Level 3 Coaching Course Day 5 – The Presentation

Today was the day everyone was dreading except me. I really don’t have a problem speaking in front of smaller groups of people so the presentation really didn’t bother me. Not only that, I had chosen for my topic something that we were about to cover that morning anyway, Long Term Programming. For the morning we spent our time once more on a little biomechanics review and then on to planning of both short term and long term training. At this level the recommendation is that you are looking at a minimum yearly out to a 4 year plan which falls in with the Olympic cycle. Talking about planning and all the considerations that go into it reminded me of a few things that we need to start doing. We need to get moving on the star wall for major skill recognition. We should whiteboard the major goal for each athlete per event for each month giving them an “always there” reminder of what they are doing. We should rotate the workouts into 4 weekly cycles with the 4th week being a light week. Although we don’t condition for very long, this would give me a chance to program some yoga, flexibility and mobility training right into the scheduled time slots.
Several things we talked about worked right into the Skills Ladder we have developed and that was really great to see. It reinforced that we were absolutely right to put that program in place and that it should be implemented and mandated for all comp levels. It will need some refining as we go along but the overall structure is good. One benefit it provides is the same as the compulsory program provides, that is the ability to work hard at the mandated skills while having additional skills and progressions towards the next level that can be developed at the same time.

This brought us to the presentations and to be honest everyone did OK. One person lasted 3 minutes of the 5 but most people managed to get well beyond the minimum 5 minute time limit. I am unclear as to the purpose of the presentations if I am honest, I mean they are not on subjects that can be evaluated nor that are necessarily part of the course. And I am not sure that public speaking is a prerequisite for being an effective coach but it’s a great way to keep people engaged the day of the presentations 🙂

Level 3 Coaching Course Day 4

YurchenkoDay 4 – Rings and Vault and Parallel Bars

..or  how not to get hit in the face by rings while spotting.

We started with the familiar review of biomechanics a great way to start the day by the way, you should really try talking about spring actions and ground forces during breakfast it’s great 🙂 Our skill of the day on rings was press to handstand which we work on with the girls on the floor and it’s challenging, I was amazed at how the boys were able to control the rings enough to complete the progressions, never mind to do a free press without spot. We reviewed some of the basics of rings control none of which I was familiar with apart from when I have done ring dips at home and realized that it’s easier to brace yourself against the ring with your forearm which of course is cheating in the real world. We also touched on the notion that any conditioning that you do should be counterbalanced with conditioning for the antagonist group of muscles. In other words if you are doing shoulder work for the front of the shoulders be sure that you incorporate some rear shoulder work to balance the load and the work. This should go some way towards eliminating unbalanced development physically and the widening of strength gaps that tend to develop.

Ring specific mechanics for the handstand were covered including some drills and some spotting by controlling the rings while the handstand in in place but also swinging up to handstand and pressing to handstand. The thing about rings is the actual ring control since the athlete should already have the basics and in fact the advanced handstand skills before trying it on rings. We saw some demonstrations of higher level ring moves but the spot was restricted to press to handstand and swings. The swings are lethal, if you are head height with the rings during swings you are likely to get smashed in the face by the rings since they tend to move side to side as well as in and out which isn’t necessarily expected.

Vault, I thought we would be spotting vault a lot more than we did but instead we spent time working on double back timers and working towards the double back spot into the pit. We did talk about the run and the importance of velocity in the vault. Basically you can correct anything except lack of speed. We talked about early blocking, hands out blocking, Tsukahara drills and Yurchenko drills on both the vault table and the fast track. We covered twisting off the vault and the easy way to rotate the arm down and then back up for full twist. Sadly though we didn’t get the chance to spot Tsuks which would have been nice however we did enough work on progressions that spotting should be a formality but the time they try the skill.

A couple of interesting things to note. As the athlete becomes better at vaulting, the handspring vault becomes less of a benefit and more of a hinderance. Once advanced vaults are learned, the handspring should basically not be used at all. Teaching twisting off vault starts on the tramp, this emphasizes a late twist since the back drop position is already the boundary between quadrant 3 and 4. However the low risk and plentiful rotation time gives great assistance to the start of the rotation for beginners. For teaching both front and back tucks from vaults you can use resi to vault up to and then do the tuck off the rest to start teaching the tied in rotation. This can work for both FHS Full and yurchenko full. You could also use an angled resi to roll out of to reinforce the rotation after the handspring to connect the two pieces.

Tsukahara was covered a little which is good because we do have kids performing this vault. The progressions through the fast track to the table were good but mostly stuff we are already doing at our gym which was great to see.

