Yurchenko Vaulting Lecture.
So… Now you can flip. Where do we go from here.
(You probably want to watch this with the volume down so you do not have to hear my annoying voice in the back ground of videos. OR BETTER YET, Put on some good music)
The city of Reykjavík will for the tenth time welcome sports participants to a multisport competition in Laugardalur, the Valley of Sport, taking place from January 26- February 5. The gymnastics competition will be February 4,5.
Athletes will compete at a high level in various sports in world class facilities. RIG ceremonies among other things will keep the athletes happy and entertained and they will also have the opportunity to visit Reykjavík, The Capital of Iceland with all it’s sights and sounds. If lucky you might also see the northern lights.
I just got a phone call every parent dreads, “Dad, I’m OK- but we were in a car accident.”
My daughter is out in California for a wedding and she and two friends were driving from San Diego to San Francisco when they got rear ended by an 18 wheeler. Their rental car was totaled. They are a little beaten up but not enough to go to the hospital. The police gave them a ride to a hotel. They are trying to negotiate a new rental car and have no way to get down to rental car office.
We have an issue with my family that we have trouble asking for HELP when we may need it. My daughter is no exception. So when I told her that I had a friend out there near by and that I was happy to reach to him I fully expected her to say, “Nah, I got it.”. When she said, “Could you get me your friends numbers, we are having trouble dealing with the rental car place. It would be great to have a local contact.”
After saying Hello I said, “Dave, I have a favor. My daughter was in a car accident out there and she just needs a local contact to help navigate things.”
WITHOUT any hesitation he said, “Give me her number, tell me where she is. I am on the way.”
In our sport, we face challenges everyday. But because of the nature of our sport, we have friends and colleagues we can rely on.
Dave- I owe you one buddy. Thanks so much.
“He is going to be shocked we no longer want him.” “Come again?” I asked the college assistant coach seated across from me at lunch. “You flew across the country to meet him, and now you won’t recr…
Source: Talent Needs Character | James Leath
“He is going to be shocked we no longer want him.”
“Come again?” I asked the college assistant coach seated across from me at lunch. “You flew across the country to meet him, and now you won’t recruit him anymore?”
The coach had recently stopped for a day in another state to check in on one of their prospects, before arriving at my school in Florida.
“He is a great talent, he certainly has the skills needed to play for us,” said the coach. “Sadly, he just won’t fit in well with our culture. It’s sad how many kids we come across every year that we cannot recruit, and it has nothing to do with their ability.”
As the Head of Leadership at IMG Academy in Bradenton, FL, I have the privilege of having conversations with college recruiters from major universities every week. One of saddest topics we discuss are stories of top high school talent being passed over because of behavior off the field. High talent and low character is a poor combination.
I have heard these stories enough to feel compelled to write this so that it may be passed onto every high school athlete that dreams of playing in college. There are a lot of talented athletes out there, but talent alone will not land you a coveted roster spot. Your talent may get your foot in the door, but it takes a lot more to hit the field at the next level.
The recruiter is not there to see you tackle, throw, bump, spike, pitch, catch, hit, shoot, or pass for the thousandth time. He already knows your stats. He has already watched your highlight film and read all the press clippings. He has likely seen you play. What he is looking for are called intangibles, the things that cannot be easily measured, but make all the difference.
Of the countless conversations I have had with college recruiters, here are the most common questions recruiters are searching for answers to decide whether they should recruit you or not.
What are you doing when you think no one is watching?
Recruiters are not always wearing their school clothing. That guy in the corner of the weight room talking to your coach? He might be a recruiter on an unscheduled visit. That woman in the stands taking notes? She may be writing down the behavior she sees to report back to her head coach. The more talented you are, the more people are watching you to try and see what flaws you are hiding. How do you treat your teammates, coaches, parents, and officials? Do you make eye contact with your coach when she is talking? What is your body language like when things are not going well? This all matters, a lot!
Are you one thing in person, and another person online?
Social media is the microphone of your character, and whether you agree or not, you will be judged by what you post. Please, pause and think before you post! If you wouldn’t want it on a billboard so your grandma could read it, you probably shouldn’t post it online.
Colleges put a lot of research into your character, especially the high-profile sports such as football and basketball. Most schools have teams of people who use very creative tactics to comb through your social media feeds.
