Viral motivation

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Geoffrey Taucer

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Jan 21, 2007
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I've had a running deal with the girls team that for any girl who gets a muscle-up on rings, I'll by them a drink from the machine at the front of the gym, and add their name to the records board where I keep track of the boys' records (consecutive double-leg circles, consecutive muscle-ups, etc).

For the longest time, none of the girls got it. Then, a couple weeks ago, one of my girls (just turned 10) got her muscle up, and has since made a point of trying to break her record of consecutive muscle-ups every time she walks by low rings (she can currently knock out 3 consecutive muscle-ups pretty consistantly -- which is more than most of my boys' team)

Well, after a couple weeks, now a bunch of the other girls have determined to try to learn muscle-ups as well. I now have three girls that can do muscle-ups, and several others who are close, and clearly very motivated to get it.

And all of this is essentially the result of one girl who got excited about showing off her muscle-up; it doesn't seem to be the prospect of me buying them a drink that motivates them; they clearly take pride in the skill itself.

Anybody else seen anything like this? Anybody have ideas for how to get a similar effect with other skills? If I can get my kids to take a similar approach to other strength skills, or to flexibility skills, I'm sure it could produce some fantastic results.
 
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eeyoretumbles

Member
Jul 13, 2008
234
rainy washington
Yes! I remember when I was younger especially, it wasn't necessarily the prize I got [licorice, candy, mint,] it was more of knowing that I achieved it, and everyone recgonized and saw that.
 

gymluvr33

Active Member
Jul 31, 2008
580
New Hampshire, USA
I remember that when you got your kip, you could get a free leotard from our office (we have a rack of leotards in there), but it really wasn't the leo that I wanted, I just wanted to be one of the "big girls", and to know that I could do it.
 

MdGymMom01

Active Member
Mar 5, 2008
2,236
North America
That's an awesome story Geoffrey!!! At dd's gym they have a "3-Wat Split Club" Board where they post the names of the kids who have all three splits all the way down. There aren't too many people on the board, but I know my dd was thrilled when her name was upt up there when she was on Pre-Team!!! Good work geoffrey and keep it up!!
 

AlexsGymmyMom

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Mar 20, 2009
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USA
What a great idea! I may have to mention this to our L4 coach. What my daughter loves is the Gymnastics Journal that she is keeping and each time she tries or masters a new skill the coach will initial and date it in her book. This way she can look back and remember those days! It also shows her how far she has come. We may be changing gyms but she will continue to keep up with her journal.
 

mariposa

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Sep 25, 2007
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That is awesome. I definitely think some kids are motivated by others getting skills, mine is one of them. That is a pretty amazing skill to get! I think it is great to be getting them motivated to do different things. Great job on that!! :D

Something awesome that DDs new gym does is that every Friday they have team meeting and they give out trophies for different things. Not sure what, but some girls have left with 3, and I know that hard worker is one category. They do it for each compulsory level. They get to take the trophy home and they bring it back the next week. Pretty cool. My DD just got to take home her first trophy tonight, the "I got my kip trophy" It is even engraved with that.
 

Anna

New Member
Jun 20, 2007
41
Sydney, Australia
Yep, have seen it, and in fact our entire squad program banks on this idea and is one of the reason why such young kids are doing some very cool skills and combinations!

You used the motivation in such a positive way for the girls, thank you. It's nice to see coaches out there doing the right thing!

There will be many different reasons why so many of these girls will now be motivated to do a muscle up (excuse the ignore, is a muscle up on rings from dead hang, kind of squirming up to soldier support?). Gymnasts will get a bit competitive, want to be the best, not want to be left out, want to be able to do what their best friend is doing, want the attention/recognition, or just think the skill is fun or is a good goal to achieve.
 

Linsul

Active Member
Sep 19, 2008
876
Pripyat
I have 3 instances that I used an outside motivator for. Both started as a joke and kind of took on a life of their own.

Kips: A parent said once that her daughter would do anything for money. she had been doing extra chores around the house to add to her allowance lately, and she was also super close to her kip. Just missing the wrist flick. I put a dollar in the bar chain, and she got it. The girls all flipped out and of course the dollar stayed in the chain for kips lol. They considered it 'good luck' from then on even after they got their kips.

Otter pops: We had them for a Summer camp. One of the girls in the camp really wanted to get her mill circle. She got it, and then lost it! When she got it back I told her if she could do 5 in a row she could have another Otter pop. For some reason that motivated her like nothing else and she did it by the end of the day.

Nail coloring (lol): I have long nails that I never paint. This was borderline offensive to a group of girls I coached who were all about nail painting. Random, I know, but hey whatever! I told one of the girls that was particularly obsessed that if she did her back walkover on beam she could paint my nails however she wanted. When the day came, no polish. So I told her she could use a marker, and of course she chose black. I had black sharpie emo nails for a week!

