Special Needs Gymnastics

I love this! I’m learning more and more about different disabilities and how to adapt my coaching and I can honestly say that Jamie has unlocked an absolutely vital key – breaking things down. I’ve met a lot of children who have little confidence in their own ability and become easily upset or frustrated if they perceive that they ‘can’t’ do something and more often than not these aren’t people with whom you can explain that it won’t be perfect the first time around! Little victories working towards a bigger long term goal, even if the long term goal is one complete skill is the absolute key to keeping them keen, learning and having fun. Infinite patience and creativity when teaching little bits of skills is also required, ’cause who wants to do step 1 over and over again?

Recreational Gymnastics

special-needs-gymnasticsJamie Pacton:

Gymnastics can benefit kids tremendously, especially kids with special needs.

Liam, my 7-year-old with autism, has been working with a gymnastics coach for almost two years, and in that time, he’s made huge gains in motor skills, following directions, expressive language, and confidence. …

When he first started, he was timid, resistant, and uncoordinated; now his confidence shines through in every activity he completes. …


My overall philosophy on children with special needs is very similar to how I approach coaching children of all abilities. Confidence comes from success, however children cannot make the distinctions between failing at a skill and being a failure. This is why progressions or deescalating a skill is so imperative in teaching. Adjusting and breaking a skill into its most minute parts assures individual success regardless of skill level and is pertinent in developing a positive sense of self and…

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10 Reasons Why I Love Aimee Boorman

I love this! You can really see Aimee’s coaching philosophy is to keep it fun, so the gymnast wants to learn more, faster and Aimee’s results speak for themselves. Maybe for our elite coaches, there are lessons to be learned there… What do you think?
~ Bella


blog coach pride

She understands what an incredible sport gymnastics is for all kids.   Aimee says, “I love watching kids grow. Gymnastics is more about life than just being a sport.  It teaches you about respect, dedication, time management, drive…I could go on and on.”

She puts the child before the gymnast. According to the The Los Angeles Times Aimee she does not monitor Biles’ diet, encourages her to have a life outside of gymnastics, and wants her to spend time with friends.  “You have to avoid burnout,” Aimee said. “I believe in family vacations. I believe in taking time off. I believe if it’s your best friend’s birthday, you take the day off and go spend it with her. That’s time you can’t get back.”

She understands that the number one reason kids quit sports is that it is no longer fun—so she makes it fun. “We knew early…

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A Plan for Petal and Robin

Petal and Robin are two young gymnasts just entering their careers in Trampolining. They both have fun and show a natural aptitude for the sport, learning quickly and are confident to try new things.

Have you ever heard of the 7 P’s? aka Proper Prior Planning Prevents Piss Poor Performance or the polite version: Proper Planning, Preparation and Practice Prevents Poor Performance. It’s something that almost continuously plagues my idle thoughts. I wouldn’t say I’m the most experienced coach, so I’m often asking advice from more experienced coaches about the right time for progression, encouraging certain techniques and how to discourage or avoid common bad habits.

The perfect training pair could be Petal and Robin. They’re young and able and need a plan. Ultimately my goal as a coach would be to get them on the British Gymnastics Performance Pathway, with the best chance to get to their peak performance at the appropriate age.

If Petal and Robin are 6 and 8 respectively, ideally they would both need to be learning the following routine by their 9th birthday as well as working towards voluntary routines with a 6.0 tariff (at this age there isn’t a difference between Male and Female Tariffs as there is aged 13.)

routine age 9-10

The question for me as a coach is – is it possible? If so, how? In the coming months I’m going to develop a plan of the skills they would need, assuming that they can be learnt in an appropriate time frame we’ll see just how possible that is. Firstly the skills they will need to do the routine above, beginning with the Tuck shape, then Pike and Straight, assuming that you would learn a Tuck front and Back somersault before you learnt these skills in the Piked and Straight position.

  • Tuck Front Somersault
  • Tuck Back Somersault
  • Tuck Barani
  • Pike Front Somersault
  • Pike Back Somersault
  • Pike Barani
  • Straight Back Somersault
  • Straight Barani

After or during which one might also teach these as useful skills in their own right and progressions towards further skills.

  • Straight 3/4 Front Somersault
  • Straight 3/4 Back Somersault

Coming soon – Blog 2: Petal’s Plan

What’s your experience with progressions and planning? If you have a set way of planning in the long and short term, let me know in the comments below – perhaps we can plan the futures of these two talented children together…

Happy bouncing!

Bella 😉

Posts Archive

8 Data Protection Principles

A great little post card outlining the 8 Principles of Data Protection

Bad Hair Day?!

Some fresh hair-up ideas and solutions for when your hair gets in the way of your training no matter what you do with it!

Disability Trampoline 1: ADHD

This post covers ADHD, aka Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder and specifically how this affects Trampolining for children with this disorder.

Is he okay? It’s like I’m coaching a different child

If it feels like the child you’re coaching is a stranger, or they’ve changed perhaps something’s not quite right.

Medical Mayhem 1

The Importance of having completed medical forms and what to do with the information once you receive it.

Medical Mayhem 2

The Importance of having completed medical forms and what to do with the information once you receive it.

New Skills

Consolidating new skills and keeping confidence levels high when learning new skills.

Online Results & Data Protection

Musings on the potential issues of publishing results online in searchable text format…

Safety: Garden Trampolines

Have you thought about purchasing a Garden Trampoline for your little sprogget? Here’s a few things to consider before you do, as well as British Gymnastics’ Safety Statement on the matter…

Supported Somersaults with a Belt

Using a Karate belt round the waist to support a single front of back somersault.

Welcome World!

An (brief) introduction to my new blog…

Welcome World!

It’s my very first post! So I’ve decided that due to a failed previous blog about something, if I’m going to write a new blog, it has to be about something I’m passionate about. This idea has been on the ‘back-burner’ for a while, but I now think if I don’t get started, the post-it’s full of ideas will all get lost! It’s also much easier to write it one post at a time, rather than loads of posts at once, so here goes… I’m ‘Bella’ – this blog will use a lot of pseudonyms, but that’s just to protect the identities of the people I work with. I’m a coach who works with both children and adults in competitive and recreational environments, so I’m hoping my wide range of experiences will help to not only inspire others, but as I’m not perfect, maybe you can learn the same lessons as me, without making the same mistakes. So this is a blog that I am hoping to grow into tips, advice, resources and do’s and don’t s of trampoline and DMT. Although qualified, I do not currently participate in DMT in any capacity, but it’s definitely something I hope to do in the future. Happy bouncing!