Coaches MAG program for jr boys...what do you do?

DON'T LURK... Join The Discussion!

Members see FEWER ads

ChalkBucket may earn a commission through product links on the site.



I am interested to know what people (MAG coaches) feel is essential to start with new boys that start their program (conditioning and skills). For example do you start boys on Press to Handstand work from day 1, or manna work, or giants etc..
What do you feel are the most important things to do per each apparatus with boys that just start a MAG program (age about 5-6). I have a group of boys that are starting, and i am just interested in getting ideas, to improve the bosy program.

I think a press handstand is the single most important strength-related skill for boys to learn. It is used on every single event, and there are so many skills for which it is absolutely necessary.

Agreed......however do you start it immediately, or do you develop certain other skills first? Like a handstand?
Ah, I didn't realize you meant starting that early.

I do some minor work towards developing presses from day one. One of my favorites is from front support on a pommel horse, lean forward and lift the hips up as high as possible (as if towards a pike press), hold for 5 seconds, then lower back down. In addition to building press strength, this also gets new gymnasts comfortable leaning their shoulders past their hands, which is necessary for many skills.

I also train handstands from day one. Sometimes with a spot, sometimes against a wall, and sometimes just free standing (knowing that most of them won't even be able to hit a handstand for the first few weeks, let alone hold it).

I train pike supports from day one on parallets and p-bars. When I get an unusually strong kid in one of my rec classes, I sometimes challenge them to try a tuck planche. I've had a few kids who can hold a decent tuck planche for 10 seconds after only a week or two.
Hi i have totally forgot about the tuck planche. Its been a while since had it in our program, which has been dominated by girls.. Nice tuck planches..totaly in there.
Handstands ( supporting ) and front supports on pbars or a single rail. Hanging and walking on pbars, single rail. Doing this on HB while doing 1/2 turns. Rope climbs. Walking on pbar support. Hanging on rings and just swinging in a pike ( I find it's easier for them to learn to swing on rings than on high bar and easier for them to grip especially when they're grip is weak ).

Candlesticks. First just sitting from a tuck to inverted and landing in a nice tight tuck. Then pike, straddle. Eventually doing it into a straight hollow candle position including the sit down and get up portion.

I also use much of this: Link Removed

As an addendum to that there is planche while in the pushup position ( which tuck planche is instead used for boys, both should be done IMO ) as well as tuck or L hang and L sits. We also do seal walks with frisbees or scooters and straight leg crab walks.

Basic front, rear and side support on pommel horse and mushroom. Side support on PH being like a false scissor timer.

Link Removed

Handstand is one of those things in MAG that is even more important in MAG than WAG ( well it's probably just as important but we have more apparatus ). Everything ends up in handstand and not just going through it.

Before I start training presses much, I focus on something of a handstand. Sure, I have them do donkey kicks to handstand on tramp or floor, or jump press from a sit into handstand or seal drag press to pike. Of course mastery of a headstand is in there somewhere with the wall handstand.

What you describe Bob sounds very familiar, because i have included virtually all of it in the program haha.
Sounds like our approach to starting boys is similar....however is it good enough? Ahh i wish i had 2-3 training sessions with these little dudes, but sadly not yet. All in good time.

THere is so much to do, and so little time
Glad I caught this, before I started watching the BSAP video again.

Last year, at the gym I was at I had one boy who is in the rec kinder class. So, he was coming once a week for an hour and the other boys in his class were typical 44-6 years old. I had the choice of either inviting him into the boy's team program as a L2/3 or let him sit in the kinder program and continue on. He was also about the same size of another little boy on team who was the uberwonder and a year old. So they looked pretty cool together at the meets.

When I left in March, he had made what I thought were good gains from September or August when I inducted him into the Boy's Compulsory group. It took him awhile to get used to being with the big boy's and I had him start on 2dx1.5h/d. Very soon, him and his parents wanted him in more, so I bumped him up to 2.5/d, the entire compulsory workout ( which was only 3dx2.5h ). He turned 6 in October and I still thought he should be staying in friday karate class besides whatever he did M/W.

