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
P.bar 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
P.bar 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 p.bar blocks
Jump to baby giant to stand on blocks
Cast to baby giant to stand on blocks
Handstand Lean

Things That I am Thankful For 2014

Things That I am Thankful For

Dear Gym Momentum Coaches, Camp and Clinic Attendees, and Gymnasts.

Like every year this year has had its ups and its downs.  The constant is YOU. Your support, your friendship, your dedication and enthusiasm is why I do what I do.  When I hire my staff  for Gym Momentum Camps or Clinics I’m looking for people who, like me,   strive to be amazing and go beyond the expectations of all attendees.

I’m hoping that my staff will also be friends. What I’ve discovered though is that you’re not just friends you’ve become my family (Kelsey realize that they’re not really my family).

The coaches and gymnasts who attend Gym Momentum Camps and clinics. The energy you bring to these camps, your willingness to try new things and technique is why I believe in your success.

There are so many things I can be thankful for. I’ve made some great contacts this year, I’ve been able to work with great gymnasts and coaches, I’ve even made some friends.

BUT- most of all. I am Thankful for you. The Coaches, the Gymnasts who make it all possible and worthwhile.

Thank You and Happy Thanksgiving.

You can Read my other blog VACILANDO to get a list of Unconventional Things I am Thankful For

Kids Learn from our examples

I was recently reading this article in The Huffington Post. Unfortunately I cannot find the original article to give proper credit. But it made me think of how we can be better examples to the kids we coach. You may want to share this with all the parents on your team.  I also wrote about this in my other blog Vacilando. 

Remember the 1987 PSA about kids and drugs? A father finds drug paraphernalia in his son’s closet and questions him about where he found the drugs, how he even KNEW about drugs. The boy starts in with the standard excuses and finally explodes I learned it from watching you, Dad!

It was a groundbreaking commercial back in the day when stirrup pants were the rage and Bon Jovi was on the stereo and Dirty Dancing was in the theaters.

Here we are, a zillion years later, and things have changed. And stayed the same. Stirrup pants have been replaced by yoga pants — Bon Jovi seems to get better looking every year, and lines from Dirty Dancing are still quoted regularly (right now you are saying to yourself “Nobody puts Baby in the corner” — admit it).

There is one thing about the drug PSA that hits home in today’s modern world. Actually, it’s a phenomenon that’s always been there.

Children learn from their parents.

And our gymnasts learn from us. You can tell them what to do over and over and over again, but it’s really by watching that they learn. We’ve all witnessed gymnasts (for good or bad) mimic the behavior of their coaches.  We have see toddlers ‘cooking’ like mommy or mimicking their father’s voice or copycatting something on television.

Why, then, are we so surprised that the teens in the world are attached to smartphones? Addicted to their devices? Aren’t we, too, “just checking Facebook” or “sending a quick text” or “making a call” when we are with our children? Aren’t we teaching them by example?

I had a parent come up to the front desk at my gym and she was checking her phone for 30 seconds or so until she acknowledged me. She was attempting to sign her child up for classes and during to 5 minutes it took to do this she sent and received a dozen text messages. Completely ignoring her child (Who was pretending to text on what I HOPE was a pretend cell phone) A recent study by Boston Medical Center shows some scary facts. According to the Boston study, 40 out of 55 caregivers at a fast food restaurant used their devices and their “primary engagement was with the device, rather than the child.” I think the word here is distracted.

Parenthood is not an easy job, and the few minutes parents of young children get to themselves is precious. I know, because I’ve been there. Anyone with small children has been there — that moment when you think if I don’t get 13 seconds to myself I am going to lose my mind. And parents need that. Everyone needs that. Really.

The bigger issue is how we interact with our children when we are, in fact, trying to interact with them. Are we constantly on our iPhone, checking work email or Facebook or whatever?

Technology is not going away, so it’s our job to use it wisely, and, by doing so, teach our children how to use it wisely. There is a place for technology — it’s just not at the very tip top of the list. I hate sitting with my friend, a smart, attractive, interesting young women who lives way too many miles away, whom I rarely see and happen to think the world of, tapping on her cell phone. I want to say HEY — OVER HERE! I AM YOUR FRIEND. I AM BUYING YOU DINNER! I THINK YOU ARE, BY FAR, THE ONE OF THE MOST INTERESTING PEOPLE IN THE UNIVERSE AND I LOVE YOU AND I WILL ALWAYS HAVE YOUR BACK!

