The FIG Age Group Programme (AGP) began in the late 1990's with a world-wide review of the sport science literature related to the growth and development characteristics of a child as it progresses from birth to adulthood. At that time the information was used to inform the content, curriculum and focus of the FIG Academy Programme.
Beginning in 2011, with the partial support of the IOC, this information was supplemented with a comprehensive Age Group Development and Competition Programme for Men’s and Women’s Artistic and Rhythmic Gymnastics and more recently for Trampoline-, Acrobatic- and Aerobic-Gymnastics that are currently being introduced and tested worldwide.
The AGP for each discipline includes a testing, monitoring and development programme for physical abilities and technical skills as well as a complete two-stream multi-level competition programme with modified rules for age-group gymnasts and compulsory exercises for all ages. Also included is a variety of additional information related to developing a systematic Gymnastics programme that can lead to high performance.
The AGP for each discipline was developed under the guidance and direction of Hardy Fink, the Director of Education and Academy Programmes, along with specialists that served as a working group in each discipline.
As of June 30, 2018, the content of the AGP for the various disciplines has been introduced in 134 training sessions to 2634 different coaches from 106 countries.
All aspects of the MAG, WAG & RG programmes - Technical Manuals, videos of every physical and technical test and of the compulsory exercises as well as music are posted on this site. Enormous gratitude is extended to Lilia Ortiz López, Derick Scholtz and Helena Dias who spent months to prepare each of the nearly 800 videos with their gymnasts. The Rhythmic Gymnastics videos will be linked during 2018, Trampoline is expected to be fully online in 2019. Acrobatic and Aerobic Gymnastics will be completed and posted in 2020.
The entire programme is intended to serve as an athlete centered "recipe" for non-experts and for federations that do not have the expertise or resources to develop their own programmes. They are intended to safely and systematically prepare gymnasts towards high performance below the junior level. The Gymnastics sports have evolved in the past 50 years from being adult based to ones where intensive childhood training has become the norm. It is the adults that tell the children what to do and how much to do and too often the health and safety and care of the children is ignored. The FIG Age Group Programmes focus on quality of performance and health of children before difficulty. Higher difficulty can be trained at younger ages under safe conditions but should not be included in competition exercises.
There is no intention that federations must adopt the development or the competition portion of the AGP but it will be an enormously valuable resource and “recipe” for those that have no programme of their own.
However, the High-performance Levels 3 and 4 (HP3 & HP4) of the competition programme for Men’s and Women’s Artistic and Rhythmic Gymnastics is being highly recommended for all international age group competitions and will eventually be required for those international age group competitions that need FIG approval.
It is the first time that there is a common set of age group competition rules available worldwide for these disciplines and this has the potential to provide a variety of advantages and opportunities. Many countries will continue to use their own competition rules designed for use within their countries but will gradually begin to compete with the FIG age group rules when they compete internationally with other countries regardless of level. Trampoline, Acrobatic and Aerobic Gymnastics already have World age group rules and competitions.