What training equipment is necessary to safely and effectively train a level 9/10? Are pits to tumble into really that necessary? What about coaching ability? How important is it to have a coach who can spot?
So, I do not have a kid who is training that high, but our gym does not have foam pits for bars or vault like others in our area. IMO, foam pits are disgusting, especially in times of a pandemic and many gyms have their pits closed for this reason, I think it is a health dept regulation in our area. Our gym has some sort of an inflatable contraption that is used for upper level training only. I am not sure of the brand but they call it the air pad. It is only used for the upper level girls (who are typically day program/ gym school) and is wiped down after every practice And really doesn’t come out for evening practices with the lower level kids. They also have many female coaches who are really good at spotting. There is a strong belief that only males are capable of spotting at higher levels. Our gym is only comprised of female coaches and owners.
Fairly important yes. Pits in particular, although that does not necessarily mean a loose foam pit. Most gyms use loose foam but there are resi pits, air bags etc. High level gymnastics takes a big toll on the body, so pits will reduce the risk of impact injuries. When learning skills there will be crashes, having those pits is very important to reduce injuries.
I feel spotting is less necessary. We spot a lot more with lower level kids, learning their first tucks, handsprings etc. These kids are still learning where they are in the air, and how these skills feel. We do a lot of drill work for higher level skills, the need for spot is less when you have lots of equipment to set up drills, can coach creatively and have gymnasts who are well trained. I find skills taught via spot are not as well learned as skill taught via drilling.