I don’t say that, of course, because she would be horrified and I would be on the first bus to the asylum.But if I am feeling that way about her lack of attention, what would my kids be feeling about my lack of attention? And, more importantly, what would they be feeling about my lack of attention if they were still three years old and thought I was still magical?

Along with our many, many other jobs as parents, we have to model a healthy relationship with technology. We want to have a real relationship with our children so they can forge real relationships with others. I don’t know about you, but I am hoping for grandchildren some day. If I don’t teach my children how to connect with the human race, I may miss my chance. Sitting around the Thanksgiving table with a bunch of little iPhones just doesn’t have the same je ne sais quoi, does it?

Here are a few tips on ways to form relationships with people you coach and work with instead of dependent relationships on inanimate objects:

When you are in the gym, DON’T BRING YOUR CELL PHONE IN WITH YOU.I know you “just want to video that skill” Don’t just put down your smartphone, put it away. Once it is out of site, it’s less likely to distract you and shows your gymnasts that they are  priority.

If you have to use your phone- let people know why.  “I am going video a routine and then post it on our youtube page for college coaches to see”.

Create boundaries around technology and apply the rules to everyone, gymnasts and coaches. If you’ve agreed to a no phones in the gym  rule, it should apply to everyone, not just the gymnasts. (Revisit the “I learned it from watching you, Dad” commercial when tempted.)

Teach your gymnasts the art of conversation by practicing with them. Ask open-ended questions of them and answer their questions to you thoughtfully and thoroughly. Skip the one-word answers or the distracted “uh huh” when you are with them.

When you do, in fact, have to  call them on their phone, set the expectation that they should answer or call you back. Too often phone calls receive a text in return. Why? Text is easier, safer and less taxing than a phone conversation.

Keep private information private. What might seem cute or funny or endearing to you (Your 8-year-old son dressed up in his sister’s dance costume! Your 3-year-old is finally potty trained! Your high-schooler made the chess team!) is not for public consumption. Show your gymnasts you respect them by using discretion at all times. THAT GOES FOR YOUR LIFE TOO! Your gymnasts would be horrified if they ever saw some of your Facebook statuses!

Most parents and coaches  are hoping to instill a strong sense of self-esteem in their children. We want them to be capable, responsible, happy, healthy members of society. Sitting with heads buried in laptops or eyes scanning phones tells them that we think very little of them. We devalue them.



Check out this GYM!!!

Keflavik ad in english


Would you like to spend a year in Iceand and coach at our great gymnastics club?


We are seeking coaches for our Team Gym teams and also for our younger groups in artistic gymnastics, boys and girls. A season contract available (1.9.2014-1.6.2015) with the option of a longer stay.

We need a fulltime coach who is a caring individual and passionate about gymnastics. We have both womens and mens artistic gymnastics and a growing Team Gym department. This autumn a group of strong former WAG gymnasts is joining our Team Gym Team and we need someone to help us develope our strong team. We also offer varied other assignments depending on your interests and experience.


Our gym opens at 13:45 for training and is open till 22:00 in the evening, the facilities are very good, different pit options, open/raisable, LEG and Eurogym Fiber tracks and varied training equipment. 1 main hall and 3 different smaller training areas in adjacent halls.

We are located in the town of Keflavik, just 15 minutes drive from Keflavik international airport and about 30 minutes drive from the capital of Iceland, Reykjavik.

We offer a fair salary and a private appartment close to the gym. We have english speaking staff available to help you get into things.

We are seeking an individual who is willing to be a positive influence on our gymnasts and help them develope strength, caracter and great gymnastics.

If you are positive and a good team player and interested in joining our team please send us your resumé at fimleikar@keflavik.is We will answer all questions and inquiries very swiftly and in the strictest confidence, don ́t hesitate to drop us a line.

Our website is www.keflavik.is/fimleikar http://keflavik.is/fimleikar/myndasafn/?gid=1020

P.s. -Full pass to EC in Team Gym in Iceland october 2014 is included in the years salary


Canadians turn to USAG Junior Olympic Program.


As of September 1, 2014, Gymnastics BC will use the USA Junior Olympic Program (JO) for its provincial level competitive categories. JO will replace the Canadian Provincial Program (CPP), GYMSTART and KIP. Interclub and Performance Plus will continue to be offered, but the athletes will now also have the option to easily transition to the JO program levels 1 and 2.


Fear Not My Canadian Friends!

The JO program. Is pretty basic and straight forward. One of the biggest benefits is that it is fairly easy for parents to understand. SAVING YOU COUNTLESS PHONE CALLS AND E-MAILS.