TumblTrak “air floor” tours Australia

TumblTrak sent me one of their fantastic new “air floors” and I toured Australia with it for 3 weeks.

Needless to say the air floor was VERY well received by the Australian coaches.

It is great for elite gymnasts who need to do many repetitions of difficult tumbling lines. (More reps, less stress.)

But the air floor was even more attractive to clubs in Australia that do not have permanent gyms. This mat can be inflated and deflated quickly for storage.

More information on the air floor.

air floor in use at W.A.I.S. (Western Australia Institute of Sport)

Men’s Rhythmic Gymnastics

I saw men’s synchronized gymnastics teams from Japan in the 1970s. These were Artistic gymnasts doing simultaneous floor exercise routines.

And they were the highlight of the Gymnastrada events I attended back then.

On November 27-29 2003 five countries from two continents participated in the 1st Men’s RG World Championship – Japan, Korea, Malaysia, Canada and USA. The latest World Championship included Russia, Korea, Malaysia, Canada, USA, Mexico, and Australia.

The sport is growing. How far it can go remains to be seen.

Men’s rhythmic gymnastics is related to both Men’s Artistic Gymnastics, Wushu martial arts, and Women’s Rhythmic Gymnastics and emerged in Japan from stick gymnastics taught and performed since long ago with the aim of improving physical strength and health.

The technical rules of this version of the gymnastics came around 1970s. Only four apparatus are used: the rings, the stick, the rope, and the clubs. Athletes are judged on the some of the same physical abilities and skills as their female counterparts such as hand/body-eye co-ordination, but tumbling, strength, power, and martial arts skills are the main focus, as opposed to flexibility and dance of women’s rhythmic gymnastics. The sport has a growing number of participants, competing solo and on a team, and is most popular in Asia, especially in Japan where high school and university teams compete fiercely.

While the routines that have been performed so far by male single competitors and teams more or less look like slight variations of or synchronized floor exercises in the more traditional men’s artistic gymnastics, Ruben Orihuela from Spain has literally re-created all the physically demanding moves and routines that had been reserved for or accomplished by only females before him, and he has also demonstrated the unusual prowess of super physical flexibility that had been seen only in female rhythmic gymnasts.

Men’s rhythmic gymnastics – wikipedia

Ruben Orihuela – videos


source – EliteRG.com

vaulting up on to a trampoline

Back in the day we vaulted once a week up on to mats on a trampoline at Taiso Gymnastics in Saskatoon. The landing surface is excellent due to the “give” of the tramp.

In Australia this is very popular. Many of the top gyms have it as a SAFE permanent station.

Using an old, used trampoline as a base for the landing mats is much less expensive, as well.




Australia 2007 – landing and falling

Gymnastics is the best sport for children.

The greatest benefit of all is teaching kids to climb, land and fall SAFELY.

For many parents this is the reason they first enrol a child in our programs.

Rick McCharles led a session on how best to integrate landing and falling activities.

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

More information on recreational gymnastics.

have more FUN in the gym

Of the dozens of different topics I presented in Australia, my favourite was a session on FUN.

We looked at many different “categories” of fun activities in the gym, then went out and “gave it a go”. Coaches and kids were asked to invent new FUN activities.

If athletes and coaches have fun, they will get fitter and be more productive.

Here’s the PowerPoint presentation from that session.

Click PLAY or watch the short video on YouTube.

Australia 2007 – recreation boys gymnastics

Rick McCharles (many years ago) built the Altadore Gymnastics MAG program to over 400 boys.

Over the past 30 years that club has produced a number of international competitors and even an Olympic Champion — Kyle Shewfelt, Floor Exercise 2004.

But many clubs find offering boys recreational classes problematic. Discipline is a concern. Safety a concern. It is difficult to keep coaches.

Yet Rick feels it is quite possible to sign up one boy for every 3 girls in gymnastics classes. And that MAG boys greatly contribute to the overall health of a WAG program.

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

More information on recreational gymnastics.

Aerial Sports – Australia

The Aussie High Performance Training Centre SASI — the South Australian Sports Institute — is situated in Adelaide, Australia.

It’s clean, quiet, peaceful. An ideal training environment.

The facility can be accessed by all acrobatic sports though the primary users are trampoline and diving.


That’s Ji Wallace, the 2000 Olympics silver medalist on trampoline.

Ji at one point retired from trampoline to pursue aerial skiing, then returned to trampoline to train for the 2008 Summer Olympics in Bejing.

More photos.

Australia 2007 – horizontal bar

Rick McCharles presented an overview of his approach coaching horizontal bar.

He feels many MAG athletes underachieve on this apparatus.

A big theme of his session was safety. Using a variety of equipment. Spotting as little as possible by using progressions instead.

Rick very much uses “loops” (horizontal bar safety straps) to speed learning, improve technique and greatly improve safety.

Click PLAY to see Rick’s PowerPoint presentation notes or watch it on YouTube.

More information on horizontal bar and asymmetric bars.

the “safest” shape for a trampoline is …

… a rectangle.

The distance from the centre to ANY edge on a round trampoline is — on average — greater. But the likelihood of falling is greatest in only one direction: in line with the trampolinist.

In Sundance’s opinion, the rectangle is the safest design because of the physics involved …

The springs criss-cross each other to create an even bounce over most of the trampoline mat’s surface. There is little pressure to throw a person off-balance when they move away from the center. The bounce is much softer, better and more controlled because the springs in the center of the rails stretch more than the springs at the end of the rails resulting in more vertical travel.

The rectangular design requires much heavier and stronger materials because the stress is mostly on the center portion of the rails, therefore the greater cost to build. However, since it is built much stronger, the life of a rectangular trampoline is much longer. Note that circular trampolines are never used in trampoline competitions.


Sundance trampolines


RSG.net – Rhythmic Gymnastics

RSG.jpgKate Johnson, Gymnastics South Australia High Performance Centre Rhythmics coach, recommends the RSG.net website.

Published in English and German, it has athlete information, photos, event results, rules, and much more.

Like Artistic Gymnastics, FIG changed the scoring system so that the perfect 10 is gone. It was changed to a 30-point scale in 2003 and in 2005 was changed to 20. There is much to learn about Rhythmic.

Try one of the RSG.net forums if you want to connect with other Rhythmic enthusiasts worldwide.

I’ve added the site to our right hand navigation links under Rhythmic.