Adult Recreation Gymnastics

by site editor Rick McCharles

Presented at the annual BC Gymnastics Congress.

This post includes a VIDEO of my presentation and some course notes. Leave a comment if you have anything to add.

Building and Maximizing Adult Rec Gymnastics Programs

Does your club offer programs for adults? If not, why not? Rick McCharles sets out the benefits, risks and offers advice on how best to plan programs for big kids age-16 and older. In this important and growing opportunity for our gyms, Rick will discuss various ways to market your club’s adult programs to the “converted” gymnast enthusiasts as well as to the untapped group of individuals who always wanted to do gymnastics but never did and don’t know how to begin.

Click PLAY or watch my presentation on YouTube.

An interactive session, the course notes follow:

• Adult Rec is HOT in 2011
• Altadore in Calgary has offered Adult for at least 30yrs. Over that time, every other program in the city has OFFERED and CANCELED adult recreation programs. It’s considered a troublesome program to run safely.
• the tragic death of Michelle Maitland in Australia must caution everyone involved in adult recreational gymnastics
• we’ve had at least one law suit in Calgary from an adult against an adult rec program
• Rick recommends age-16 and up. Some clubs start at age-18 or age-19.
• provide cross training for Parkour, Snowboard, Capoiera, CrossFit, etc.
• offer both “open gym” (drop-in) and “instruction” (classes) if you have the demand and coaches to do so
• overconfident young men are the main risk in offering drop-in

• gym income during off-hours ($10 / 90min) and/or monthly and/or punch cards
• potential Rec coaching recruits
• keep former gymnasts, coaches involved / “detraining” phase for retiring competitors
• great social motivator for your staff, coaches and friends
• source of volunteers for special events
• clean-up / set-up gym for next day

• Rick recommended offering the program as late as possible in the evening, Mon – Thurs
• most gyms have enough demand only to offer 1 or 2 classes / week

• super competent and authoritative coach needed
• super experienced coach
• well paid coach (“danger pay”)
• specialty adult programs are gaining popularity: “Parkour / Free Running”, “Flip/Twist”, Cheer tumbling, etc.
• all adults should be required to attend a group warm-up (15min)
• all adults should be requested to condition at the end of class (30min)
• steer adults away from backward handspring, towards backward salto

Adult “Masters” Competitions
• gaining popularity
• two of the best are hosted in B.C.

• beware adult gymnasts doing multiple forward somersaults. More catastrophic injuries are from this family of skills than any other:
• no exposed concrete anywhere near trampoline devices or pits
• if backyard tramps were illegal, we’d have many more adults in our clubs, doing better and safer trampoline
• we can teach “how to fall” — trying to prevent future injuries falling from mountain bikes, snowboards, etc.
• best practice is to have no overlap between the training times of children and adults

Best web pages: (California)
• Adult Gymnastics page

Questions? Suggestions? … Please leave a comment.