The Bermuda Gymnastics Association recently sponsored four local coaches to attend the prestigious FIG Academy Level 1 coaching course, an eight day intensive workshop held in Barbados July 2nd-July 10th.
FIG is the international governing body for gymnastics and the Academy courses aim to improve the level of coach education throughout the world. Joining 27 coaches from Barbados, Trinidad, and Puerto Rico, Bermuda coaches Mandi Baughman, Tina Durham, and Kim Dowling participated in the women’s artistic gymnastics course, while Magan Outerbridge focused on the men’s artistic side.
The course load included lectures in biomechanics, anatomy, physiology, and psychology which culminated in a written examination at the end of the week. The courses were taught by Professor Keith Russell of Canada, who is also the President of the FIG Scientific Commission.
In the afternoons, the coaches attended hands-on clinics on each of the gymnastics events, led by FIG experts Josee Cyr (Canadian Olympic Coach), Rhony Ferreria (Brazilian Olympic Coach and Professional dancer) and Jose Sucart (Puerto Rican Elite level Men’s Coach). To complete the course, each participant had to give a ten-minute “clinic style” presentation on how to coach a skill, integrating the information learned through the week.
All of the Bermuda coaches thoroughly enjoyed the experience and were challenged daily to improve their skills. Tina Durham, who heads up the BGA’s program at Sandys360 said, “The overall experience was awesome, being able to work with other coaches worldwide, and to learn from the different techniques and skills they offered. I’m very excited to get back to the gym in September!”.
The course was of particular value to Magan Outerbridge, who will be instrumental in developing Bermuda’s competitive boys program this year. Outerbridge’s two sons have been involved in gymnastics for many years and she began assisting in the gym two years ago.
Now with two off island coaching clinics under her belt and two years of working closely with Bermuda head coach Duke Nelligan, Outerbridge is eager to take the program to new heights. In September, she hopes to have a competitive squad of seven boys training three times per week and a pre-competitive squad of ten boys training twice per week.
This was the first time that Bermuda had sent coaches to an FIG Academy and represents the BGA’s commitment to staff education and to developing Bermudian coaches.
Head Coach Duke Nelligan remarked, “Bermuda is so fortunate to have dedicated coaches and the opportunity to learn from some of the FIG’s best clinicians.
“I’m impressed with how our coaches have embraced the new training techniques and adapted them to the Bermudian athletes on their return. Bermuda is truly becoming a model of how to grow and develop gymnastics as a national sport: commitment to the athletes, the facilities, and our coaches”.
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