Mat time, as it has been to known to be called in our gym, is so critical for upgrades to our team’s difficulty level. First, we start every inversion skill in a safety harness for several weeks, months, or even years (for doubles). Once the athlete has gained competency inside the harness, we will allow them to perform the move with a crash-mat thrown underneath. The crash mat reduces any minor injuries such as scuffs, bumps, bruises, and skin-burns that may happen when learning a new skill. Furthermore, we like to teach the athletes to “pit” their own teammates, because this helps improve of camaraderie of the Team. It develops a positive atmosphere where the athletes all encourage and support each other. Having teammates “pit” you, also teaches the pitter to predict and estimate the trajectory of the performer. The pitter begins to have “coach” eyes just from watching the take-off and preparatory bounces. We prefer to run Mat Time about 1 – 2 times per week, at minimum. The important thing to remember about Mat Time, is just because the athlete has successfully landed a skill once, twice, or even 10 times, it doesn’t mean that he/she is ready to perform it without the mat. Have them stick with it for several weeks or months more even. Rushing the removal of the mat can and often will lead to the pupil adding in some new errors and mistakes later down the road.