The FIG Academy Programme is the culmination of a worldwide education programme for coaches in six of the FIG sports (Men's Artistic, Women's Artistic, Rhythmic, Trampoline, Aerobic and Acrobatic). It was developed as a result of the 1994 FIG Congress decision that eliminated compulsory exercises for Artistic Gymnastics. The underlying philosophy emerged from a comprehensive world-wide review and analysis of the sport science literature related to the growth and development characteristics of a child as it progresses from birth to adulthood and how that knowledge should have implications for training.
That information along with an analysis of the world’s best practice and a strong “athlete centered” philosophy led to decision about what should be included in a coach education programme to assure the safe and systematic training of gymnasts in all disciplines towards high performance. With this, the Academy Programme has the goal to provide lesser developed as well as highly developed Gymnastics countries with a common knowledge base for the development of high performance gymnasts. If coaches follow the information and processes provided through the FIG Academy Programme, they will not be making any large errors in the development of their gymnasts.
The FIG Academy Programme has also been supplemented with a pre-Academy "Foundations of Gymnastics" curriculum developed cooperatively with the Gymnastics for All Committee. It is also supplemented with additional resource booklets in all of the sport sciences, technical manuals that include scientific understanding and methodology on each skill taught in each FIG Sport, and video-tapes of all skills that are presented.
The FIG Academy Programme consists of three levels of coaches' education. Federations may enter at a level that reflects their specific Gymnastics coaching education programmes at home and/or their international competition success. Level 3 candidates who meet special pre-requisites and achieve exceptional examination results will be awarded the FIG Coaches' Brevet.
The curriculum for each FIG Academy includes eight to ten sport-science lectures that have been prepared and focused to meet the specific needs of Gymnastics coaches. There are also extensive in-gym technical sessions for all pieces of apparatus or technical requirements for each FIG Sport as well as in music and artistic preparation, choreography and physical preparation. The content of each 7-day academy is about one-third theory and two-thirds practical lectures and the curriculum is now also fully integrated with the FIG Age Group Development & Competition Programme.
The FIG does not certify or license coaches. That is specifically the responsibility of each federation. The FIG will provide the examination results to the federation of each participating coach and then the federation must decide what status those results will confer on its coaches.
As of June 30, 2018, two hundred and ninety-two (292) multi-country FIG Academies have been held in 74 countries across all FIG disciplines since 2002. One hundred and twenty-five federations have participated with 4595 different coaches who, by attending several levels of the academy programme, have participated 7749 times. Two hundred and forty-seven experts from 44 countries have helped to teach at these academies. The FIG Coaching Brevet has been awarded to 365 coaches.
Approximately 25 academies are held each year around the world. Because the FIG cannot hope to teach all coaches in all countries, the FIG Academy Programme and all the curriculum materials can be licenced to eligible federations. In this way the FIG Academy content can become a significant part of their coaches' education programme and can be taught by the federations' own experts.