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Fear Factor: The "G" Word

Friday, January, 27, 2012
By Lynne Smiley

Why is it that one simple word can illicit such fear in the hearts and minds of school administrators and teachers everywhere? You know, the “G” word – Gymnastics. If I called it “fitness” would that help relieve your racing heart palpitations?

Historically, gymnastics has formed the core of physical education programs throughout the world. Its foundation is based on physical training principles through the learning of fitness and movement fundamentals (balance, locomotion, rotation, springing, swinging, and landing), with or without, or on an apparatus. The training for greater fitness development in endurance, strength, power, flexibility, agility, speed and co-ordination, is the key to successful learning of any sport specific skills, not just gymnastics skills.

It is so important to our youth that schools, administrators, teachers, coaches and teacher advisors can offer a variety of activities for students by providing healthy, active lifestyles through sport, while providing safe environments for their participation in sport. With this in mind, let me take some of the fear out of the “G” word by providing information about the sanctioned OFSAA Sport of Girls’ Gymnastics.

In OFSAA Girls’ Gymnastics there are 6 competitive levels. Levels 1 to 3 are beginner levels for girls with little or no experience in gymnastics other than what they have learned in their school programs. Levels 4 to 6 accommodates the athletes who have club or competitive experience. This is a high school sport for girls, and the rules are designed to embrace the inexperienced and experienced athlete, yet is not exclusive to nor dominated by club trained gymnasts. Although many school teams may utilize gymnastics clubs (teacher advisor/teacher coach must be in attendance) to train in a safe environment where equipment apparatus is available, OFSAA Technical Rules mandate that a minimum of one practice a week must take place within their school which could be conditioning practice or working on choreography.

Gymnastics is uniquely different than any other of the team or individual sports offered to high school girls due to the artistic and creative nature of the sport, as well as the athletic skills involved. Besides Women’s Artistic Gymnastics, which is comprised of Vault, Uneven Bars, Balance Beam and Floor Exercise, Aerobic Gymnastics is also part of OFSAA Girls Gymnastics. There’s that “G” word again.  If I called it “Sport Aerobics” would you start breathing again?

What is Aerobic Gymnastics?

Aerobic Gymnastics is another exciting and dynamic discipline of the sport of gymnastics. Its popularity is world-wide with programs operating from recreational (Aero-Gym), school-based programs to OFSAA, Provincial, National, and International competitive programs. Aerobic Dance (which allows more dance content) is the newest event category to debut on the world stage. Recreation or school-based programs call it Gym Dance.  
Aerobic Gymnastics is a creative combination of aerobic and dance choreography with fitness difficulty elements such as pushups, holds, jumps/leaps and turns. No tumbling is allowed although forward, back, and side rolls may be used for changing levels. It involves high-energy/cardio routines that maximize development of core strength, flexibility and power and is performed in a 12x12 floor area/space (a matted –spring floor is not required). In group routines, lifts are required; however, unlike cheerleading, propulsion on lifts is prohibited. 

OFSAA  Aerobic Gymnastics (aka Sports Aerobics)

Aerobic Gymnastics is a team competition. A team may be comprised of 4, 5 or 6 competitors. There are two competitive OFSAA Aerobic Gymnastics (Sports Aerobics) categories.

Open: This category may consist of teams from schools competing in artistic gymnastics or may be teams from schools that do not have or compete in the artistic gymnastics program.

Novice: All team members must be competing in Artistic Gymnastics Levels 1 – 3.  Each member of a school’s Novice Aerobic Gymnastics’ team must have competed as a member of the school’s artistic gymnastics team in at least one artistic gymnastics competition during the current competitive season. Members of the school’s aerobic gymnastics team do not have to qualify for an OFSAA artistic gymnastics event to qualify for the OFSAA aerobic gymnastics team.

Aerobic Gymnastics is an activity that can provide enhancement to existing fitness, dance or gymnastics programs in the curriculum; as well as offering the opportunity for high school competition in the sanctioned OFSAA Sport of Girls Gymnastics. To see the sport in action, check out the video clip from the OFSAA 2010 Provincial Championship

No need to fear the “G” word any longer. Please contact your local Athletic Association for information on your Association entry process to attend the OFSAA Gymnastics Championship.

Resources Available to You
  • To learn more about the school-based gymnastics’ programs, workshop sessions are being offered at the OFSAA Women’s Sport School in May 2012.
  • For information on Aerobic Gymnastics please contact Lynne Smiley at 905-648-1662 or email bsmiley25@cogeco.ca.
  • If you would like to know about coaching courses available please visit Gymnastics Ontario website- www.ogf.com, call 416-426-7096 or email yuliana@ogf.com.
  • The Technical Rules & Playing Regulations are located on the OFSAA website here.

