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For Coaches Interested in Coaching

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gymmomntc2e6

Moderator/Proud Parent
Aug 25, 2007
2,842
North Carolina
Hi - I am interested in coaching and I am looking for advice on the best way to go about getting involved.

I absolutely love the sport of gymnastics. I have been thinking about talking the the HC/Owner of DD's gym about getting involved in coaching for a while now. I had planned on waiting until I was in better shape (recently began working out more) but last night she made a comment that she needs another coach. When I told her that I would love to coach she seemed as though she may be interested in the idea.

Obviously there would be on the job training, but are there any good books or articles that would help me as well?

I have been watching the team practice for over a year and rec practices before that - I do still get to watch some of the rec classes. I know some of the basic spotting ( was shown by coach when dd was working on BWO's and BHS etc). I also know the warm-up for the team and could do the L3 routines in my sleep ( okay - maybe I could not actually DO the routine, but I know them).

I understand watching and doing are two completely different things. But, I am very excited at the thought of the chance to do this and would really love any suggestions.

Thanks in advance.
 

gymdog

Well-Known Member
Coach
Former Gymnast
Proud Relative
Jul 5, 2007
5,121
They might start you in preschool, I don't really know but that usually is what I've seen, you don't really need to know a whole lot about technique to do it though, just like kids and understand the basic principles and of course safety/risk management. It is harder in some ways because you have to be a little quicker and more entertaining but you'd probably be more comfortable with them than a teenager would anyway.
 
K

KBT

Guest
Coaching is really fun and rewarding so it's awesome you're thinking of getting involved. I agree that they'll probably start you with low-level gymnasts, maybe in the rec program. (If it were me, I might not put a new coach in charge of pre-school; it may look easy, but pre-school has a whole set of unique challenges). Working with another coach who has a large class is another great place to start learning without having to be responsible for everything.

I'm sure your gym will have videos and training manuals to read. I also read (somewhat obsessively!) the skills and drills forum on this site and other sites like gymnasticscoaching.com, USAG, and youtube training videos. I also do a lot of observation of other coaches - something it sounds like you're already doing - to see how they run classes, how they set up drills and stations, how they interact with the kids.

When I first started coaching I would write up (or at least mentally know) exactly what my plan was for the day. I'm sure most coaches do this, but as a new coach it's especially important. It gave me time to think about what stations I could use, what drills to do to get my kids to where I wanted them to be, to learn how to spot things I wasn't sure about, to look up drills. I'd get to practice early to set the bars at the right height and move mats so I wouldn't waste class time. Every week I'd be grabbing another coach and a more advanced gymnast to practice spotting skills. Once you start getting hands-on, you'll have a better idea what to look for in articles and when observing.

I say apply for the job and go for it! No one expects you to be perfect at first, but it sounds like you're very interested in learning and willing to put in the time - very important qualities for coaches to have!
 

gymdog

Well-Known Member
Coach
Former Gymnast
Proud Relative
Jul 5, 2007
5,121
(If it were me, I might not put a new coach in charge of pre-school; it may look easy, but pre-school has a whole set of unique challenges).

I agree, but since the challenges aren't really technical, and someone who is creative and good with young children is equipped to deal with them. I know several parents with little to no gymnastics background who work with preschool gymnastics, and have had a lot of success. Depends on the person.
 
Jul 12, 2008
90
Charleston, WV
I know where you are coming from trying to get into the coaching scene. My advice would be to talk to one of the head coaches (if possible) and just follow them around for a while. Don't really worry about instructing anyone but to listen to everything the coach says and if you have questions, don't feel shy to ask.
 

Aussie_coach

Moderator/Coach
Staff member
Gold Membership
Coach
Proud Parent
Gymnast
Club Owner
Jan 4, 2008
3,453
Country
Australia
Many of the best coaches started out just like you, as a parent who had spent many hours in the gym watching and deciding to get involved, after developing the love for the sport through their kids.

I don't know how it works in the USA but in australia you do a coaches course and then every few months you can go and attend workshops to further your skills. Why not ask if there are courses and workshops available that you can attend.

I would also try enrolling in an adult gymnastics class yourself. There is knowing the theory behind coaching and then there is really understanding the things that you are saying. You dont have to be able to do everything the kids can do in order to coach it, but it helps to get a feel for things yourself.

Ask if you can shadow some of the current coaches and work as a volunteer helping out in the classes in order to gain some experience. Starting out in pre school or recreational gymnastics is not in fact the easiest way to begin, as it can be much harder to coach these kids who have little idea of what their body is doing and need to learn the absolute basics correctly. The discipline is also harder. It is often easiest to start out with lower team girls, they have the basics and fairly good understandings of their body. They usually have better behavior and want to be there because they love the gym.

Good luck, keep us posted on your progress.
 

gymmomntc2e6

Moderator/Proud Parent
Aug 25, 2007
2,842
North Carolina
Many of the best coaches started out just like you, as a parent who had spent many hours in the gym watching and deciding to get involved, after developing the love for the sport through their kids.

I don't know how it works in the USA but in australia you do a coaches course and then every few months you can go and attend workshops to further your skills. Why not ask if there are courses and workshops available that you can attend.

I would also try enrolling in an adult gymnastics class yourself. There is knowing the theory behind coaching and then there is really understanding the things that you are saying. You dont have to be able to do everything the kids can do in order to coach it, but it helps to get a feel for things yourself.

Ask if you can shadow some of the current coaches and work as a volunteer helping out in the classes in order to gain some experience. Starting out in pre school or recreational gymnastics is not in fact the easiest way to begin, as it can be much harder to coach these kids who have little idea of what their body is doing and need to learn the absolute basics correctly. The discipline is also harder. It is often easiest to start out with lower team girls, they have the basics and fairly good understandings of their body. They usually have better behavior and want to be there because they love the gym.

Good luck, keep us posted on your progress.

Thanks Aussie Coach, I am planning to talk w/ the Owner / Head Coach this week or next (she was w/ about 1/2 the team @ camp last week so this week may be hectic for her just getting back). I know they need another coach right now, but likely someone w/ experience. I did gymnastics for three years when I was about 11. I just love it and really want to be a part of it.

I appreciate all of the great advice. I have been reading a lot in the skills & drills forum and really watching even more closely at the gym. Wish me luck. :D
 
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