Conditioning, moving up, coaches working with HC's,and working out apart from a coach

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Linsul

Active Member
Sep 19, 2008
876
Pripyat
These things have come up a lot, so I'm going to throw in my take.


Conditioning:

It's not just about strength! We also introduce new body positions and shapes here. Very rarely do we ever just introduce a new skill to a totally 'green' gymnast. This is advantageous for a few reasons. One is that it allows us to anticipate potential hurdles for new skills for each gymnast. Two is that obviously it's also helping them get stronger in the process. Three is that it's just safe. Getting the skills positions right before adding momentum familiarizes the girls with what they need to do before going for it. Four: hey it's easier! Us coaches like easy as much as gymnasts when we can get it! Putting a skill you have the pieces of already together is less daunting and easier than starting from scratch. We like success, we like the girls not having to stress. While getting a skill is work, making the mountain a molehill before the gymnast sees it as such cuts out a lot of mental stress, and makes the goal a lot easier to focus on.

Another thing to add about conditioning is that sometimes actual drills are mistaken for it. When we break down a skill to very small pieces, it is a drill, and therefor worthy of that apparatus training time. Personally speaking, I have always had small groups, and they always had a drill when I wasn't right next to them. Hollow body hops back to the vault runway, blocking practice, laying on the floor doing a kip drill while on bars, all drills though they may not appear to be from the outside looking in.

Conditioning prep for harder skills is common, DD may be training up without you even realizing it!


Moving up:

This one is sticky, and where assumptions (or even reality sure!) of politics come into play. General rules apply to moving up at most gyms. What is often forgotten is that those rules are guidelines, not hard and fast law. We're dealing with people here, each individual gets some measure of gray in the black and white of the rules as such. I have never been a head coach, but no head coach makes decisions without consulting the coach of the level of the girls they're considering. Not in my experience anyway- there's my disclaimer! Parents are not involved in this meeting of coaching minds, and you probably won't see it during practice. I can't stress enough to communicate with your DD's coach, we remember what you say and do bring it up when we have the ears of the HC.

Aside from the rules of moving up we also consider things that are of a private nature. Things we hear from parents of gymnasts, the gymnasts themselves. Essentially the big picture, not only scores. Out of respect for the privacy for gymnasts and/or their parents, the reasons behind why some decisions are made HAVE to remain private even if they asked about. I can't even give examples of this because the only ones I have are current. Medical, economical, and personal overall goals are all considered. They are well meaning efforts to meet the needs of each gymnast. They are not all on the same path, try not to stress hard about it. Forgive minor inconsistencies where you can and trust that they are for a gymnasts good- especially if it's regarding a gymnast you are not the parent of. To be happy with a program and a gym is to be reasonably confident that there is nothing sinister or undermining going on.

Working with HC's or other coaches:

All I have to say about this is though you may know it's happening, you may not see it. A lot of what we learn from each other at the gym is in discussion apart from practice. Maybe the staff room, maybe dinner after work one night, it could happen anywhere where we aren't having to run off and coach at a moments notice. Where you will see another coach in practice is if spotting help is needed, or demonstration of a drill or something as such is required. You may not even see that. I've been shown things for L4's using optionals gymnasts before by a HC so he could explain the theory behind his thoughts knowing the gymnast could demonstrate safely and more thoroughly than a L4 could. In summation: we do work together, honestly! If you don't see it it's not about being covert, it's about having the time to devote our attention fully to the conversation or a thorough demonstration!


Working out apart from a coach:

A lot of what we do for individual gymnast skill progression is in the off season. Competitive season is mostly about cleaning up the details of routines and the team overall. If we have a event we're weak on as a team, we're working on it. For instance, if your DD is amazing on beam, but she's the only one who stands out, don't be shocked if she's still spending a huge amount of time on beam despite this. To remedy this sometimes girls who don't need a lot of time on a particular event are doing things safely without direct supervision elsewhere. Is it ideal? Nope! It allows them to work things they can do alone though while the coaches can go hard at something that's immediately pressing in a team sense. Even though a coach isn't standing right there, trust that they can still see and hear what's going on in the gym. Always ask questions when in doubt though, no harm in it ever.


So there it is. Hopefully it sheds some light on common issues seen from a parental perspective.
 
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