For example, I heard a story recently about a prospect who used a lot of racial slurs on his Twitter account. This recruit was shocked because his Twitter account was set to private. However, a few weeks prior to the recruiter’s visit, this prospect accepted a request to allow an account with a profile picture of a pretty girl. That account was actually owned by a guy named Chris. Once accepted as a follower, Chris was given access to that prospect’s entire feed. Chris also discovered that the recruit had a habit of ridiculing teammates online. The recruiter thought that prospect had the talent to play at the next level, but talent alone gets you nowhere.
Who are your biggest influences?
You will become like the people you hang out with the most. This includes who you follow on social media. Take a look at who you are following on social media sites, and in life, and unfollow those you do not wish to be associated with or become like.
Last year, I spoke to a coach about a 5-star baseball recruit being watched by all the major universities. That was until a news story came out about all the accounts this recruit was following on Twitter that promoted sexual assault towards women, drug use, and alcohol consumption. This recruit also had a Twitch account where he would play certain games that glorified abuse towards women and was recorded cheering when an explicit event would happen during the game. Not surprisingly, he ended up going to community college and getting kicked off his team halfway through the year.
Ask yourself, “If I were a coach, and I looked at the list of people influencing me, would I recruit me?” Be honest with yourself, because your potential future coach will be looking very closely at your influencers.
Are you a great teammate?
I coached varsity football for a number of years and had some decent talent under my supervision. I remember one recruiter visiting from a big school in Southern California to take a look at our star linebacker, maybe the best at his position I ever coached.
When the recruiter arrived, he was wearing boots, jeans, and a t-shirt. Nothing about what he was wearing gave away where he was from or connected him to his university. As I spoke to him in the corner of the weight room, he watched one particular athlete with great intensity. If he were to tell the story, this is how it would go:
“When I arrived at the school, I was taken directly to the weight room where our number one linebacker prospect was lifting with his team. He did not know who I was because I was wearing regular street clothes. I do this during all my visits because I don’t want to influence their normal routine just because I’m watching. I am sure the amount of weight he was squatting was impressive, but watching him squat was not what I flew 400 miles to observe. One thing I noticed was during every set, he had a spotter standing behind him just in case he needed help. This teammate was yelling encouragement during the prospect’s last few reps and helped him rack the bar.”
“After all three sets, sadly, I watched our recruit sit down and pull out his phone instead of returning the favor of spotting his teammate. His coach asked him to put his phone away after his first set. He did. He then pulled it back out after the second set. I stopped his coach from intervening again. We look for guys who can be trusted to do the things after being told once. During the third set, he finally put his phone down, but only because he saw his teammate struggling to finish his last few reps. This teammate was there for the prospect every rep. The prospect, however, did not spot him or encourage him, putting himself and those around him in danger. I began to question his ability to be a great teammate, and if he would fit in with our team. Then, when the workout was over, the coach blew the whistle to start cleaning up. The prospect headed straight for his cleats and walked out the door, never even making eye contact with me, and leaving his teammates to clean up and rack the weights. Definitely not a good fit for our culture.”
Do you make a good first impression?
One of the first things I teach all my athletes is the art of the handshake. Firm grip, eye contact, be fully present while you introduce yourself. I had a group of NBA prospects in my leadership class recently. I had been working with this particular group a few weeks so they knew how to enter a room, command presence, shake hands, make eye contact— all things that will set them apart from the hundreds of other NBA draft prospects.
A new guy showed up to campus and was put in my class. When he walked in, he gave me a handshake that could only be described as “a dead fish.” He mumbled his name and never really made eye contact. The class booed him and told him to “try it again,” pointing towards the door. He was confused and shocked that he was booed when he walked into the room. He came back in, did the same thing, and was again booed by his peers. Here was a phenomenal athlete, tall enough to have to duck when he entered the room, and he was getting booed for how he entered. I walked out with him the second time.
“Why are they booing?” he asked.
“Because you suck at entering a room.” I could see the confusion on his face. Then I saw a smile as he realized class had begun.
“How are you going to stand out if you enter a room like everyone else? And what’s with this handshake? Give me your hand,” I said.
I showed him a proper handshake and I encouraged him to walk across the room with purpose, introduce himself clearly, and look me in the eye when he shook my hand. Then I walked back into the classroom, shutting the door behind me.
