Jokes to Play in your Gymnastics Club Today.

Happy April Fools Day.


I spend a great deal of time writing and coming up with serious things to post at Gym Momentum. Today we will depart from that. Life is too short not to have a little fun.

Those who know me in the gym know that I enjoy a good practical joke. I’ve been known to play a few as well.

Share your best Practical Joke and I will hook you up with a prize.

BEST PRACTICAL JOKES I”VE PLAYED. (my apologies to my children as they are often on the receiving end)

When the kids were younger I switched their beds while they were sleeping. Putting my son in my daughters’ room and visa-versa.

Used GREEN Hair spray and colored the kids hair while they were sleeping.

Had all the forms for my children to be legally named Rutabaga and Monkey Butt

Had our daughter convinced that she had an older sister we put in a convent. (This went on for 3 years)

Replaced Vanilla yogurt with mayonnaise

Filled a piñata with guacamole (the looks on their faces when it started oozing after they hit it was AWESOME)

Another time my wife and I pretended that THEY were invisible. (That may have crossed the line. They were 3 and 6 and my son cried).

As they have grown their revenge has been sweet and deserved. They replaced my deodorant with Cream Cheese and the best/ worst was when they scraped out the filling from Oreo’s (my favorite cookie) and replaced it with tooth paste.

Jokes I have played on my Neighbor

I was asked to take care of my neighbors cat. I sprinkled POP ROCKS in the cat litter box.

(same neighbor) Was gone for 3 months. I was helping his wife walk his dog. Every time I went over I would get a dog treat and say “Tim’s an A** Hole” and give the dog a treat and then take him for a walk. After 3 months All you had to do was say “Tim’s an A** Hole” and the dog would go NUTS.

Spur of the moment- I have a friend who is a cop. He stopped by to drop off some tickets to baseball game. One of my employees asked why I was talking to Cop. I said, “It appears you have a stalker. We will talk about it later. You probably need a lawyer”

Things I’ve done in the gym.

Replace the Windex with Blue Gatorade and drink it in front of kids. (Works well as long as you remember WHICH bottle you’ve filled)

I had a number of gymnasts that instead of spraying their grips would spray the water bottle in their mouth and then spit in their grips. A little SOAP in the water bottle does the trick. They no longer do that!

One that involves team work and acting- Threw one of the best (and nicest) kids out of the gym for not putting her grips on fast enough. She and I thought it was pretty funny!

A very realistic stuffed rat works great to get the kids out of the pit fast.

A few Balloons in a vaulting board that POP when the first kid hits the board.

A “woopie cushion” under a sting mat.

Go into the locker room and tie everyones shoes together

A little bit more work, but worth the effort, put a small hole in the spray bottle nozzle so that it usually sprays THEM or someone next to them as they try to spray their grips.

A well placed air horn behind the door

A well placed air horn behind the door


Under a Chair

Under a Chair

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10 Reasons to let your child get involved with competitive Gymnastics (or any competitive sport)

If you are reading this you are probably somehow involved in competitive gymnastics (or you are at the WRONG website? ) You probably can give your own 10 reasons. We’ve been hearing for years that youth sports build character, persistence and teamwork. I’d like to get a bit deeper and explain very specific reasons why parents should get their children involved in competitive gymnastics and why I am glad my children competed in sports. My daughter was a gymnasts and went into Color Guard. My son started off in gymnastics and now is a runner. My wife and I have had a number of live in gymnasts through the years. They were just part of our family. As I see any of “our kids”  react to challenges in the workplace in college or in relationships, I am very grateful for these lessons they learned through competition:

