We all understand that there are only so many pieces of competition gymnastics equipment. What not everyone realizes is that the market for gymnastics equipment is not large, currently only about 3200 gyms in the whole United States, and that is not much of an incentive for equipment companies to spend large dollar amounts researching and creating new training equipment.
A Limited Amount of Products
The net result is that there is a limited amount of specialized gymnastics training equipment available on the market designed to aid in training for specific skills or training situations.
Coaches Often the Originators of New Training Equipment
What special training equipment there is, like tumble trampolines and rod floors, were originally designed and put together by coaches looking for a training advantage or a way to accelerate or improve training. From that point, either that coach or some sharp-eyed entrepreneur went into the business of selling the equipment.
Web Marketing of Equipment Now Possible
Before the advent of the Internet, the costs of advertising and marketing such individually developed equipment were often prohibitive and many useful pieces of equipment faded back into obscurity. Due to the low expense of web sites, marketing is no longer the restricting factor.
Custom Building Equipment is Expensive
Custom designed equipment is expensive to produce because there is no assembly line manufacturing and each item must be hand constructed, often using a number of assembly expertise requirements, like welding and upholstering.
Patents are Expensive
The equipment patent process is not an inconsequential fee costing several thousand dollars per equipment item. Successfully defending a patent can be expensive to attempt and difficult to enforce against other companies who take the basic idea, make a few changes and market their own version of an original design.
Show It Publicly First and You Can’t Patent It
Patent law, not that we are legal experts on the subject, also restricts the patenting of products that have been publicly displayed or marketed. Once you show it publicly, you lose your right to patent protection.
Consider Licensing Your Designs
We are familiar with these problems as we have approximately 67 custom designed pieces of training equipment which have yet to decide what to do about. There is always the possibility of licensing, in which after patenting an equipment idea, it can be licensed to a manufacturer and/or marketing company for a fee or a percentage.
Recovering Costs Slow and Difficult
Still, in our case, it would take us over $200,000 in patent fees just to get in a position to license our equipment ideas. Whether we would ever be able to recover those costs and the costs of negotiating licenses is a subject of debate.
Build Your Own One-of-a Kind
So in the area of custom designed gymnastics training equipment, coaches and gym owners are left to come up with their own ideas and build one-of-a-kind items themselves.
Find Some Help (Probably Available in Your Gym)
Our suggestion is that you try to obtain help from suitable trade craftsman with gymnasts in your program or community and design and build your own custom equipment stations.
Built and Built In Training Equipment Stations
What do we mean by custom designed equipment stations? Simply, pieces of equipment or sets of equipment pre-built and in place to train particular individual skill or skill types.
Minimize Mat Moving
Training time is severely limited and training needs are many in the sport of gymnastics. All coaches find themselves forced to make decisions about what skills and progressions to spend time on. Time spent moving mats and equipment around to train for a particular skill and moving equipment for individual gymnasts at different points in a skill progression waste valuable practice time that can never be recovered. Pre-built stations that remain permanently in place would allow recovery of this valuable practice time asset.
Add Training Stations for More and Faster Learning
Coaches can only spot one gymnast at a time and any equipment that could be designed to take the place of a coach spotting would be well worth the investment.
For More Information and Ideas:
These equipment concepts, other equipment layout concepts and gym design concepts are all covered in our Secrets to Gymnastics Gym Design e-Book.