The large man destined for the NBA walked in, smiled, and walked across the room with purpose. He shook my hand, looked me in the eye, and introduced himself clearly. The room full of other large men erupted in cheer.
You are always being watched—from the moment you get out of your car to the moment you leave the parking lot. The more talented you are, the more people pay attention. Give them a reason to remember you off the field, court, mat, or pool.
Do you “sweep the shed?”
The most successful sports team in the professional era is not the NY Yankees, or the Boston Celtics, or Real Madrid, but a team from a far less known sport. It is the New Zealand All Blacks in rugby, who have an astonishing 86% winning percentage and numerous championships to their name. In the outstanding book, Legacy, written about the All Blacks (the most winningest professional team in the history of modern sports), author James Kerr discusses one of their core values that epitomizes the selfless attitude.
It’s called “Sweep the Shed.”
You see the goal of every All Blacks player is to leave the national team shirt in a better place than when he got it. His goal is to contribute to the legacy by doing his part to grow the game and keep the team progressing every single day.
In order to do so, the players realize that you must remain humble, and that no one is too big or too famous to do the little things required each and every day to get better. You must eat right. You must sleep well. You must take care of yourself on and off the field. You must train hard. You must sacrifice your own goals for the greater good and a higher purpose.
You must sweep the shed.
After each match, played in front of 80,000 plus fans, in front of millions on TV, after the camera crews have left, and the coaches are done speaking, when the eyes of the world have turned elsewhere, there is still a locker room to be cleaned.
…by the players!
If the New Zealand All Blacks are sweeping their locker room, then why aren’t you out there helping younger players, picking up cones, arriving first and leaving last, and setting the example for others? Are you leaving the uniform in a better place, or counting the days until they retire your jersey?
I once asked a recruiter what he thought of the prospect he came to watch.
“Remember when they were doing pushups?” he asked. “He led the team by counting, but he missed pushup 13 and pushup 18. He just didn’t go down, even though he commanded the team to do so. I am not sure about this guy, honestly. Out of twenty plays, we can’t have him taking off two because he is tired.”
You are always being watched, so sweep the shed.
Do you show a sense gratitude?
How you treat the people who take care of you matters. The coaches, the trainers, the ball boys—they are there to serve, but they are not your servants. True leaders serve those around them. When the trainer shows up, don’t bark, “I need tape!” Instead, ask for it. Say “please.” Say “thank you.” Clean up after yourself. When you are grateful, and treat others with the respect they deserve, people take notice. More importantly, it’s the right thing to do.
Your talent will get you noticed, but your character will get you recruited.
- Show gratitude.
- Be a positive influence.
- Do the little things.
- Be a great teammate.
- Make a great first impression.
- Sweep the shed.
And always remember, whether you are online, on the field or in the classroom, someone is watching.
As president Calvin Coolidge once said, “nothing is more common than unsuccessful men with talent.”
Your reputation is who people think you are; your character is who you are when you think no one is paying attention. Someone is always paying attention, and every recruiter has countless stories of passing on a talented athlete who failed the character test. You must be the exception. You must be extra-ordinary. That’s how you get recruited.
I am in Iceland right now. The best place to watch any Olympic gymnastics is at the Bjarni Fel Sports bar in downtown Reykjavik. It is probably the only time that gymnastics is on the TV in bars with out the being REALLY creepy.
We have been there so much that the bar tender sees us coming, cleans off “our” table and turns the channel to gymnastics. Depending on what is on it is either Icelandic commentators (a husband and wife team whom I know. They are doing a great job) or the BBC.
This bar has a Big TV in the window, many people were lined up in the street watching gymnastics.
1. …could I do this?
2. I bet I could have been an Olympic gymnast if my parents had started me when I was 3.
3. Actually I bet my parents probably looked at me and said: “Yeah, let’s just make sure that one doesn’t drown in Jell-O, or whatever.”
4. WOW VAULTING IS TERRIFYING. Vaulting should award points for not landing in the audience.
5. Simone Biles just did something more incredible than I have ever achieved in my life and she looks about as satisfied with it as someone who just tied their shoes.
