The USA Gymnastics Trampoline Development Center program debuted in 2013, and four gym clubs were designated as Trampoline Development Centers: Mills Gymnastics USA in Southgate, Mich., Wendy Hilliard Foundation in New York City, California Sports Center in San Jose, Calif., and Suncoast Gymnastics Academy in Odessa, Fla. In its first year, the Trampoline Development Center program has already shown progress in delivering on its goal of developing trampoline and tumbling in the United States by incorporating competitive trampoline into the curriculum in gyms across the nation to expand its Olympic pipeline. The first two of six clubs for 2014 are Oconee Gymnastics & Cheer in Watkinsville, Ga., and Montgomery County Sports Performance Center in Harleysville, Pa.
“In just its first year, the Trampoline Development Center program has made an impact,” said Steve Penny, president of USA Gymnastics. “Not only have the four clubs added trampoline programs in their gyms, but 20 other gyms in the areas near the TDC clubs have also added trampoline to their curriculum. The number of athletes is on the rise and nearly 300 clubs nationwide have added trampoline and tumbling. We have mentor clubs across the country ready to aid any club interested in expanding its programming to include trampoline and tumbling.”
As part of the Trampoline Development Center (TDC) program, Joy Umenhofer, a member of the national trampoline coaching staff, makes three visits to each selected club to educate the gym, its coaches and athletes about trampoline. To complete the training program and earn the Trampoline Development Center designation, the selected gymnastics clubs host training sessions for coaches, athletes and officials; select a club trampoline team; and stage a local trampoline competition. The TDC program’s format provides clubs with the trampoline knowledge needed to establish and their programs by the conclusion of the third visit. All four of the TDC clubs from 2013 have entered athletes in competition and are hosting their own meet this spring.
“The feedback I have gotten from our staff, coaches, athletes and parents has been very positive and complimentary,” said Christopher Brown of California Sports Center. “The experience overall has been beneficial, and the knowledge gained allows us to boost our existing programming. We have hired a head trampoline coach to join our other coaches, who are learning the ropes. This year, we are re-doing the curriculum for our rec tumbling and trampoline classes to align with T&T levels, which should provide a steady stream of kids into our team groups.”
Oconee Gymnastics & Cheer and Montgomery County Sports Performance Center are the two clubs for the first quarter of 2014, and the deadlines for applying for the last four spots are March 1 and July 1. Member clubs of USA Gymnastics are eligible to apply for the Trampoline Development Center program, and additional information and the application are available online at usagym.org/tdc.
“We are so excited, honored and proud to be designated by USA Gymnastics as one of the 10 Trampoline Development Centers in the country and the only one in Georgia so far,” said Katina Rotsides of Oconee Gymnastics & Cheer. “Competitive trampoline and tumbling is the perfect addition to our existing competitive woman’s gymnastics and all-star cheer teams. We have recreational T&T and boys’ pre-team gymnastics as part of our program, but to offer a top notch competitive trampoline and tumbling program to boys and girls of all ages is above and beyond.”
Brad Davis said, “Montgomery County Sport Performance Center is committed to providing superior instruction for the burgeoning competitive gymnast, while guided by the underlying tenets of inclusion. We were honored to learn that USA Gymnastics named us as a Trampoline Development Center and are proud to carry that torch into 2014 and beyond. The very nature of the TDC concept is indicative of how ‘MontcoGym’ strives to run all of its programing. We look forward to working, learning, and growing with our students, coaches, fellow gyms in the region, and USA Gymnastics. Together, we will reach new heights!”
When Umenhofer makes her three visits to the TDC clubs, she hosts clinics to educate club staff on scheduling, coaching and teaching trampoline, basic skills, conditioning and flexibility, and progressions; talent identification development programs; and interactive coach and athlete training sessions. Each club also receives marketing materials, operational guidelines and curriculum support. In addition, other clubs in the area are encouraged to attend the coach education sessions and learn about expanding their programming to include trampoline.
Umenhofer is a member of the USA Gymnastics national coaching staff for trampoline and tumbling and junior men. She has coached several trampoline and tumbling national and World Age Group champions, as well as placing athletes on all trampoline and tumbling developmental teams. Umenhofer, a former gym club owner, is currently the head trampoline and tumbling coach at Matrix.
Athletes of all ages and body types can enjoy and benefit from trampoline, which also enhances skill development across all gymnastics disciplines. Trampoline may also retain athletes who are looking for something different from gymnastics or need to adjust to accommodate outside scheduling challenges. Additionally, the artistic gymnastics and trampoline competitive seasons complement one another, which makes it is possible for an athlete to participate in both. Many gym clubs in the U.S. already have trampoline as part of their programming, which has proven to be very successful.
Based in Indianapolis, USA Gymnastics is the national governing body for gymnastics in the United States. Its mission is to encourage participation and the pursuit of excellence in the sport. Its disciplines include men's and women's artistic gymnastics, rhythmic gymnastics, trampoline and tumbling, acrobatic gymnastics and group gymnastics. For more information, log on to www.usagym.org.