Alabama Gymnastics Facilities
The Frances Smith Gymnastics Practice Facility
Long one of the most well-designed and spacious training gyms in the nation, the Frances Smith Gymnastics Practice Facility was revitalized during the summer of 2012, giving it a new look that included all new crimson matting among other amenities.
"Our facilities – from our practice gym and arena to the state of the art training and academic centers – are second to none," head coach Dana Duckworth said. "They allow us to train at a championship level every day."
The new look includes reminders of the Crimson Tide's rich championship heritage, highlighted by larger-than-life murals of the Tide's 2012 NCAA championship team and the 2015 Southeastern Conference championship team, as well as several Alabama legends.
The hallway that leads from the gym also features seven images that are highlighted by words that define Crimson Tide gymnastics tradition of excellence.
"When our ladies walk down the hallway and into the gym, they are reminded all the time of the ideals that built this program into what it is today – tradition, family, excellence, heart, service, champions and leadership," Duckworth said. "You can't help but be inspired to do your best to uphold that tradition of excellence and legacy of champions."
The Tide's team suite also received upgrades during 2012, including new hot and cold therapy tubs in the gymnastics training room which has been extremely beneficial in terms of preparation and recovery when it comes to both practice and competition.
All aspects of the complex come together in a marriage of form and function that gives Alabama a training edge. Countless hours went into designing the 12,500 square-foot gym, creating a facility that is both beautiful, but designed to minimize and alleviate the impact of training on the gymnasts' bodies.
Multiple soft landing pits are available for all four apparatus, giving the Tide the freedom to train skills in enhanced safety. That setup also gives Alabama the capability of teaching a variety of skills at the same time.
The main practice area includes an in-ground trampoline and tumbling strips. The sound system that drives the Tide's practices surrounds the floor exercise area with the same level of sound Alabama will encounter in a meet setting.
The practice gym also includes a state-of-the-art video analysis system, provided by the Tide's booster organization, The Medalist Club.
"It is an unbelievable tool in the gym," Bryan Raschilla said. "It's like having three extra coaches."
The system has several playback and analysis options that are in use every day in practice, allowing the coaches to provide instant feedback on a routine. Having three complete systems in the gym running at all times allows the coaches and gymnasts constant analysis. The system also helps compress the time it takes to make a change to a skill or routine, allowing the gymnasts to get more out of each practice.
"The video system is a huge help for us," 10-time All-American Ashley Priess said. "It allows you to make corrections quicker, which ultimately helps you improve faster and more efficiently."
In addition to a variety of playback options, the coaches can also compare and contrast routines using a variety of tools within the Dartfish Pro software.
"If we really want to get in-depth and break down technique and skills, we can use the system's SimulCam and StroMotion features which were both used at the Olympic Games," Raschilla said.
The video system is just the newest technical addition to Alabama's state-of-the-art training facility. The equipment is arranged to make the flow of practice extremely fluid. There are five uneven bars stations, six balance beams, two vaults and an oversized floor in place.
A separate 2,000 square-foot strength and conditioning/dance studio is connected to the main practice area and includes the Tide's cardio equipment.
Prior to the 2016 season, Alabama added a Pilates studio to its training suite. Located next to the Tide's strength and conditioning/dance studio, the studio contains top of the line Pilates equipment and is designed to help the Crimson Tide to be their very best. The Pilates studio was also funded by The Medalist Club (www.GymTide.com).
"We're excited to have this addition to our facility," Duckworth said. "To be able to integrate Pilates into our routine and to have the equipment right next to our practice gym is a huge bonus for our ladies. We are so grateful to The Medalist Club for continually providing our program with everything we need to be the very best we can be."
In addition to a fully equipped training room, the Tide's team suite includes the locker room as well as a team room that includes study and computer stations and a meeting space.
"I love the fact that our ladies have everything they need all in one place for both practice and meets," Duckworth said.
There are few atmospheres better in collegiate athletics than a gymnastics Friday night in Coleman Coliseum - from the roar of the crowd when Alabama marches in through the last routine. That atmosphere has only improved over the last several years following major upgrades to the main arena of Coleman Coliseum aimed at enhancing the meet-day atmosphere. The new amenities feature an array of state-of-the-art video boards, including a center-hung display that features four massive, high-definition video panels flanked by two video rings. The entire unit weighs more than 12,000 pounds. The center-hung display is accompanied by a pair of video and stat displays on each end of the facility.
The latest enhancements also include more floor seating for the fans, bringing the crowd closer than ever before to the action.
Coleman Coliseum saw its greatest transformation prior to the 2006 season when the entire facility was updated in grand fashion. Behind a bold modernized facade, the interior lobbies and concourses were expanded and upgraded. In the main seating area, 15,000-plus seats, all theater style, welcome gymnastics crowds along with a 6,400-square foot club area along the east side of the arena.
All this enhances Coleman Coliseum's reputation as one of the best places in the nation to watch gymnastics. Since the gymnastics team began competing in the Coliseum in the late-1980s, Alabama has hosted some of the biggest gymnastics meets in the country including the 1991, 1996 and 2002 NCAA Championships and the 1988, 1993 and 1999 SEC Championships. The Tide hosts its 14th NCAA Regional Championship in the spring of 2016.
The Coaches Office Suite
The Coliseum also houses the gymnastics coaches office suite, which was renovated during the summer of 2012 to highlight a championship legacy that includes six national championships, nine Southeastern Conference titles as well as countless individual accolades. In addition to the coaches' offices, the suite includes a conference room and a workroom as well as offices for gymnastics' administrative staff.
The overall renovation to the Tide's athletic facilities, which entailed a more than $200 million capital building campaign, also included a new spacious strength and conditioning center and an athletic training center that is among the nation's very best. Both facilities are located in the Mal Moore Athletic Facility adjacent to Coleman Coliseum.
Directions to Coleman Coliseum
From Interstate 20/59 take Exit 73 on Highway 82 East (McFarland Boulevard). Continue on to the University Blvd. exit and turn right on to University Blvd. Continue on University Blvd. and immediately get in the left lane on to Paul W. Bryant Drive. Go past DCH Hospital on the left and into the University of Alabama campus. Coleman Coliseum is located on the left across from the Bryant Museum and Conference Center. Enter the main entrance to the Alabama Athletics Complex and drive directly to the front entrance of the Coliseum. The street address of Coleman Coliseum is 1201 Coliseum Drive, Tuscaloosa, AL, 35401.