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Xcel Advice Needed: Gymnasts aren't memorizing their floor routines.

CoachAngel

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I've been a competitive gymnastics coach for seven years now, and this is my second season as the head coach for our Xcel program. I've always choreographed the routines myself and taught them the same way. This season the problem I'm running into is that the Silvers just aren't memorizing their floor routines! The Platinums, Golds, and Bronzes are doing fine. These routines aren't particularly difficult, and we've been working on them a minimum of two hours per week since August. We have a meet in a week and a half and five of the girls still forget their routines half way through! I'm running out of ideas. I've drilled the choreo many times, given them written choreography and videos to practice at home, and done numerous dance-throughs with them. It's clear to me they aren't using their time appropriately nor practicing at home, but how can I enforce this? I'm completely out of ideas! We have three practices until our first meet of the season and I'm planning to focus HEAVILY on floor during those practices (that's only 6 hours of work for them).

TLDR; My gymnasts can't remember their floor routines despite working on them since August, and I'd love suggestions to help them memorize them!
 

jamieintexas

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Do they all have different routines? My Silvers all have the same basic floor routine with different dance and acro passes. This way I can work the routine as a group.
 

CoachAngel

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Do they all have different routines? My Silvers all have the same basic floor routine with different dance and acro passes. This way I can work the routine as a group.
Our Bronze gymnasts get the choice between two floor routines but since Silvers have to have competition experience, they get their own routines. We hadn't anticipated this being a problem since it never has been in the past! I'm just at my wits end as to why they aren't retaining the routines. Working as a group would be awesome, otherwise.
 

CoachAngel

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Maybe you can ask them to show their routines to another group. That might put them on the spot enough to make them take it more seriously.
We perform for the rest of the team, but that hasn't seemed to motivate them lately so I'm going to try this tonight! Maybe the pressure of doing the routine in front of kids they aren't comfortable with will do more.
 
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Sk8ermaiden

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As a parent I feel like I'd want a coach to grab me, or text me and let me know, "We run routines regularly, but Susie still hasn't memorized her routine and competition is a week and a half away. Can you please run it several times a day at home?"

Then it's on me and my kid to get it done and she either does the work or forgets her routine at a meet. Do the parents know though? I'd have wanted a heads up a bit earlier.

If you've already asked the parents and told the kids then there really isn't much more you can do.
 

ldw4mlo

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Tell the parents and make sure they have the videos and music.

And then when they forget at the meet their scores will tell them the story.
 

raenndrops

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All of the above advice is good. If none of that works, ... just "Let it Go!" As @ldw4mlo said, their scores will tell them the story.

Honestly, as long as they remember to do all of their required skills, it isn't a big deal for the first meet.
Heck, when my OG was in her 2nd year of Xcel Gold, she never did the exact same routine twice in competition. She would change up her beginning OR her acro passes OR her dance passage OR her ending OR more than one of these things.

My best advice for the future would be to make their routines as short as possible (30 seconds).

 

CoachAngel

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As a parent I feel like I'd want a coach to grab me, or text me and let me know, "We run routines regularly, but Susie still hasn't memorized her routine and competition is a week and a half away. Can you please run it several times a day at home?"

Then it's on me and my kid to get it done and she either does the work or forgets her routine at a meet. Do the parents know though? I'd have wanted a heads up a bit earlier.

If you've already asked the parents and told the kids then there really isn't much more you can do.
I talk to every parent after every practice, and having been telling them this is their “homework” for weeks and weeks now :/
 

ldw4mlo

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Heck, when my OG was in her 2nd year of Xcel Gold, she never did the exact same routine twice in competition. She would change up her beginning OR her acro passes OR her dance passage OR her ending OR more than one of these things.
Yep, There are 2 kids on my daughters team that change their dance stuff all the time. As long as they hit their passes and skills doesn’t matter.
 
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Carabistouille

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I guess there are two sides to this problem :

- gymnastics and score wise, the fact that they don't know their routines doesn't seem to be that big of a deal. They probably will score a little less than the ones who have nice routines but it's not the end of the world.

