FIG Artistic Gymnastics Age Group Programme
Walvis Bay, March 14 – 18, 2013
LAUSANNE (SUI), FIG Office, March 19, 2013: The twelfth FIG Age Group Programme Camp and the first of seven on the African continent was hosted by the Namibia Gymnastics Federation on March 14-18, 2013. The theory and practical sessions were shared between the Gymnastics clubs in Walvis Bay and Swakopmund.
Seventeen coaches – nine for Men’s Artistic Gymnastics (MAG) and eight for Women’s Artistic Gymnastics (WAG) - attended the camp but several of them coach both boys and girls at their clubs. The coaches attending in Namibia held citizenships from six countries – Bulgaria, Germany, Namibia, Roumania, South Africa and Spain. The various coaches and the clubs they hosted provided nearly 40 demonstator gymnasts all eager to learn and to participate. It was encouraging to see so much enthusiasm for Gymnastics in this country but the large numbers of gymnasts of every ability level made the practical work challenging for the experts.
These camps are intended to expose as many coaches as possible from the host country to the FIG Age Group Programme so that it will be implemented and understood uniformly. But, as has been the case in most of these FIG Age Group Camps where the Gymnastics level is quite low, much of the time was also spent in coach education and focusing on perfect basics.
The FIG leader and expert for the camp was Hardy Fink (CAN), the Director of FIG Education & Academy Programmes. He was accompanied by Derick Scholtz of South Africa who owns Visions Gymnastics Club, has brought both MAG and WAG gymnasts to the national team and has served as an expert for several FIG Academies in both theory and technical lectures.
The FIG Age Group Programme includes a testing and monitoring programme for MAG and WAG physical abilities and technical skills as well as a complete competition programme with modified optional rules for age-group gymnasts and compulsory exercises for all ages. It also includes a variety of additional information related to developing a systematic Gymnastics programme that can lead to high performance. The programme was developed by Hardy Fink for the competition programme, Dieter Hofmann (GER) for the testing programme and Carol-Angela Orchard (CAN) for the dance and choreographic content. The just completed second Spanish edition of the published programme and manual was used at this camp.
The five-day camp focused primarily on practical work in the gymnasium with coaches and their gymnasts on the various technical and physical tests, the compulsory exercises and the modified optional rules. Some theory background was provided to promote the FIG philosophy of protecting gymnasts during the growth years.
The organisation of this camp by the Namibia Gymnastics Federation was exceptional. Thanks go to Vice-president Dongina Risser for all of the organisational work along with Monika Gibbons and Vesseline Kostin who provided everything that was needed to make the training camp successful.
The introduction of the Age Group Programme is already continuing with a camp that has begun yesterday in Nigeria and another one that will begin Wednesday in South Africa to be followed next week by three at the same time in Senegal, Congo and Mozambique.