This kid went from basically having no skills to competing 3 events decently by March, and he could have competed Pbars or Pommel Horse but he was too intimidated ( our pbars were very high for young guys and typically made them quite fearful up that high or doing their handstand dismount ). I knew he was not going to be able to be ready for HB due to the long hang pullover and the fact of being up that high and doing a BHC or swing 1/2 turn. His grip wasn't very strong.

Midway through this he was making very slow gains. Honestly, he was not as focused as some of the other guys but that was to be expected. Eventually he landed his handstand back into a lunge instead of falling over and started doing full rope climbs. This was a big step up from a boy who could only hang on while I swung him around.

His PB swing wasn't nothing to be impressed by, but again the high PB and the fact they were too big for him, didn't help any. My focus for him was to do SR, FX, and V and maybe get PB in there. He could do PH, but it wasn't pretty as there wasn't too much of a swing into the leg cuts, besides there being extra swings.

He eventually got an 8 on FX late into the season and a 9 on V. Yeah, a straight jump onto an 8" isn't tough, but it's a 9 right? He was darn happy about that and I think he even got onto the podium for it. His rings were about a mid 7 generally due to form errors. He eventually got into doing small swings by March. I'll have to call them up and ask how they all are doing right now since I left in March.

Is it good enough? It's evolving IMO and that is the best that can be done. For right now, it is. Looking at what the gym I'm at now currently was doing when I got there, it is leaps beyond. Even if we don't have full boy's equipment ( no rings, no pb, no hb, no ph, no mushroom, so I set beams to parallel or do ph drills on beam ). Considering I had 1 piece of equipment per event, I thought I did as best as I could while I was there. Juggling between training routines and having to do 2 or 3 groups to really maximize on getting enough turns in was difficult as well as ages 5-10, besides an ADHD kid.

Honestly, my vision for MAG was to have fun and keep on a competitive route. I was a nazi enough, but not compared to some coaches I know in MAG that eventually burn out boys. That meant keeping them around till they were 15 where men's gymnastics really takes off ( well level 9 is 12 but that hormonal boost really sets it to another level ).
Two important things when starting a boy's program...

The most important concepts to teach young boys when starting a program is discipline, listening skills, and proper posture.

Until gymnasts can listen (active listening involved by looking into your eyes), understand what discipline you require (walking in a line, no talking when a coach is talking, proper team attitude) then you will have a tough time doing anything that you would like to do with regards to teaching young boys basic gymnastics.

Once you have 'gotten their attention' then you can start on what I believe is next: Posture. The entire artcile that I wrote for The Gym Press is what I follow verbatum for beginning children so they can understand body awareness and basic shapes involved for advancing into gymnastics.

Assuming you have those cornerstones down (a good 4-6 months to develop), then the process of strengthening muscle groups should occur. I would spend approximately 6 more months with the main objective being to get strong. Of course you must layer in some fun and basic level gymnastics here and there but the main objective is to build a strength foundation that a coach can layer technical concepts onto.

Use lots of patience and be strict with discipline to instill proper manners towards others and strict with the will to work hard everyday...anectdotes, metaphors, personal experiences, stories etc.. all do well to help mentally train young ones to understand that they are going to have to work hard because they have chosen (or in some cases their parents have chosen) the hardest sport in the world. Goodluck!

Thanks blantonnick for the response. When i started the boys almost 2 months ago now, the first 4 weeks was 1x2.5hr session where the idea was to bring them up to speed on learning the warm-up, shapes, names of skill etc.. I used a similar system to what you described in your article in TheGymPress, and do have to say it did work well. I could not agree more with
The most important concepts to teach young boys when starting a program is discipline, listening skills, and proper posture.
hopefully i have the communication skills to do this. This is an area that i feel i need the most amount of work on my coaching, effective communication. Even though it may seem like my communication methods are effective, i feel that this is a weakness that i need to address.

I have given 2 of the boys who come once a week, HomeGym Work (trademark name haha), after it was requested by the parents and the boys (i have never had such keen boys, or kids that wanted to do work at home, which is a very positive thing). So hopefully even though they can only come in once a week, they will work on stuff at home and will be able to build a decent level of preparation so that near the end of year, when they no longer have other sporting commitments they will be ready to do some of the cooler stuff.


DON'T LURK... Join The Discussion!

Members see FEWER ads

Gymnaverse :: Recent Activity

College Gym News