1. Dealing with difficult people.
In Gymnastics, it was difficult coaches and teammates. In the real world, it’s coworkers or neighbors or even in-laws.
My daughter has dealt with coworkers who remind her of arrogant high school teammates. Her sports experiences gave her the ability to see past the annoying behavior and seek to understand.
2. Doing a job under pressure.
Recently, when Colby (one of our live in gymnasts) faced pressure as she was trying to become a pilot, I knew she would stay calm. As a gymnast in high school and college, she was the anchor of the team on Beam. It was imperative she stay calm under pressure.
It’s hard on Mom and Dad to watch their kids compete under stress, but that pressure is a breeding ground for growing the ability to stay calm when they grow up and life throws them curve balls.
3. Sticking with a hard task.
In Gymnastics, your child can learn to keep working towards a goal, even when it feels hopeless. I see this daily in my daughter, who is working hard to achieve a personal goal in her life. She has faced numerous setbacks, but she will not give up.
That type of persistence is only learned as one faces and works through challenges. She learned this as she fought for every skill she ever learned.
4. Ignoring Doubters.
There will always be naysayers and haters. We have all heard them when we coached teams that did not live up to expectations. We heard them when kids made mistakes and parents struggled to believe in their abilities. Our kids heard them from teammates who second-guessed each other.
If your kids learn to ignore the negative voices in gymnastics, they will be ready to do the same in life.
5. Understanding the Boss (i.e. Coach)
As a coach and parent, I wasn’t perfect, there were times when the girls could not understand what I was asking. All kids had coaches who were difficult to read. You need to tell them their job is to strive to understand what the coach wanted and needed them to do, even if he wasn’t clear in his instruction. This endeavor to try to understand others before judging will help them through many relational and workplace problems.
6. Expressing needs and wants.
When you insist that your child confront the coach themselves instead of jumping in to do battle for them, they learn to express concerns to a person of authority. I see how my son and daughter have become confident communicators because we didn’t do their talking for them.
7. Exercising patience with people who can’t keep up.
There was always a gymnast who needs more help than others. The beauty of gymnastics is that it is an individual sport and children will all progress at their own pace. As adults, gymnasts are able to give encouragement and compassion to coworkers, friends, or neighbors who can’t quite keep up in life. I have no doubt that they learned this partly in the gym.
8. Respecting and benefitting from the strengths of others.
The ability to appreciate the skills of others and support their talents makes for a great team player, in the gym, in the office, in the home.
9. Finding Worth.
Your children can learn that they are defined by who they are, not by what they do.
When integrity, honesty and hard work become the true measure of a champion, and not just stats, trophies and accolades, then your kids will not base their self-esteem on performance — in the game or in life — but on who they know themselves to be on the inside.
10. It’s Fun
I miss watching my kids play sports. All sports. From little league to youth soccer. I miss watching my daughter compete in gymnastics. and Color Guard. Today, watching my daughter coach her Color Guard Team is just not the same. But as I see them apply their sports lessons to the real world as adults, I feel like a proud dad watching from the stands all over again.

I just read your new article! Well, that was a shocker when I saw my name in there. Great article. I can’t agree more, gymnastics has paved a foundation for the rest of my life that I countlessly depend upon.

You have had a VERY large part on who I am today! I use lessons you’ve taught me on a regular basis and I still do ‘what was the best part of your day’ whenever I can remember to. It was learning to get through the adversity of gymnastics that keeps me going today and what allowed me to finish 3rd in my Pilot training class (after being 1 ride away from failing). 

Sports Set Kids Up For Success

There are many reasons why sports are so valuable for our children to play, no matter what age those children may be. Of course, helping kids develop and maintain physical fitness is one extremely important reason why kids should play sports. Playing sports helps kids stay healthy. In an age of almost epidemic numbers of people suffering from diseases and physical ailments related to obesity or not being at their optimal weight, the more opportunities for kids to be healthy and fit, the better it is for all.

On top of the physical benefits, there are many other reasons why kids should play sports, probably too many to cover in a single blog post. We have all heard it many times now, but sports can teach kids so many valuable life lessons. As coaches, many of us focus on intentionally teaching those life lessons to the young people in our care. The booklet and presentation by the same name, Life Lessons for Athletes, by Bruce Brown, the director of Proactive Coaching, highlights 10 behavioral characteristics that we should be helping kids to learn, understand and develop, not only for their involvement in sports, but for all aspects of their lives. The 10 characteristics are:

1. Integrity
2. Teachable Spirit
3. Academic Responsibility
4. Confidence
5. Accountability/ Work Habits
6. Discipline
7. Mental Toughness
8. Pride/Humility
9. Leadership
10. Selflessness

While there are certainly more things that playing sports can teach young people, this list is a prime example of many of the qualities and characteristics we can help young people learn by being involved in sports.

However, there is an extremely important caveat to this. In order for us to make sure that sports are teaching young people these things, we must make sure that we are intentional and purposeful about teaching them to our student-athletes. So often we hear people say that sports teach character, but when we look at the games that kids (and adults) are playing, we do not see examples of great character — and all too often we see the exact opposite. Just because a child runs around on a soccer field or a basketball court for two hours, it does not mean that s/he will learn how to be a better person or learn the value of working hard or any of the other elements on the list above. In fact, too often children are taught (whether intentionally or not) how not to behave. Oftentimes children learn how not to behave from the example of the people who should be teaching them the right way to behave — coaches and parents. But when coaches (and parents) intentionally design lessons and practice plans that include various elements of character, sportsmanship and life lessons, and then go out and work on those things with their teams, children have a much better chance of learning many positive lessons from their involvement in sports.

