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For Coaches problem gymnast - not thinking before doing a skill

  • Thread starter jes.the.gymnast
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jes.the.gymnast

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i am currently coaching a level three team and have been trying ti push their skills. i have one girl who when she thinks about her skills is one of the best gymnasts i have ever coached, she has amazing power for her age. but 90% of the time she just chucks her skills and doesnt think about them, this frustrates me alot and she gets upset when evertime she does something i am telling her to think think think.
do you have ways that i can get her to concentrate on what she is doing more ?
 
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CoachGoofy

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I've had a couple kids who did this.

One, her key word was "focus" and she'd get it right together. Another, "breathe. 1,2,3, go" (also worked for the mini mental block she got throwing 10,000,000 backhandsprings without thinking in between). Another girl...we started having her salute as though she were competing before she went, and she had to wait until we saluted back like a judge before she could start. It gave her time for reflection.

Good luck to your athlete, and to you.
 

Pineapple_Lump

Coach
Coach
Proud Relative
Judge
Jan 31, 2008
1,102
Require 'X' amount of good repetitions before moving onto the next skill, if that means she stays on beam the entire practice (assuming you can do this in your gym) when she really wants to be at bar, so be it. Better to do two skills correctly than every skill incorrectly.

Did you see the poetry in motion documentry? I loved the quote from Ju Ping regarding girls trying not to finish their daily program. Something along the lines of 'Every training is a brick in the wall' If you don't complete your training then we can't build our team'
With my gymnasts, everything they do is a brick in their wall and they can't have weak brinks. They must finish everything to an acceptable standard. I think of the wall as more of a pyramid, you can only go so high if you have a small weak base.

Perhaps you could have a star chart for the gymnasts, or allocate tramp/free time for desired training behavior. Also instead of telling her to think, ask her how it felt, where her body was etc... (also when skills are done well) 'Think' is pretty broad, think about what? be more specific with what exactly she needs to do.
 

fuzi

Coach
Coach
Former Gymnast
Gymnast
Judge
May 28, 2009
1,059
Region I
Country
USA
Pineapple_lump had some great suggestions.

I've also found that sitting down with a gymnast and having an honest talk can help. Tell her what you've told us: That I see a lot of potential here and when you think about what you are doing, you do a great job. However, I worry about you just throwing your skills without thinking about them. That is how people can get hurt.

You don't want to scare her, but sometimes explaining the safety aspect makes a big difference.
 

DearDeeDee

New Member
Jul 18, 2009
6
Southern California
Require 'X' amount of good repetitions before moving onto the next skill, if that means she stays on beam the entire practice (assuming you can do this in your gym) when she really wants to be at bar, so be it. Better to do two skills correctly than every skill incorrectly.

Did you see the poetry in motion documentry? I loved the quote from Ju Ping regarding girls trying not to finish their daily program. Something along the lines of 'Every training is a brick in the wall' If you don't complete your training then we can't build our team'
With my gymnasts, everything they do is a brick in their wall and they can't have weak brinks. They must finish everything to an acceptable standard. I think of the wall as more of a pyramid, you can only go so high if you have a small weak base.

Perhaps you could have a star chart for the gymnasts, or allocate tramp/free time for desired training behavior. Also instead of telling her to think, ask her how it felt, where her body was etc... (also when skills are done well) 'Think' is pretty broad, think about what? be more specific with what exactly she needs to do.

I know this post is about a month old, but I was intrigued. Stuck a chord. I'm with Pineapple_Lump on this one. When I was training/competing as a younger gymnast, I had the same "think" issues. It's part of the maturity process (in the sport). What worked for me was having a consequence attached to my NOT thinking. For instance, if I did skills and it was evident I wasn't thinking, I was restricted from doing those skills until I convinced my coach I'd always focus from that point forward. It was okay to fall; not okay not to think/focus. My coach knew the difference between an "honest" fall on a skill and a "not thinking" fall! Really no different than anything else when rearing kids -- bad behavior = consequence. My consequence was not being able to do stuff I really wanted to do until I convinced -- and then PROVED -- to my coach that I was mature enough to be trusted with the skills.

:)

~DearDeeDee
 
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JennMene

Guest
I am having the same problem with a girl I work with. When we moved her up to pre-team she was only 5 years old - but seemed awesome. Crazy strong, good flexibility ... and now she will not think. Come nearly two years later, we have made no progress on cartwheels on beam or BHS on floor or squat ons on bars.

If you tell her to bend her right arm and straighten her left in a RO Rebound - she will do it every time. You tell her "put your arms by your ears" and she will do whatever possible to NOT do it. I am getting so frustrated because it is not a matter of she cant do it - it is a matter of she will not think. It has gotten VERY old in having to tell her *every* time she goes how to do the skill. She is nearly 7 years old now and ought to know better.

We have tried everything. Restricting the skills completely - working one on one with her - making her write down what she needs to think about - making her work on her own - lecturing her - positive rewards when it is done right ... nothing has worked. We talk to her parents about it because we are worried that she will get hurt if she doesn't start thinking ... and her mother insists that she will "grow out of it" because "she is still young". Well ... no offence, but 7 years old in gymnastics is not little. There is no reason she should not be able to do a cartwheel on beam and a BHS on floor or a squat on on bars at this point.


I definitely understand your frustration.
 
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jes.the.gymnast

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my biggest worry is she will end up hurting herself. doing BHS when she doesn't think she hs done some really bad ones and landed on her head, i've always beens then to stop it and wont let her do it by herself but she just wont seen to snap out of it
 
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CoachGoofy

Guest
Are you sure it's a won't, not a can't?

We get the energetic, hyperactive, can't focus, and sometimes the clinically ADHD ones in our gyms for a reason. Being that kid is hard. Being that kid, and having every adult assume "won't" when it's "can't", is worse. My heart breaks especially for these kids when they really want to and the harder they try to think before going, or the harder they try to do what I ask, the harder time they have DOING it--definate can't-not-won't.

Just a thought.
 
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