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Rec Team Predicament and Lesson Plans

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Choctopus

New Member
Jan 16, 2012
2
Hello everyone, this is my first post on the forums! I've been coaching for approximately 5 years now after having absolutely zero gymnastics experience. I'm currently 23, I was a martial artist for several years who knew how to tumble and got picked up by a gym in 2007, I trained a bit and started out teaching rec classes and tumbling groups. About 3 years in, I got assigned as assistant coach to our gym's "rec team". We're considered a rec team because we only practice 4 hours a week (this is minimum, most girls come to open gym which is another 2 hours), but I certainly don't coach them like they're a rec team.

We have a lot of girls on our team, ranging from levels 3-8. These girls have come a long way for only being in the gym 4 hours per week. It wasn't until last year when I realized how serious I was about coaching, and how much I care about my girls. There are a few other teams in our gym, and we're pretty much the underdogs, but we have a lot of potential, and I see it in my girls who work just as hard as the 15-20 hour competitive teams. We don't get a lot of recognition in comparison to the other teams, but I'm trying to change that by building a strong foundation under these girls.

Now, I know we shouldn't compare 4 hours to 15-20, but it's hard not to when I think these girls can be just as good. I'm always explaining to them that they'll only take out what they put into the sport, not more, not less. I also realize that 4 hours is a very insufficient time to work out, but there's nothing we can really do about it.

I'm making sure they have good shapes (hollow, arch, etc.) first and foremost. What I'm really concerned about is our current warm-up, I'm trying to plan something that will hit all necessary areas, in my opinion:

Shaping
Conditioning
Stretching/splits
Leg tightness/toe points
Cardio/endurance

Given our warm-up is only 20 minutes long per practice, I was thinking of doing the following. I am open to all suggestions and recommendations:

100 jumping jacks or 10 floor laps (depending on how packed the gym is that day)
Basic stretches
Overstretched splits
Point and flex with therabands
30 second hollow hold (x2)
30 second arch hold (x2)
10 straddle press holds (10 seconds each)
10 pike press holds (10 seconds each)
10 straddle press handstands with partner
20 leg lifts on bars
20 pull-ups on bars

I know this seems like a lot to accomplish in 20 minutes, but if we get things moving we can do it. Any ideas?
 
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bribri514

Guest
First off, welcome to the forum!

Secondly, the conditioning plan sounds like a good start. If time is an issue could you maybe make stations during practice to integrate the conditioning? Or maybe have girls do segments while they're waiting for turns?

You said your girls are rec girls from a wide variety of levels and there's competitive teams in the area and you're the underdogs. This sounds like you're competing against them... are you in a local rec league? I think it's important to talk with your girls and understand why they're in rec. Do they not want the commitment that comp gym requires? Did they come close to burning out? Maybe they're working their way up? Know that is really important to how you train them. Obviously having a bunch of girls who are aspiring to be on a competitive team will be different than having a bunch of girls who came to rec after being on a competitive team.

Good luck! You've come to the right place :)
 

GTO

New Member
Oct 6, 2011
23
Canada
I am with BriBri, you say that you have just realized how serious you are about coaching - perhaps you should look for a coaching position with a competitive team... The important issue is why the girls are signed up with your group! It is about them and they are not just an outlet/means for your ambitions. Just saying (in a cautionary voice as a parent whose child used to be in the rec. group and switched to comp. when her needs changed)
 

Kiwi

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Jul 14, 2010
1,381
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I think it depends on what the girls want. At our gym, all rec classes are only one hour per week and are nothing like the competitive training, and there is nothing in between. There are girls who retire from competitive gym who I'm sure would love to continue doing 4 hours a week, but don't have that option here.
 

Choctopus

New Member
Jan 16, 2012
2
Thanks for all the replies! Let me clarify a little better:

Our team is allowed to compete only at home meets, which is twice per season (January and April). Most of these girls either can't commit to the competitive team, aren't considered good enough, or can't afford it. It can also be any combination of the 3. However, our girls have the mindset that they're not a rec team, they come in early for practice to get bar conditioning in and they work hard when they're here. They're not aspiring to move either, I think they're happy with the team they're on because we don't treat them like a rec group. We compete USAG, by the way, and I'm certainly not using them as an outlet for my ambitions, this is what they want. A few of the upper level 7-8s want to get a college scholarship for gymnastics. Also, Bribri, thanks for the advice, I always make sure I throw in some conditioning stations when on an event. We do have girls who are working back tuck on beam, giants, front-front vault... which is very impressive for 4 hours per week. Sorry if I came off like a hard-***.
 
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bribri514

Guest
Sorry Choctopus! I didn't mean for my comment to come across like you're reflecting your own desires on your team, it definitely doesn't seem like that at all. You seem like you're there to put 110% into your team even if they're not competitive USAG girls and that's really really great! Your girls seem very lucky. I just mentioned to see what their goals and desires are because depending on why they're there, will fit in a lot with your planning and conditioning program. Their skills seem really impressive for 4 hours a week. Is there any way some of the higher level girls who want to go on to college can practice more? Not saying 25 hours like some gyms but maybe an extra session? I hate it when things exclude girls from gym, especially finances (that affected my gymnastics when I was older). It's great you're working to make as accessible as possible for your team. If that's not possible maybe your girls could get together outside of the gym and do a conditioning session once a week? That will give you more time to practice skills in practice, and your girls will form more a team bond and you can have more conditioning which will help in the gym a lot. You could even go for outside team runs when it gets nicer, go to a local rec center and use the giant balls for abs and other stuff, etc. etc.
 
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