photos – Great West Gym Fest 2007

gwgftextlogo.gifI was so busy at the Great West Gym Fest that I took very few photos (flickr). And those few were not particularly good.

But if there is a better gymnastics competition hosted anywhere — I have never heard of it. This competition is excellent! They do more to make kids happy than any other event I’ve ever seen.

Close to 1600 gymnasts, a couple of hundred wooden bears — and even a few moose attended this year. It’s hosted out of one of the best hotels in the States, the gorgeous Coeur d’Alene Resort.


Funtastics Gymnastics Head Coach David Adlard runs the meet. Teams fly into Spokane airport.

Another venue was added for 2007 with a gigantic flag backdrop. I loved that it was the compulsory girls who got to compete on the stage podium, not the optional kids. What a thrill for them.


More information can be found on the Funtastics GWGF page.

Results are posted on

Links to Gymnastics

David Pendrys has a great site called “Links To Gymnastics” which references what is available out on the web.

It will take me some time to run through the hundreds of links he has identified so far.

Gymnastics can be powerful, beautiful, and acrobatic, sometimes all three at once, but the great sport of gymnastics has traditionally not received as much attention as other sports. Thus it is sometimes harder to locate sites dedicated to the various disciplines.

This site is designed to provide gymnastics fans with links to sites across the web and make it easier for those who are interested in the sport to enjoy and learn from the sites out there.

Links to Gymnastics


video – rings 1938

The best of the “early” gymnastics movies was produced by Leni Riefenstahl (whose most famous works are documentary propaganda films for the German Nazi Party).

Her 1938 video — Men’s Gymnastics — is very high quality. And the gymnastics performed even better!

Click PLAY or watch the very short sample clip of inverted cross to iron cross on Youtube.

Download the full 8min video for free.

Hamms announce comeback

To my surprise, Olympic Champion Paul Hamm came through with the big announcement and a dedicated website:

Morgan and I are nearly finished with our undergraduate degrees at The Ohio State University. Morgan will complete his degree in Exercise Science in March. I will finish my degree in Accounting in June. Then it is 100%, full-time gymnastics again.

official website –


Read more on International Gymnast.

USA – level 5 vault (women)

UPDATE – Check the passionate, insightful COMMENTS on this post.

I’m posting this from the Great West Gym Fest, one of the biggest American gymnastics competitions.

Well over 1600 athletes compete over 4 days (video link).

Level 4 girls vault up on to mats landing “flat back”. An excellent developmental drill, most do it quite well. At this meet, AAI equipment was used. Level 4 vaulted on to the “Level 4 Vault System” mats.

Level 4 Vault System from Spalding
Level 4 Vault System from Spalding (AAI)

Level 6 girls do a required handspring vault over the standard vault table. Many are excellent!

But Level 5 girls vault is problematic. Of well over 100 girls I watched, only a small percentage did good vaults. Many had a piked body position on preflight. Many had poor arm action off the board. Dozens barely cleared the vault table.

It was clear to me that Level 5 should not compete a handspring vault over a table.

PROPOSAL: Level 5 girls vault over a stack of mats, landing on their feet. This would be the best transition between Levels 4 and 6.

In competition the “Level 4 Vault System” mats would be turned sideways. Girls would have to clear those mats.

Leave a comment below if you have an opinion on this proposal.

Jim Tighe, coach and equipment rep., likes the idea. But he suggested even Level 4s vault over the mats rather than landing flat back.

What do YOU think?

teaching “regrasp” on a bar

Most coaches spend far too little time teaching the skill of “regrasp”.

How gymnasts “catch” a bar is far more complicated than you might think.

Gymnasts with hand guards often contact the bar first with the wrist then slide or bounce down the bar until the hands are in the correct position. (This is one of the main reasons I prefer female gymnasts to delay starting to use hand guards as long as possible.)

Many experienced gymnasts catch “too close” with bent arms to be sure they do not miss the regrasp. It’s essential to straighten the arms before swinging through the bottom.

regrasping too close and in the wrong body position


1) Jump from a distance and “slap” the bar.

2) Jump from a distance and “regrasp” the bar. Then push away. (This is the most important drill.)

3) Jump from a distance and “regrasp” the bar. Swing through.

Make a game of these drills awarding points for successful attempts. Body position on regrasp must be correct (stretched hollow) for a down swing.

Of course either “missing” the bar or “catching and then slipping” is very dangerous.

purchasing an “air floor” – Tumbltrak

If you read this blog regularly you know I am a big fan of Tumbltrak and Doug Davis, their widely travelled President.

more-reps.jpgNo one is selling more innovative gymnastics equipment than Doug.

For example, I toured Australia with one of Tumbltrak’s excellent “air floors“. It was very well received.

Check out the excellent TumblTrak website.

Want a price on the air floor? Email TumblTrak at — ask for a total including shipping and possibly tax and duty (depending where you live).

Tips For Gymnasts – back walkover (Gymbrooke) has a great page called:

Helpful Hints and Tips For All Gymnasts

It offers advice for gymnasts and parents on Floor, Beam, Bars, Conditioning and more.

For example, here is an excerpt from the backwalkover on beam page:


If there’s one skill on the beam that frustrates intermediate gymnasts the most, it has to be the back walkover. How many times in practice have you gotten your hands on the beam, only to realize you’re slightly off and end up having to bail out? Probably too many.

The first and most important thing to remember, whether you’re just starting to learn this skill, or if you’ve been doing it for a while, is that your alignment with the beam has to be perfect. There are no if’s, and’s, or but’s about it.

Beam: Back Walkovers –

See the rest of the tip topics: Helpful Hints and Tips For All Gymnasts.