Lynne Smiley is a retired teacher and former member of the OFSAA Gymnastics Sport Advisory Committee.

Nominations Being Accepted for OFSAA Vice President

Friday, January, 13, 2012

The Ontario Federation of School Athletic Associations (OFSAA) is a provincial federation of Associations encompassing volunteer teacher-coaches, students, and administrators. OFSAA is dedicated to the promotion and enhancement of the educational value of school sport. As an advocate for school sport, OFSAA provides leadership in advancing the educational benefits of participation through its services, resources and the conduct of secondary school sport Championships.

OFSAA is currently accepting nominations for the position of vice president. In this six-year volunteer leadership role, the person chosen to be vice president will serve a two-year term beginning in 2012-13, followed by two years as president, and then two years as past president.  All nominees must be either a principal or a vice principal and be able to commit 7 - 12 weekdays per year for meetings and functions. Click here for a description of duties.

An Association Representative may nominate an individual for this position by emailing Doug Gellatly at doug@ofsaa.on.ca. This should be done after consultation with their Association's principals' representative.  A resume summarizing the nominee's experience and accomplishments in education and school sport must accompany the nomination. In addition to the resume, please include the following information for both the nominator and the nominee:

  • Name of association
  • Telephone number
  • Email address
  • Name
  • Telephone number
  • Email address
  • School name and address

The deadline for nominations is February 29, 2012.

Nike Grand Prix Track Event

Wednesday, December, 21, 2011
Please note we are still accepting applications for girls' teams only. The deadline has been extended to February 3, 2012.

School Sport Canada is presenting the first ever Nike Grand Prix, a track event in Toronto from May 10-13 involving students from all over Canada. This is not a national championship, but an opportunity for student-athletes from across Canada to gather together in a cultural, educational, and competitive forum.

Each province and territory in Canada is permitted to send one boys' and one girls' track and field team to this event. Each team will consist of 13 student-athletes and two coaches from the same school (smaller schools with less than 13 interested students may combine with another smaller school to form a team). Teams will have the opportunity to take part in a weekend of activities in Toronto that involve tourist attractions, educational panels, social activities, and a one-day track and field meet to showcase the student-athletes of Canada.

The Nike High School Grand Prix is open to students from Grades 10-12, and will be a one-of-a-kind experience commemorating school sport in Canada. The aim is to:

  • Inspire excellence in high school athletes
  • Unite student-athletes from across the nation
  • Celebrate the sport of track and field in Canada!

Teams will be chosen by a committee of educators based on leadership, school involvement, track and field experience, and their response to the following question: What does your team expect to learn from participating in the Nike Grand Prix and how will your team use the experience to positively impact your school and its track and field program?

Interested schools are asked to apply by February 3, 2012.

Please click here for further detail about this event.

Please click here for further detail in French.

Nike High School Grand Prix Application Form

Events offered:
  • 100m
  • 200m
  • 400m
  • 800m
  • 1500m
  • 110m hurdles
  • Long jump
  • High jump
  • Shotput
  • 4 x 100m (combined with other provinces to form a team)

The Value of High School Sports

Tuesday, December, 6, 2011

If you are a student, student-athlete, coach or parent, we need your help!

OFSAA is gathering data on the value of high school sport, and we need you to complete a survey and let us know your views. The results of this survey will be collected anonymously and analyzed to provide insight on the value of sport in Ontario's education system.

Please provide us with your views on school sport by completing one of the following surveys, depending on your role in high school sports:

STUDENT -  https://www.surveymonkey.com/s/OFSAA_student

COACH -  https://www.surveymonkey.com/s/OFSAA_coaches

PARENT - https//www.surveymonkey.com/s/OFSAA_parent

OFSAA Fall Championships

Tuesday, October, 18, 2011

OFSAA has many upcoming events this fall! For more information, click on the championship name below to be taken to the website.



Girls' Field Hockey Thursday - Saturday, November. 3 - 5
Cross Country Saturday, November 5
Boys' A Volleyball Thursday - Saturday, November 24 - 26
Boys' AA Volleyball Thursday - Saturday, November 24 - 26
Boys' AAA Volleyball Thursday - Saturday, November 24 - 26
Boys' AAAA Volleyball Thursday - Saturday, November 24 - 26
Girls' A Basketball Thursday - Saturday, November 24 - 26
St. Catharines
Girls' AA Basketball Thursday - Saturday, November 24 - 26
Girls' AAA Basketball Thursday - Saturday, November 24 - 26
Girls' AAAA Basketball Thursday - Saturday, November 24 - 26
Belle River
Boys' Football Bowls (Festival) Tuesday, November 29

OFSAA Launches New Website

Thursday, September, 1, 2011

We are pleased to announce that OFSAA has launched a new website!