- from what you say, I get the feeling that there is also an underlying attitude problem, i.e. they can't be bothered to learn their routines, both at home (fair enough, they are not supposed to practise at home anyway) and at the gym (which is a bigger issue). Why is that ? Do they not feel choreography is important ? Do they feel insecure performing in front of others, hence "self-sabotaging" by not learning the routine at all (I have seen it, although usually with kids in their early teens) ? Do they only want to put efforts in the "fun" stuff (mainly acros) ?
You should try to identify the roots of the issue.
If their attitude is bad enough (not a self-confidence issue) and you feel that they are not putting in enough work/effort, I would even consider scratching them on floor at the meet, not because they would embarass themselves but because I don't feel it's good practise to let bad attitude fly. It might spread to other "less fun" parts of gymnastics (dance elements, conditioning...)

Also, you might want to emphasize the importance of nice choreo. Have an older girl (someone they look up to) tell the girls that actually know their routines that they look great on floor, something like that.

PS : I am one of these gymnast who improvise a little bit every time, mainly depending on how many time I have left. But I do know my routine and I never look like a lost puppy on the floor area. Improvising a little bit is fine if you do know your choreo / music / where you should be at any given time. I doubt OP's gymnasts are capable of that.
 

coachmolly

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Yep, There are 2 kids on my daughters team that change their dance stuff all the time. As long as they hit their passes and skills doesn’t matter.
I had an Xcel Silver kid last year who changed parts of her routine every time she did it. She knew the routine (I think), just liked to take a lot of creative liberties. I fought it for a little, then just let it go and let her do what she wanted because she was scoring okay and it just wasn't worth it. She generally did the same things, just a few additions here and there and I just drilled into her what absolutely had to be in the routine.

I think all you can do this week is keep practicing, show routines and see what they do when the pressure is on, and let parents know what's happening in case a meltdown does happen. I remember having a group of Xcel Bronze kids a few years back and I wasn't sure they were ever going to pull it together, but somehow I was pleasantly surprised at the first meet when they managed to get it together when parents and judges were watching. Maybe that will be the case with your kids?
I agree with the suggestion to do a mock meet type set up with another training group coming over to watch, just to see what happens.
Good luck!
 

CoachAngel

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I guess there are two sides to this problem :

- gymnastics and score wise, the fact that they don't know their routines doesn't seem to be that big of a deal. They probably will score a little less than the ones who have nice routines but it's not the end of the world.

- from what you say, I get the feeling that there is also an underlying attitude problem, i.e. they can't be bothered to learn their routines, both at home (fair enough, they are not supposed to practise at home anyway) and at the gym (which is a bigger issue). Why is that ? Do they not feel choreography is important ? Do they feel insecure performing in front of others, hence "self-sabotaging" by not learning the routine at all (I have seen it, although usually with kids in their early teens) ? Do they only want to put efforts in the "fun" stuff (mainly acros) ?
You should try to identify the roots of the issue.
If their attitude is bad enough (not a self-confidence issue) and you feel that they are not putting in enough work/effort, I would even consider scratching them on floor at the meet, not because they would embarass themselves but because I don't feel it's good practise to let bad attitude fly. It might spread to other "less fun" parts of gymnastics (dance elements, conditioning...)

Also, you might want to emphasize the importance of nice choreo. Have an older girl (someone they look up to) tell the girls that actually know their routines that they look great on floor, something like that.
I don’t think it’s self-sabotage with these specific girls because in order to be silver at our gym they have to have compete before in gymnastics, so they’ve all learned routines prior to this. Your idea about lack of motivation for the less “fun” areas of gymnastics seems spot on though. They always ask to work on higher level skills and are eager to tumble, but don’t want to perfect the skills they already have.
 

ladybird

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How many girls are we talking about here? If it’s a small number maybe they are just feeding off of each other?
 

CoachAngel

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How many girls are we talking about here? If it’s a small number maybe they are just feeding off of each other?
There are 5 who have some very little flubs here and there which I’m not so concerned about, but two who are just totally lost.
 

2G1B

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You've done your part. Give them corrections in practice. Send out a blanket email to the entire team reminding parents that it is "crunch time" and that the girls would be smart to be mentally running through their routines since some are still having a hard time remembering them. And then, drop it. If they don't put in the work they can deal with the scores. Since it is Xcel, if they choose to put other filler in than the original choreography then they should be fine. If they stand there like a deer in headlights, then they might realize that they need to memorize their routines.
 

CLgym

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Given the ages, I agree with @2G1B above. They are old enough to remember the routines and understand the consequences.... and will not be motivated by little prizes like a younger child might. Not sure there is much more you can do. My DD (also 11 years old) has a love/hate relationship with coach-scored mock meets done every week at her gym during practice this time of year. If you are not already doing this, it might help the girls better understand how their memory lapses will impact scores? Good luck
 

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