from our loyal readers…
I think it’s possible that the repeated publication
of these 20 Coaching Commandments has had a
greater positive impact on the gymnasts in this
country than anything you have ever published.
competitions are and when they will be on
TV. I think the first thing this sport needs is
Anyway, gymnastics must get more fan
friendly, not only for the fans but also to give
the gymnasts themselves longer careers.
The compulsory routine for the following
quadrennium, culminating with the 1988
Olympics, included no belly beat elements.
Instead, the routine was designed for bars
that were spread farther apart, which
accommodated the growing trend toward
giant swings and release elements. Keeping
the bars close enough for belly beats was
limiting that new area of development.
Thank you for reprinting the 20 Commandments of Coaching (“Chalk Talk,” Nov.
2007). You note that the commandments
are an adaptation of a 1987 article written
by Dr. Joe Massimo, but I think Joe’s Coaching Commandments go back even further
I know that I all but memorized his sage
advice on coaching many years earlier, when
I was just starting my coaching career back in
the mid-1970s. When I started Buckeye
Gymnastics in 1982, I used these same commandments as the foundation of our teaching and coaching philosophy.
As we celebrate 25 years of landing on our
feet at Buckeye Gymnastics, Joe’s advice to
coaches can still be found in our staff handbook. We still train our teachers and coaches
using these 20 principles as our guiding light.
Tens of thousands of children in Central
Ohio (and who knows how many around the
country and the world) have benefited from
the coaches and teachers who carry forward
Joe’s principles in the gym every day.
I think it’s possible that the repeated publication of these 20 Coaching Commandments has had a greater positive impact on
the gymnasts in this country than anything
you have ever published.
Thank you for sharing them with us one
more time, and thank you to Dr. Joe Massimo for helping generations of young gymnasts train under the direction of teachers
and coaches who are safe, effective, positive
and gentle, because you touched their
ADDING ‘OFF’ TO THE SEASON
It’s funny that one of your recent online polls
was about the length of the season (see p. 8
for results). I never knew gymnastics had a
season. Does it? When is it?
I have been watching gymnastics since
1976 and still can’t figure out when the
Editor: That gymnastics competitions are
held year round is an indication of the
sport’s growth around the world. But you
bring up a good point. The international
gymnastics circuit seems to have no definitive beginning or end. Right now, the brief
offseason starts in mid-December, and the
new season usually kicks off sometime in
January. That’s precious little down time
for gymnasts to recuperate from nagging
injuries and also work on new skills.
UNEVEN BARS TIMELINE
When looking at old photos or footage of
gymnastics I notice that the uneven bars used
to be much closer together than they are
now, and the gymnasts were able to do some
much different moves bouncing from bar to
bar. For example, Nadia Comaneci’s routines
(from the 1970s) are very different from
What year did this change and what was
the rationale? Features on history and significant developments in the sport would be a
really cool part of the magazine from time to
Editor: 1984 was the last year the compulsory routine for uneven bars included a
belly beat element. It was also a time when
gymnasts were performing giants, release
skills and belly beats in the same routine.
Keep Your Letters Coming!
We want to know what you think, so send
your letters to: IG Mailbox, Box 721020,
Norman, OK 73070 USA. Or E-mail us at
Please keep letters brief and include your
full name and address. Letters may be
edited for purposes of clarity and/or space.
Would you ever consider having a “Breaking
Gymnastics News” email sign-up for your
readers? This could include big competition
news, but also alert fans of media appearances by gymnasts. I am so frustrated that I
constantly miss gymnasts on TV because I
didn’t know about it beforehand!
The gymnasts themselves don’t even post
this information on their personal websites.
There have been numerous other instances in
recent years where I missed really fun gymnast appearances on national TV. Please
consider an email alert for your readers.
COLORADO SPRINGS, COLORADO
Editor: We understand your frustration
and do our best to keep readers informed
of late-breaking news on our website. If you
do happen to miss your favorite gymnast
on TV, however, there is an excellent
chance it will show up on You Tube!
CONFUSED BY NAMES
It would be great if IG would add a glossary of
skills to its website. So many new skills are
constantly being introduced, especially on
bars, that are named after the gymnast.
While giving due credit to the gymnast,
these proper names do not describe the skill.
It’s hard to follow along when you describe a
routine and we don’t know what certain skills
Editor: Thanks for the suggestion. In the
meantime, you can order two back issues
via our online Gymshop ( intlgymnast.com)
which included the inventors’ names (with
explanations) of most skills in the Code of
Points. March 1998 has the women’s skills,
and April 1998 has the men’s.