58 coaches and judges gathered in Lake Placid, N.Y., during the 2018 Rhythmic Open Championships to attend a coaches’ and judges’ clinic focused on beginning group instruction and an introduction to collective work. This was the first in a series of educational workshops planned over the next three years to empower coaches with the knowledge and confidence to start teaching young groups; in 2021, group will be a required aspect of the Level 4 program.

The clinic was led by Junior Olympic Development Coordinator and former World Championships Group coach Elena Savenkova, with hands-on learning activities around the types of coordination and skill development required for learning and teaching collective work. As one participant reflected on a partner activity: “It was not easy to coordinate the two of us going through at the same time. But we made the best of it.” A perfect summary of how challenging the level of coordination is and how crucial teamwork is!

Integral to the physical skills are the basics of effective communication which are essential to the learning and teaching process in Group, and Dr. Mara Smith was on-hand to lead coaches through some activities around basic group communication. Another coach summarized: “It was so much fun and a great learning experience. [I] have lots of great ideas after the clinic.”

The National Rhythmic Educational Clinic on June 8th in Greensboro will be open to coaches, judges and parents during the USA Gymnastics Championships and will include a seminar on Group development and communication. Group is represented in the Olympic Games, Pan American Games, World Championships, Pan American Championships, and future Junior World Championships as well as the U.S. Open Championships and USA Gymnastics Championships.