INDIANAPOLIS, March 11, 2013 – USA Gymnastics has selected two clubs to participate in the first phase of its pilot program to develop trampoline and tumbling in the United States. Mills Gymnastics USA in Southgate, Mich., and the Wendy Hilliard Foundation in New York City have been chosen as the first clubs to become Trampoline Development Centers. The initiative’s goal is to incorporate competitive trampoline into the curriculum in gyms across the nation to expand its Olympic pipeline.
"We are very pleased with the interest in this program and the number of clubs that have applied," said Steve Penny, president of USA Gymnastics. "The potential for the Trampoline Development Centers is unlimited, and I believe this program will help grow trampoline into our gymnastics community, as well as result in capable athletes getting into the athlete development pipeline. We are thrilled to announce Mills Gymnastics and the Wendy Hilliard Foundation as our first two partners in this undertaking."
"Mills Gymnastics USA is excited and proud to be designated by USA Gymnastics as one of the first two Trampoline Development Centers in the country," said Lanny Mills, owner and director of Mills Gymnastics USA. "Competitive trampoline and tumbling is the perfect addition to our existing competitive Junior Olympic men’s, Junior Olympic women’s, Xcel women’s and all-star cheer teams. Just as important to us, however, is the opportunity to interest more students in our recreational trampoline and tumbling classes, which exposes more children to safe and fun physical activity."
Wendy Hilliard of the Hilliard Foundation said, "We are so honored to be chosen as a Trampoline Development Center. We have always had trampoline as part of our program, and now through our partnership with the Harlem Children’s Zone, we have a great facility and students to develop a first-class competitive program."
To assist the two clubs in incorporating trampoline into their gyms, each club will have a monthly visit with Joy Umenhhofer, a member of the national trampoline coaching staff, from April to June. On the visits, she will host clinics to educate club staff on scheduling, coaching and teaching trampoline, basic skills, conditioning and flexibility, and progressions; available talent identification development programs; and interactive coach and athlete training sessions. Each club will also receive marketing materials, operational guidelines and curriculum support. In addition, local area gyms will be able to attend one of the coaching and athlete workshops during each visit.
From 2013-14, a total of 10 artistic gymnastics clubs will be identified to participate in the pilot program and become Trampoline Development Centers. For 2013, two more clubs will be selected after the July 1 deadline. Interested clubs may submit their applications for the July 1 deadline at any time, and any applicants that have already submitted paperwork but were not picked this time will be kept on file for the July 1 selection. In 2014, three clubs will be chosen following the two deadline dates, March 1 and July 1. Member clubs and registered businesses of USA Gymnastics are eligible to apply, and additional information and the application are available online at usagym.org/tdc.
Umenhhofer 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. Umenhhofer, 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.