We are excited with the results and expect the new site to be easy to navigate, as well as user-friendly.

All of the information from our old website is still kicking around, along with some new information, features and pages! Please browse around and let us know if you have any questions!

Grade 9 Try Day Funding is Now SOLD OUT for 2011-12

Tuesday, August, 30, 2011

The 2011 Grade 9 Try Day program where schools receive funds to introduce a new sport or physical activity (thanks to a grant from the Ministry of Health Promotion and Sport) is now SOLD OUT.

Funds were allocated on a first-come, first-served basis and 95 schools received funds to introduce new activities into their programs. Priority was given to new applicants, and small and rural schools.

We hope to continue this program next year, so please check back!

For more information, check out our Try Day page!

NCCP Super Clinic: September 16-18, 2011

Monday, August, 29, 2011

Bill Crothers Secondary School: Unionville Ontario

Student-athletes are not the only ones getting a chance to advance their knowledge and preparation for competition at Bill Crothers Secondary School. The Coaches Association of Ontario and Bill Crothers Secondary School have joined forces on a new multi-year concept to move coach education beyond the classroom.

Ontario coaches from a variety of sports are invited to complete their National Coaching Certification Program training inside a state-of-the-art sport school - the first of its kind in Ontario.

Registration is now open for the inaugural NCCP Super Clinic from September 16-18, 2011. Prices vary per course and coaches can apply for Quest For Gold Bursaries on eligible NCCP courses.

The following NCCP courses will be offered over the course of the weekend:

Sport Specific

  • Field Hockey (Introduction to Competition)
  • Rugby: Introduction to Competition
  • Sport Coach in Athletics
  • Table Tennis (Introduction to Competition)
  • Community - Initiation for Ultimate
  • Field Hockey (Community Coach)
  • Golf (Community Sport Future Links Leader)
  • Softball (Keep Coaching)
  • Speed Skating - FUNdamental Coach
  • Softball (Learn To Coach)
  • Speed Skating - FUNdamental Leader
  • Softball (What to Coach)
  • Weightlifting: The Club Coach Certificate
  • Baseball Initiation Workshop
  • Cricket (Kanga Ball Cricket Level 1)
  • Volleyball 1
  • Badminton (Community Course)
  • Field Hockey (High School Clinic)
  • Football: Novice Coach
  • Swim 101


  • Managing Conflict
  • Leading Drug Free Sport
  • Developing Athletic Abilities
  • Psychology of Performance
  • Prevention & Recovery of Injury
  • Fundamental Movement Skills
  • Make Ethical Decisions
  • Coaching & Leading Effectively

Visit www.coachesontario.ca for more information.

OFSAA Bridging the Gap Continues through 2011-12

Thursday, August, 25, 2011

We're excited to announce that the Bridging the Gap grant program has been extended until the 2011-12 school year to allow more schools to take advantage of this great opportunity. 

In this program, secondary school leadership students teach students in their elementary feeder schools the sports of flag football, flag rugby, and ultimate.

Need more information?

2011 Brian Maxwell Memorial Scholarship Recipients

Tuesday, August, 16, 2011

Congratulations to the 2011 Brian Maxwell Memorial Scholarship Recipients!

OFSAA is pleased to announce the winners of the 2011 Brian Maxwell Memorial Track Scholarship: Tristan Woodfine from Opeongo High School in Douglas, and Chelsea Mackinnon from Westdale Secondary School in Hamilton. Both received awards in the amount of $5,000.

Recipients of the $1,000 Recognition for Excellence Award are William (BJ) Cunliffe from Courtice Secondary School in Courtice, and Laura Morrison from Catholic Central High School in London.

The four recipients of this prestigious scholarship were presented with their awards on Wednesday, August 3 at a luncheon at the Sport Alliance of Ontario building, which featured family and former teammates of Brian Maxwell.

Brian Maxwell was a successful distance runner, as well as the founder of Power Bar.  This scholarship is awarded each year to two student-athletes who are continuing their post-secondary education at a Canadian college or university.  For more information about Brian Maxwell and the scholarship, visit the scholarship information page.


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