I think if you can attach sentimental or long standing joke significance to a prize that's public the kids go for it more. Having meaning attached to a symbol of achievement makes it more special. Thing is, we get out of touch with that meaning as we get older! Otter pops? Nail polish?! Come on lol! If we keep an ear to the ground and figure out what the kids themselves value, then we can work it into a prize they want.
 
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Geoffrey Taucer

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Jan 21, 2007
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Baltimore, MD
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I have 3 instances that I used an outside motivator for. Both started as a joke and kind of took on a life of their own.

Kips: A parent said once that her daughter would do anything for money. she had been doing extra chores around the house to add to her allowance lately, and she was also super close to her kip. Just missing the wrist flick. I put a dollar in the bar chain, and she got it. The girls all flipped out and of course the dollar stayed in the chain for kips lol. They considered it 'good luck' from then on even after they got their kips.

Otter pops: We had them for a Summer camp. One of the girls in the camp really wanted to get her mill circle. She got it, and then lost it! When she got it back I told her if she could do 5 in a row she could have another Otter pop. For some reason that motivated her like nothing else and she did it by the end of the day.

Nail coloring (lol): I have long nails that I never paint. This was borderline offensive to a group of girls I coached who were all about nail painting. Random, I know, but hey whatever! I told one of the girls that was particularly obsessed that if she did her back walkover on beam she could paint my nails however she wanted. When the day came, no polish. So I told her she could use a marker, and of course she chose black. I had black sharpie emo nails for a week!

I think if you can attach sentimental or long standing joke significance to a prize that's public the kids go for it more. Having meaning attached to a symbol of achievement makes it more special. Thing is, we get out of touch with that meaning as we get older! Otter pops? Nail polish?! Come on lol! If we keep an ear to the ground and figure out what the kids themselves value, then we can work it into a prize they want.
Haha! I love all three of these!
 
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CoachGoofy

Guest
My gym has an adult class, and I take it (and my kids all KNOW this). They also, via the grapevine, hear "Coach whoever can do whatever" and always want to SEE it.

So for stuff theyre struggling with, we have the "you do one, I'll do one" (or if the whole class does one, "Y'all do one, I'll do skill-of-the-group's-choice"). For some reason they really get a charge out of seeing me in my oldness do stuff. Like I've got a class that earned making me do a squat on, and one that earned making me do a backwalkover on beam.

Also sometimes they earn getting to work on skills that aren't on our skill sheets, but that are the same difficulty as what they're working on. It's a privledge to get to do something harder and more unique, and they really like that.

They also like me to take off my glasses and take out my ponytail, but there's no good way to leverage that because I need to SEE to coach them.
 

gymgymgymnast08

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Dec 8, 2007
1,233
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My level 5 coach always did things like that. When every single one of us got our kips, we were promised water ice.
When we won a meet, we got to put glitter in his hair.
 

gymfan4ever95

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Coach
Gymnast
Mar 29, 2009
635
North Carolina
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Yes, that sure goes on at our gym!
we have this thing we do called points. If you do something good, you get a point, or five points, ect.
it really works...everyone wants points really bad because at the end of the week we can trade our points in for candy, little toys, socks, stickers, tatoo's, ect.
it is really fun :)

also, our old coach would buy us all donuts or something if we all stayed on the beam at a meet. And like, once a month, or every other month or something, everyone who has there middle split all the way down gets ice cream.
 
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marie83

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Mar 23, 2009
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cute stories everyone!

My gymnasts all have a journal. Part of their journal has a skill sheet in it for each apparatus. Bars for example, starts very basic, like squat on the low bar and catch the high bar, and ends with backward giants and fly away. Every time they achieve one of the skills it gets signed and dated in their journal. They love doing this and can't wait to move onto the next skill.

For skills I consider to be difficult but essential - straddle press to handstand, kip, cast to handstand etc, the girls get a certificate and a small 'me to you' bear. They don't really care about the prizes though, they just want to be the first to get it! When one person has it, they all want to get it so work really really hard to get there! I have 2 who are super close to their kips at the moment and are competing with eachother to see who can get it first!
 
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cher062

Guest
Our kids get a star on the "Wall of Fame". Its a consturction paper star about the size of a tea cup saucer. it gets their name, Skill and date they "got it" on it then it gets hung up on the wall in the viewing loft. to "get it" they have to do 5 in a row without missing. Not as easy as it sounds. Works for our girls but not the boys. The boys want food LOL. Candy bars, cool pops, lollipops etc.
 

MissBear

Coach
Coach
Gymnast
May 4, 2009
176
At my gym, once a week we hold 'gymnast of the week' ceremany. All the parents come in at the end of the session and each group has one gymnast chosen, usually for consistantly getting a new skill. After competitions it might be the gymnast who placed highest, or impressed the coach the most. On the girls side they have conditioning and flexibility tests every month, and then for each group a highest score, and most improved score trophy is handed out for the month. Interestingly, gymnast of the week seems to motivate the younger girls more, while the older ones go for the conditioning trophys.
 
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