So how can coaches and athletic administrators do this? It’s quite simple — incorporate into your practice plans daily or weekly themes and lessons that you will teach. This can be done for 10 or 15 minutes prior to or after practice, where you take a theme of the week (for instance, something on the list above) and you read a paragraph or two about that theme and then discuss it. It is helpful to have some quotes by famous (and not-so-famous) people about that quality and discuss those quotes with players. Some of my favorite moments as a coach have been those 15-minute lessons I have had with my teams, to hear how certain ideas or quotes have affected certain players, and to hear the discussions that were then spawned because of it. This can be a very powerful part of any team’s season.

However, it doesn’t end there. If we take 15 minutes for four days in a week to discuss sportsmanship or poise, and then in the game on Friday night, I act like a raving lunatic at every call I disagree with, or I run the score up on a much weaker opponent, the 15-minute lessons were worthless — and possibly even damaging. We must go out and live by the very principles and lessons we are trying to espouse. During the week when we cover sportsmanship, for instance, I will set up moments in practice (that the players don’t know are coming) that will test our sportsmanship. I have purposefully made bad calls in scrimmages to see how we handle ourselves and then stopped the scrimmage to address the right or wrong response that we saw.

Sports can be extremely valuable in the growth and development of young people. However, it is up to us as the adults to do everything we can to make sure that what we want them to learn and enjoy from the experience are the very things that we are teaching them.

For more information on Proactive Coaching, visit


It has been said life is equal parts what happens to us and how we process what happens to us.
I think that is very true in gymnastics. The attitudes and beliefs that a gymnast has about herself and the sport will inevitably shape how long she participates, or at least how happy she is while she is involved.
Here are nine beliefs that inevitably lead to a less than stellar gymnastics experience:



Empty Out The Tacks

The mark of a really good coach is the person who can find relatively simple solutions to a difficult problem in the gym. We have all had those moments where a coach may show you a “new” drill and you kick yourself for not thinking of it.

My most recent was working the drop in for in bar stalders.

Functional Fixedness.

According to Wikipedia:

Functional fixedness is a cognitive bias that limits a person to using an object only in the way it is traditionally used.  Karl Duncker defined functional fixedness as being a “mental block against using an object in a new way that is required to solve a problem.”[1] This “block” limits the ability of an individual to use components given to them to complete a task, as they cannot move past the original purpose of those components. 

In a classic experiment demonstrating functional fixedness,  participants were given a candle, a box of thumbtacks, and a book of matches, and asked  to attach the candle to the wall so that it did not drip onto the table below. Duncker found that participants tried to attach the candle directly to the wall with the tacks, or to glue it to the wall by melting it. Very few of them thought of using the inside of the box as a candle-holder and tacking this to the wall. The participants were “fixated” on the box’s normal function of holding thumbtacks and could not re-conceptualize it in a manner that allowed them to solve the problem.

How I approach difficult problems has changed since first reading about Functional Fixedness while I was in college. Now when faced with a difficult problem in or out of the gym I remind myself to “empty out the thumbtacks”.



Combination Tumbling Notes

Combination Tumbling Notes



A+C= +.10
B+B= +.10
B+C= +.20
A+A+C= +.10
A/B+D= +.20
A+A+D= +.20
C+C= +.20
RULES cont.
C+C= +.10
A/B+A/B+C= +.10
A+D= +.10
A+A+D= +.10
C+D= +.20

Tony’s 10 Commandments for tumbling

1. PLAN. Proper planning prevents piss poor performance
2. Teach the big picture. – Don’t be so technical when they are learning.
3. Patience – not everyone learns at the same pace
4. Teach it right the first time
5. Safety rolls. Learn how to fall. It is going to happen, be prepared

6. Small muscles help big muscles Use all of them! Conditioning for success
7. provide training stations, twisting rules etc. and encourage simple basics. — Then let them explore
8. Same direction twisting front and back
9. Spotting is a step not a solution

Skills needed for bonus
Whip Back(s)
Front Layout(s)
Whip 1/2

Strength issues
Make the muscle strong. Then train it to be fast.
The use of plyometric conditioning
body shapes

Hip flexor and back
Abdominal and gluteus

Leg conditioning
roll back stand (both leg, single leg- progress to roll back jump.)
jump lunges
step up kicks
leg curls
leg extensions
toe raises
ankle pull backs
Laying hip raises both legs and single leg.

