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The last few months have been way busier than usual. I've been engrossed in finalizing this huge new project that I’ve been working on, as well as producing two brand new coaches education videos. In fact, if you are a Platinum Elite Lifetime member of TheGymnasticsCoach.com, you’ll find those two videos already added to your online account in the members’ only area. Look for “Uneven Bar Complexes” and “Line Drills & Station Drills - Teaching Excellence.” Anyway… I've been incredibly preoccupied with this massive new project. As many of you may know, I’m all for slowing down and enjoying the good things in life. Red wine is a particular favorite of mine and I recently took a quick break to tour Napa in December. But in this case, being incredibly busy is actually a good thing. This is the first time I've mentioned...
The Essential 8 Success in any sport can be directly attributed to certain characteristics or talents. Ultimate performance is dependent on having mastered or having been born with a large percentage of these characteristics. In other words the more weaknesses that occur in any of the essential categories the more difficult it would be to experience a high level of success. Now of course success is relative to the goals and aspirations so I am referring to success at the top of the game. In a recent discussion I was challenged with naming the most important characteristics or traits needed to be successful in gymnastics. Keeping in mind that gymnastics was recently named the number one most difficult sport in the world, these characteristics need to be honed, refined and near the top percentile of excellence if we are to expect ultimate success. Below ...
I just had a lengthy discussion with a colleague concerning the pro’s and cons of allowing serious gymnasts to participate in the plethora of social events that arise throughout the year. Does allowing your athletes to participate indicate a lack of commitment or discipline? At what point does missing training for social events start having an adverse impact on your program? Believe me when I say my current stance on this issue has evolved and done a complete about face over the past 25 years. “No you can’t go to a football game, dance or birthday party, we have practice!” would have been my answer some years ago. Over time it became obvious to me that the nuclear fallout that followed enforcement of this hard lined policy was not nearly worth the aggravation. Close evaluation of a more lenient approach revealed that happier athletes were more productive lo...
COOL DOWN I am spending the weekend directing one of our Regional Hot Shot Training Camps. In watching and directing there always seems to be things that strike me as needing attention. Usually the weaknesses present themselves in areas that most simply take for granted. In being a coach that has always preached details makes the difference, I feel this is a message that needs to be driven home more often. In past blogs I have addressed the importance of a proper warm up and how it sets the pace for training. The benefits of a proper warm up go far beyond just getting the body loose for sports participation. A detailed warm up establishes a standard of excellence from the very moment the training begins. Great warm ups enforce perfection, effort, stylization, and discipline. This carries over to the event training to come later. Anyone who has ever attended a National Team Train...
Jealousy is an innate human trait. It lives and breathes in every gym and can be quite destructive if left un-managed. Wikipedia states: Jealousy is an emotion, and the word typically refers to the negative thoughts and feelings of insecurity, fear, and anxiety over an anticipated loss of something of great personal value, particularly in reference to a human connection. Jealousy often consists of a combination of emotions such as anger, resentment, inadequacy, helplessness and disgust. In its original meaning, jealousy is distinct from envy, though the two terms have popularly become synonymous in the English language with jealousy now taking on the definition originally used for envy. In using this as the base of reasoning we can start with the person responsible for the “envy” or causing the jealousy. In a team situation these people are often times considered ...
Blog: The Essence of Leadership Here is a blog article that ran in the USECA Newsletter. If you are looking for a great organization that provides lots of coaching tips and advice, check out the US Elite Coaches Association. I have stated many times that the technical aspects of our sport are attainable and within the reach of any aspiring coach. It is the application of this knowledge, and how you lead your troops that truly separates the good from the great. Much has been written on the topic of leadership in relationship to success, but H.A. Dorfman’s Coaching the Mental Game, nails it. In his book he outlines the characteristics of a great leader and it is quite interesting how easily you can see these traits in the most successful coaches in our sport. Mary Lee Tracy, Valarie Liukin, Kelly Hill, Tony Gehman, Todd Gardner immediately came to mind as I read...
8 Helpful Hints for Developing Balance I bet you thought I was going to be discussing balance beam tips… Nope Some athletes and coaches (and parents) fall into the trap of thinking that Gymnastics is Life rather than simply a sport which can be used for the betterment of. They pour heart and sole into becoming the best they can be. They are willing to sacrifice whatever is needed to reach their lofty goals and aspirations. This attitude is common amongst the high achievers of the world. The commitment to total dedication is commendable but balance in life is key to long term success not only within the sport itself but more importantly LIFE. Gymnastics is an age limited sport. The transition from cartwheels to real adult life dictates that we place importance on developing balance between sport and the things that will matter most years down the r...
A few months back my wife Kathryn and I were invited to present at a coaches seminar in Sydney Australia. At the time we wondered how in the world we could squeeze a 10 day trip into our already hectic schedules, especially with the competitive season looking us square in the eye. Squeeze we did and in hind sight we could not be happier. New South Wales was hosting the event and they covered every detail with class and precision. We have presented at many seminars and congresses but have to say that the Australians really know how to make you feel at home. From the onset it was very apparent that the coaches in attendance were passionate and hungry for knowledge. It was so refreshing seeing wide eyed coaches soaking up every bit of information they could. During the 4 day seminar we presented sessions ranging from beginner to advanced, covered the events, dance, conditioning, compl...
I am not sure most professional coaches fully understand their role in educating their athletes. Many fell into the role of coach due to their love of children and of course the sport itself. Step by step the enormous responsibility unfolded before us. Coaching=Educating. Sport provides us with the perfect classroom but it is not the related teaching of physical skills that should fill the curriculum. It is the life lessons that can be learned that make sports so valuable. Twistars upper level athletes have just finished a 5 chapter course on developing and building a strong mind. These tools will be invaluable not only in assisting the athlete with better training and performance BUT also as tools that can be used in life outside of the gym ... forever. Dr. Allison Arnold’s, The 5 Rings of Mental Toughness will serve us all well. The rings are: 1- Awareness- being aware of the...
Blog: 10X Rule of Greatness I am spending the weekend at yet another Region 5 Hot Shot Training Camp. This has always been my favorite age group to watch and work with. There is something about wide eyed youthful enthusiasm combined with idea sharing coaches that inspires me. Our Hot Shot camp is set for 3 days of honing and improving on the core basics. The athletes are absorbing the information like little “Sponge Bobs”. I love it. My role this weekend is camp director. I have the pleasure of floating amongst the 7 groups and offering my 2 cents on anything that might look like it needs attention. For the most part I find that the coaches are right on track with their corrections, and technical knowledge. But then again that has always been the easy part of coaching. With the wonderful education system that we have within...