Wrap up: WAG Team Future Advance Camp 2014

The Women’s Artistic Gymnastics (WAG) Team Future Advance Camp was held in Canberra at the Australian Institute of Sport (AIS) prior to Christmas 2014. The clinic was led by the National Pathways Team, Jo Richards and Alexis Lebedew.

Twenty of the 11-15 year old WAG gymnasts attended the camp representing seven different training gyms from around the country. Athletes aged 11-13 years earned the right to attend following their outstanding results on the IDEAL skills test recorded during 2014. They were also joined by some 2016 age-eligible gymnasts. Athletes attended the camp with their personal coaches, which was a mixture of training and other fun and educational activities.

These included:

  • Six training sessions where the athletes worked hard on their targeted skills. The athletes learned skills and coaches networked, collaborated and swapped ideas.
  • National Women’s High Performance manager Liz Chetkovich hosted two gymnastics video sessions from the 2014 World Championships and a routine planning session with the gymnasts.
  • Group and individual choreography activities were performed, led by choreographers Lisa Bradley and Stacey Umeh.
  • Athletes were scientifically measured for their run up speed on vaulting and filmed with high speed cameras to gauge how their vaulting performances are progressing with biomechanist Liz Bradshaw from Edith Cown University.
  • The athletes participated in educational group activities to help their training, refreshing what it means to be a self-regulated athlete.
  • Athletes all performed very well in their physical testing. Sidney Stephens (WA Institute of Sports) and Kate McDonald (Waverley Gymnastics Centre) were the most physically prepared athletes at the camp.
  • When the coaches were not busy with their gymnasts they used every spare moment in workshops with Liz Chetkovich working on their Individual Athlete Plans and Tracking.

Also held in parallel was a coaches Vaulting and physical conditioning think-tank. In order for athletes to be on the international podium in future, there must be a specific strategy for the developmental athletes already in place to make sure they are ‘fit for purpose’.

Physical conditioning experts, experts from track and field, physiotherapists, biomechanists and high level gymnastics coaches discussed innovative strategies to prepare more physically-able bodies and looked towards the ‘novice experts’ external to the sport to seek further inspiration for gymnastics.

The next Team Future Advance Camp will be held at the AIS 30 August – 2 September 2015.

For more information regarding this area in the Women’s High Performance Program, please contact Jo Richards jrichards@gymnastics.org.au.