Fifteen years ago, from February 18-25, 2002, the first FIG Academy was held in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. Forty-three coaches from nine countries participated, representing Malaysia, Thailand, India, Singapore, Philippines, Hong Kong, Indonesia, Vietnam and Pakistan.
The course was led by Adrian Stan (ROU) and lectures were given by the experts Hardy Fink (CAN) and Tim Lees (AUS) for Men’s Artistic Gymnastics, Brian McVey (CAN) for Women’s Artistic Gymnastics, Nellie Kim (BLR) for dance, choreography and Balance Beam artistry, Keith Russell (CAN) for anatomy and physiology, John Palmela (USA) for psychology and Patria Hume (NZL) for biomechanics and first aid.
Former FIG President Bruno Grandi (ITA) and former Secretary General Norbert Bueche flew in for the closing dinner, where they made speeches and gave out the certificates.
To date, more than 8,000 coaches from 127 different federations have participated in a total of 251 Academies.
The coach education programme, which expanded with the worldwide introduction of the Age Group Development and Competition Programme in 2011 and entered an agreement with the IOC Olympic Solidarity Programme to combine courses in 2014, is unique in the world of amateur sports. It enjoys an enormous amount of administrative and financial support, not only from the FIG, but also from the many federations whose contributions in hosting, teaching and helping to develop the curriculum is vital to the great success of the programme.
Spreading the message of safe, healthy and systematic training of gymnasts towards excellence, the various programmes aim to ensure greater worldwide consistency in the content and focus of coach education. Special efforts are made to provide coaches with an understanding that the 11-15 age period is critical for gymnasts; during this time they are capable of learning complex aerial skills quickly, but are also susceptible to debilitating acute, chronic and overuse physical injuries, as well as emotional and psychological damage.
 
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