FIG Level 2 MAG and WAG Coaching Course wrap up

Relevant to:
All coaches and judges interested in the recent FIG Courses

Gymnastics Australia recently conducted a FIG Level 2 Academy Course in Men’s and Women’s Artistic Gymnastics at the Australian Institute of Sport in Canberra from the December 14 to 22.

This intensive eight-day course is unlike any other Gymnastics Australia education offering and requires a high level of dedication not only to the sport of Gymnastics, but also to an individual’s own coaching development. 

Prior to the course, all coaches are required to brush up on their knowledge in the areas of anatomy, biomechanics, physiology, psychology and planning, to give themselves a basis of understanding for the combination of theoretical and practical lectures they will attend throughout the eight days. 

There were a total of 37 candidates in attendance - 12 Men's Artistic Gymnastics (MAG) and 25 Women's Artistic Gymnastics (WAG) coaches - all of whom brought varying levels of coaching experience and knowledge to the table. Some of our more seasoned coaches, including many who already held High Performance and Advanced Silver Accreditations, attended the course to update their coaching knowledge and hear from some of the best coaches in Australia, whilst other attendees were furthering their education in gymnastics coaching with the aim of progressing to an Advanced Silver Accreditation. 

The Academy was led by Australia’s very own FIG expert, Michelle De Highden, who presented practical lectures for WAG on Floor and Beam (leaps, jumps and turns) as well as a lecture on planning, which focused on training periodisation and talent development for performance athletes. The theoretical lectures on anatomy were presented by Phil Cossins (AIS Senior Sports Physiotherapist), with Dee Jennings (former GA Performance Manager) covering physiology and Kristine Dun (AIS Psychologist) delving deep into psychology. Joshua Fabian (Senior Coach at the National Centre of Excellence (NCE) Perth) provided exceptional explanations on biomechanical principles in his theoretical lectures and further expanded on specific concepts in his practical lectures on Uneven Bars, Vault and Floor. For artistry and music, our candidates were lucky enough to have Katie Sigsworth, who is currently the Australia Team Future Coach for Rhythmic Gymnastics and has previously presented at both FIG Level 2 and 3 Academies. 

With the first few days of the course overlapping with the MAG Commonwealth Games Selection Trial our MAG candidates were spoilt with a number of extremely high calibre presenters and attended multiple practical lectures. Igor Bespalov, who has been the WA State Team coach for 17 years and is currently the MAG Head Coach at High Flyers Trampoline & Gymnastics Academy kicked off the men’s side with his sessions on Floor, Pommel Horse and Rings. Parallel Bars were covered by Sean Wilson, MAG Development Program Head Coach at the QLD High Performance Centre, who was one of the top MAG candidates at the FIG Level 3 Academy in 2014. Vladimir Vatkin, Senior MAG coach at NCE in Canberra, presented on Vault and High Bar giving candidates an insight as to how he coaches some the more difficult skills to Australia’s top athletes. The final lectures on Rings and High Bar were led by John Curtin who is also based at the NCE Canberra as the National Junior Development Coach and Program Manager. 

Special thanks must go out to all our incredible athlete demonstrators who joined us from the NCE programs in Perth, Melbourne and Canberra as well as the QLD High Performance Centre. Without these athletes this course would not be possible and their involvement enhanced the learning experience for all our candidates by allowing a more hands-on approach to learning. These athletes also assisted candidates with their examination preparation and final exams. 

To obtain an Advanced Silver Accreditation, candidates must achieve a score of 80% or higher in both the theoretical and practical components of the course. This 80% competency requirement is to ensure that Gymnastics Coaches within Australia maintain the high standard that has led to us being one of the only countries in the world to hold a license to operate FIG Academies. 

Special mentions go out to:

Deborah Greenbaum – Highest WAG Practical Exam Score - 99%
Jake Houtby - Highest MAG Practical Exam Score - 94%
Samuel Simpson – Highest Theoretical Exam Score – 97%

Congratulations also goes out to the candidates who achieved overall top scores in their respective Gymsports: 

1st - David Marion
2nd - Hiroaki Sato
Equal 3rd - Mitchell Skippen
Equal 3rd - Lars Becker

1st - Ben Alhovirta 
2nd - Goele Schmitz
3rd - Rachel Treeby