Parallel Bars was more familiar after doing cast to HS on the women’s bar you get used to the swing spotting techniques. We covered swings and giants including some very interesting drills that basically ended up with the athlete swinging into a red mat face first. Boys gymnastics… gotta love it!
The interesting point about PBars for women is that it’s a transferable skill and there are things that can be trained without the hip bashing that comes with the low bar. This can allow for greater rep training and better efficiency of time once the female athlete gets used to the pendulum motion of the swing. As an aside, this also speaks a little to development of shoulder flexion for women and a benefit of the swing being the repetitive strengthening of the back support position.
Specifically for the men we covered the Diamadov, Stutz and the Felge to handstand. The twisting components here can be trained using blocks outside the frame of the PBars to rotate out to which I found innovative.

R5D31 – Medium Day, Coaching and The Biggest Loser

Today was tough, probably because I was supposed to have a day between the two RKC days and I was still a little sore after the snatches yesterday. This is what happened:

C&P left 1
C&P right 1
Pull Up 5
C&P left 2
C&P right 2
Pull Up 5
C&P left 3
C&P right 3
Pull Up 5
Rest 1-2 min repeat another 2x for a total of 3 ladders.

Again I chose to do 5 pullups each time for a total of 45 pullups.

Second part was a little easier, the dice roll came up 6 so for 6 minutes I did this:

45lb KB Swings, 25 reps
Rest 10 seconds, repeat. Ten seconds is not enough rest time, my bpm went up and kept rising with every set. Thankfully it was only 6 minutes.


It was a tough but fairly short workout, and I needed to finish quick to get to coaching. On the coaching front, I have finally been transitioned into the full time coach for the competitive girls. This is awesome news and once again I will be back doing what I really love to do. There are going to be plenty of challenges with the group not least of all will be returning to my old club for one of the competitions. However, I am totally up for it and am so excited to be back coaching competitive gymnastics again!

The other health and fitness news is that tomorrow we start the Biggest Loser again at my workplace. This will be the 6th time I have run the contest for our department and so far with 7 of us participating there is $350 up for grabs. The contest is 3 months, based on percentage weight lost and includes monthly prizes and a grand prize. It has been well received in the past and this time, although attendance is down a little, I hope to see some healthy weight loss for everyone involved. I am participating, I hope to see my weight down around the 240 mark or less, seeing 230 something on the scale would be pretty amazing to be honest. With the Paleo diet, I need to learn how to manage what I eat to control my lean levels so that I can accurately control what my body is doing. For so many years eating grains it was a crapshoot, not necessarily knowing what was going to work or not work with my weight. Now with the Paleo diet, those peaks and valleys are gone, my temperament, cravings, hunger are all completely under control and so now I need to learn how to manage my weight with predictability within the new lifestyle. It’s tough having to relearn everything, but then again, at least now I know I am operating within nutritional truth.

R4 D52-D55 Resting and Meeting Elizabeth

Not Paleo, I abstainedR4 D53 – Coached 3 hours, so no time or energy to work out.
R4 D54 – X Stretch the most uneventful workout on the planet.
R4 D55 – Sunday, coming back into the workouts from 4 days of ‘rest’ workouts.


21 – 15 – 9 Reps
135lb Clean
Ring Dips
21 – 15 – 9 Reps
135lb Clean
Ring Dips
Elizabeth was a rude awakening after such a nice few days taking it easy and recuperating. I feel like I slightly over stretched my lower back so it was a relief have a couple of easy days. That said, it was also great to get my teeth back into a decent hard work workout, even though Elizabeth is a very short workout. Since my weightloss is going well, I had planned a reward for getting to 260lbs and I had in mind that I wanted another Olympic bar and some weights to go in the garage during the winter and out on the lower deck during the summer. The reason is that doing Olympic lifts in the basement makes me nervous. Especially if the baby is in her bouncer watching, there are mirrors, a TV and plenty of stuff that would not take well to occupying the same space as the end of a 7ft steel bar. So the easy thing would be to do the lifts I can in the garage where there is a chin up bar and a wall ball and a floor to do push ups on. I figure if I am doing crossfit, I may as well make it realistic! My dip bars were so easy to make I may make up another set for the garage too, just for convenience and I have in mind to make 2 or 3 jump up boxes also.
Back to Elizabeth. Since I was nervous, I didn’t quite do the workout as Rx’d rather instead of letting the bar down to the floor and waking up the baby I kept it against my thighs and did the clean from there. I didn’t make all 21 or in fact all 15 in a row anyway so I ended up doing a few of the full rep cleans anyway. I also only was using 95lb since I am still getting used to doing the Olympic lifts after many many years away from them. I find that my old body is taking  some time to get used to the grip style again and in fact my biggest challenge does seem to be hand positioning. Maybe it is from too many years of benching heavily but my wrists are certainly not as flexible as they should be.
So the workout was under 15 minutes I think. So short in fact that I had toyed with the idea of doing it a second time once we got back from the Gymnastics competition we were attending but instead we went to Demetre Caffe and had ice cream.