if you know more.

UPDATE: I have emailed Inspire Sports. George thinks that distributor is bringing them in to North America from China.


Yup. Coach Liang Cheng from Edmonton, Canada confirms the Chinese Circle Machine is available and that 5 clubs in Canada are already using them. Good reviews, so far. If you want more information email Liang Cheng.

photos – learning facilitator training

A few pics from the pilot training course for “learning facilitators” (formerly “course conductors”) in a big revision of Canada’s NCCP (National Coaching Certification Program) Level 1 Gymnastics Foundations course.

The Canadian beginner coaching manual — in my opinion — is the best English language gymnastics book available, succinctly explaining the movement pattern approach of principle author Keith Russell.

The course has been successful for over 30 years.

Yet here are Keith and crew piloting a MAJOR revision.


The first day we spent looking at the new format of coach education in Canada. In our socialist, government managed sport system, a top down decision was made to focus on “coaching competencies” rather than “coaching knowledge”.


In future beginner coaches will start younger (age-15), know less — but be better trained to teach.

Today we reviewed the “movement patterns” common to all gymnastics sports including Rhythmic, Aerobic, Trampoline and Tumbling. We want all acrobatic coaches to have a common starting point in the new system.


More time in the new course is spent on the benefits and risks of back bridge activites. Of course we want beginners to bridge with the feet elevated to put more weight on the upper back and shoulders. Less on the lower back.


This partner bridge is included in the new manual. Somewhat controversial, but still recommended for those physically ready. UPDATE: Keith has decided to remove this skill from the manual simply to avoid a slow down in the course. It’s still a good activity. I will use it.

Many in Canada are taking a “wait and see” attitude with the new system. It’s still being fine tuned. The first official courses are scheduled for the Fall of 2008.

more information on this course – Gymnastics Coaching » Blog Archive » learning facilitator training – Canada

blood in the gym – what do we do?

Recently a group of coaches discussed how to deal with blood and other bodily fluids in the gym.


The price we pay – Flickr

There is some small risk to others.

Most of the coaches felt that a senior first aid responder should clear the area, put on protective gloves and thoroughly disinfect the affected equipment.

I’ve heard stories of even stricter policies and procedures in the USA.

Other gyms are less cautious in how they deal with blood, for example.

Leave a comment if you have an opinion on this issue.

12 gymnasts to watch in 2008

A good listing of potential super stories if not necessarily superstars for the Beijing Olympics from Blythe at Gymblog:

Shawn Johnson, USA

Beth Tweddle, Great Britain

Jiang Yuyuan, China

Aisha Gerber, Canada

Vanessa Ferrari, Italy

Daria Joura, Australia

Hong Su Jong, Korea

Anna Pavlova, Russia

Bridget Sloan, USA

Cerasela Patrascu, Romania

Yulia Lozhechko, Russia

Oksana Chusovitina, Germany

Click through to see photos or videos of each. And reasons why they are athletes to watch this year:

Women’s artistic gymnastics: 12 to watch in ‘08 « The Gymblog


Or to add name gymnasts you’d like added to the list.


Jade Barbosa

gymnastics – sprinkler dance

Coach Dan Niehaus has gone to a better place … (Cirque du Soleil. He’s Head Coach of LOVE in Vegas.)

But his legacy lives on in the form of the Sprinkler Dance.

History remembers that Dan invented this gymnastics warm-up game. It’s traveled all around the world.

To see kids pretending to be sprinklers at Island Gymnastics Academy in PEI, Canada click PLAY or watch it on YouTube.

That’s Kelly Thompson from SFX University leading the fun.

Thanks Patrick Carmichael for posting the clip.