An overview of the FIG academy program
The FIG Age Group Program
|The FIG Age Group Program began over ten years ago with a comprehensive world-wide review of the sport science literature related to the growth and development characteristics of a child as it progresses from birth to adulthood. This research was collated and then summarized to include detailed information on physical, motor, emotional, cognitive, perceptual and social-maturational characteristics at every age. The information was then reviewed by teams of experts in each of the FIG Sports to determine specially that implications it has for the gymnast in that sport at each stage of the gymnast's development.|
Additional research was done and validated by teams of experts from around the world to identify for each of the FIG Sports:
- Height, weight and body shape profiles.
- Discipline specific technical development stages.
- Physical ability profiles and Physical ability tests across development stages.
- Sport specific skill development, acquisition, and perfection profiles.
- Training volume and intensity profiles and recommendations.
- Competition structure recommendations for Age Group gymnasts.
- Competition routine content recommendations for Age Group gymnasts.
- Recommendations for content and structuring of “universal” Codes of Points.
At the time of writing (end of 2005) an Age Group CD is available from the FIG Office for Men’s and Women’s Artistic Gymnastics. Such Age Group CDs will be available for Aerobic- and Rhythmic Gymnastics by the end of 2006 and for Trampoline- and Acrobatic Gymnastics in 2007.
In principle, this enormous amount of scientific and expert information should influence – or even dictate – everything that is done in gymnastics including coaching for physical preparation and skill acquisition, determining Age Group competition rules, compulsories and Codes of Points, and the appropriate content and emphasis for every gymnastics coach’s education. It is this last point – appropriate coaches’ education - that is the motivation and philosophical background for the FIG Academy Program.
The FIG Academy Program
The FIG Academy Program consists of three levels of coaches’ education. Federations may enter at a level that reflects their specific gymnastics coaching education programs at home. Thus, federations with no gymnastics coaching education or only occasional coaching clinics must begin at Level 1. Those with formal coaching education programs may begin at Level 2. Those with formal university degree programs specifically for gymnastics coaches may begin at Level 3. Level 3 candidates who meet special pre-requisites and achieve exceptional examination results will be awarded with an FIG Coaches’ Brevet.
|The FIG Coaches' Academy Program is the culmination of a world wide education program for coaches in all six of the FIG sports (Men's Artistic, Women's Artistic, Rhythmic, Trampoline, Aerobic and Acrobatic) that began with the FIG Age Group Program.
The Academy Program has the goal to provide undeveloped as well as developed gymnastics countries with a common knowledge bas for the development of high performance gymnasts. The information is scientifically based on the growth and development characteristics of the developing child; it is athlete centered; and it provides examples of what is considered 'best world practice'. If coaches follow the information and processes provided through the FIG Academy Program, they will not be making any large errors in the development of their gymnasts.
The FIG Academy Program has also been supplemented with a pre-Academy 'Foundations of Gymnastics' curriculum developed cooperatively with the Gymnastics for All Committee as a replacement for the general gymnastics instructor courses that it had conducted previously.
The curriculum for each of the FIG Academy Levels includes between 8 and 10 theory lectures such as biomechanics, anatomy, psychology, planning, training theory, physiology, and sport theory. Each of these lectures has been prepared and focused to meet the specific needs of gymnastics coaches. In addition there are extensive in-gym technical sessions for all pieces of apparatus or technical requirements for each FIG Sport as well as in choreography and physical preparation.
The FIG Academy Program is supplemented with additional resource booklets in all of the sport sciences, technical booklets that include scientific understanding and methodology on each skill taught in each FIG Sport, and video-tapes of all skills that are presented.
The Academy courses are of seven-day duration and conclude with a comprehensive theoretical and practical examination.
The FIG does not certify or license coaches. That is specifically the responsibility of each federation. The FIG will provide the examination results to the federation of each participating coach and then the federation must decide what status those results will confer on its coaches.
This three-level FIG Academy Program has a high performance orientation but is, supplemented as referred to above, in cooperation with the FIG Gymnastics for All Committee, with a cross-discipline Gymnastics Foundations course and a Gymnastics Management course that are aimed at federations which are at the beginnings of establishing organized gymnastics programs in their countries.
At this time (end of 2005), fourteen multi-country FIG Academies have been held in nine countries in Artistic Gymnastics with 288 participants from 52 federations. The FIG Brevet has been conferred on 56 persons from 17 federations. One FIG Academy has been held in Aerobic Gymnastics with 19 participants from 17 federations. An ever growing number of Academies is being planned in each of the six FIG Sports over the next few years as the course material is completed.
During 2006, as many as 12 Academies of differing levels are being planned for Artistic Gymnastics; two for Aerobic Gymnastics; and the first one for Rhythmic Gymnastics.
Because the FIG cannot hope to teach all coaches in all countries, the FIG Academy Program and all the curriculum materials can be licensed to larger federations which have many hundreds or many thousands of coaches. In this way the FIG Academy content can become a significant part of their coaches’ education program and can be taught by the federations’ own experts.
Director of FIG Education
& Academy Program