Plyometric conditioning
should be done in the early part of work out.
monitor numbers (more is not better)
Keep it specific

More than just a High back hand spring
Should accelerate
Is NOT the end! Always do something out of it.
Rows and Rows of Back Hand Springs
BHS over mats
Front Layout –
like a whip. Just front wards.
work body shape. (tight arch)
watch landings.
Front handsprings
front handspring stepouts in a row
step out- step out- together rebound
step out- together extra rebound – bounder
Whip 1/2
Late twist
establish flip first, then twist
Body shape
BHS rebound 1/2 FHS
BHS 1/2 rebound

5 Things Every Gymnast Needs on Bars Notes

5 skills every gymnast needs at Bars
(developing a plan for your team at bars)


1. HAVE A PLAN- Where do you want them to be? When
2. Hit Basics everyday
3. Handstands, Handstands, Handstands
4. Never paint yourself into a corner
5. Teach them how to fall
6. Tony’s rules continued
7. Everyone needs goals. Gymnasts and coaches
8. Have clear expectations and requirements
9. Condition for Success. Tell the kids what they are conditioning for.
10. Establish the basics for harder skills early and give them drills for those skills.

Don’t just coach “to the code” but make sure things get covered.

Weekly schedule
Our weekly outline AFTER warm up. (OFF SEASON)
Monday- Hard. ½ routines then dismounts and release moves.
Tuesday- Medium. ½ routines. Release moves and pirouettes
Wednesday – OFF or Elite compulsory and parts
Thursday- Hard. ½ routines. Pirouettes and dismounts.
Friday 1 routine then goals. (In competition season it has to be a hit routine) med. (make up all falls)
Saturday- medium. Mostly good stuff from routines then goals.
To be successful at bars you really only need to have 5 things.
1. Kip
– back up rise
2. Cast HS
– pirouette
3. Clear Hip HS/ Other in bar skill
low and high bar each way
4. Giant
front and back (“L” grip)
both ways (towards and away from the low bar)
5. Fly away.
– front and back

Warm Up A
(while you wait)
Floor bar Handstands
:30 each grip (over, under, “L” grip)
:10 1 arm handstands each arm each grip
3 full pirouettes, 3 blind change full, some Higgens
3 back extension roll, 3 B.E.R . blind
After 1st Routine
8 tap candle sticks, 8 tap swings each grip
5 Glides to kip. 5 tap swings each way.
Full routine (or 1/2 routine) followed by hanging up rises. Cast handstands, another dismount, etc.

Warm Up B (second time around)
Kip Cast HS, Clear hip/ Toe on/ Stalder HS add pirouettes
Sets of giants each way to a fly away
Seat circles each way and giants each way
Problem Part

Glide swings
Rock kips
Kip swing w/ spot
Kip w/ rope swinging
Stem rise both legs then single leg
Short kip (remember this?)
½ leg lifts on wall bar from sit.
Kip pull with elastic
Pike roll

Cast Handstand
Planche Lean
Press handstand
Bounce HS swing to HS
Shoulder shrug
Spot a lot
Floor Bar Handstands every grip. 1 arm HS, press and hold.
Mean 18
Handstand walking on floor bar or low beam
Rock kip cast handstand
Arch rock

Clear hip Handstand
Back hip circle in a row
Seat circles in a row
Jump to under shoot dismount (level 4 dismount)
Straight arm back extension roll to push up position (increasingly higher)
Back drop shoot HS on tramp
Back drop shoot HS on Tumble track bar
Strap bar drills. Jump undershoot, Jump clear hip back to blocks
Same drills on low bar
Same from cast w/ spot
Fly away
Tap swing drop to back
Cast drop to back.
Lay out fly aways
Front fly aways
Regular grip swing for front fly away
Undergrip swing to front flyaway
Invert grip swing to fly away
Tap swing candle stick
Fly away from hanging tap (like rings)
Tap swing (both ways, all grips)
Tap swing candle stick
Cast Tap swing candle stick
Tap swing to baby giant
Cast to baby giant
-Create a trench or canyon, stack mats up to low bar, use blocks
Jump to baby giant to stand on blocks
Cast to baby giant to stand on blocks
Handstand Lean