6.HOW ARE THESE SCORES SO LOW?! (Argument starts)
7. She lost points for hopping while landing?!
8. Look, taking a hop after landing with an incredible level of energy onto the floor is just how physics works. Are we really punishing these incredible, talented young women for physics?
9. I know they are pros and can handle it, I’m just really worried for them, OK?
10. Wow, every floor routine is basically what I think I look like while dancing alone in my room.
11. I feel like there’s actually four medals you can earn: bronze, silver, gold, and Making Márta Károlyi Smile.
12. HOW AM I SO NERVOUS. I’M NOWHERE NEAR AN OLYMPICS.
13. SORRY I CAN’T BREATHE RIGHT NOW, I’M WAITING FOR LITTLE ROCKET PEOPLE TO FINISH DOING A GOOD JOB AT STUFF.
14. Can I sign up for whatever class you all attended where you learned how to give yourselves nonbumpy topknots and ponytails?
15. I have carpal tunnel just watching this vault.
16. I bet everything these ladies own is covered in a thin layer of chalk.
17. I have never seen so many bedazzled remixes of different countries’ flags in my entire life.
Then they found out we were gymnastics coaches:
18. So…it’s not possible to get a perfect score in this sport, right? Like, ever?
19. Like if Simone Biles isn’t getting perfect scores, can we all drop the ruse that getting a perfect score in gymnastics is even possible?
– Of course they ask, “Can you do a handstand? Like- on a Bar?”
20. I CAN’T EVEN DO A HANDSTAND ON LAND.
21. The commentators are explaining why this vault is hard, but, like, don’t worry, guys, it already looks pretty flipping hard to me. (Replay of Samir Ait Said’s broken leg)
22. I’m just glad all these ladies are using their powers for good, because I could equally envision a world where you wouldn’t want to meet a gang of disgruntled gymnasts in a dark alley.
23. OK, but some of the things y’all are doing actually look like someone is messing around in Photoshop.
24. Commentator: “Her air awareness is a little off on those double pikes right now” Guy next to me at the bar: ::NODS AS IF HE IS AT ALL FOLLOWING WHAT HE IS SAYING- then orders another beer
25. Ah, Olympic Gymnastics: my once every four years reminder that there are 16-year-olds with better resumes than me.
Region 6, MY HOME REGION!
Thank You Region 6 for having me! A terrific time with great coaches and great presenters. Congratulations to ALL the clubs, coaches and athletes who received awards. And certainly a SHOUT OUT to my own club, ATLANTIC GYMNASTICS who received JO CLUB OF THE YEAR for New Hampshire.
Vaulting- Optional Drills for your Compulsory Gymnasts.
Other Regional Congresses
- How can I be more productive in the marketing of the gym?
- How can I be more productive in the managing of the staff?
- How can I be more productive in the gym?
According to Charles Duhigg and his band of productivity freaks, there are eight key tools or skills needed to be more productive.
- Motivation- We trigger self-motivation by making choices that make us feel in control. The act of asserting ourselves and taking control helps trigger the parts of our neurology where self-motivation resides
- Focus- We train ourselves how to pay attention to the right things and ignore distractions by building mental models, which means that we essentially narrate to ourselves what’s going on as it goes on around us.
- Goal Setting- Everyone actually needs two different kinds of goals. You need a stretch goal, which is like this big ambition, but then you have to pair that with a specific plan on how to get started tomorrow morning.
- Decision making.- People who make the best decisions tend to think probabilistically. They envision multiple, often contradictory, futures and then try and figure out which one is more likely to occur.
- Innovation.- The most creative environments are ones that allow people to take clichés and mix them together in new ways. And the people who are best at this are known as innovation brokers. They’re people who have their feet in many different worlds and, as a result, they know which ideas can click together in a novel combination.
- Absorbing data.- Sometimes the best way to learn is to make information harder to absorb. This is known in psychology as “disfluency.” The harder we have to work to understand an idea or to process a piece of data, the stickier it becomes in our brain.
- Managing others.-The best managers put responsibility for solving a problem with the person who’s closest to that problem, because that’s how you tap into everyone’s unique expertise.
- Teams.-Who is on a team matters much, much less than how a team interacts.
Of all of these I find self motivation the most intriguing. In many ways, the foundation of motivation is what’s known as the “locus of control” in psychology. Everyone either has an internal locus of control, which means that they believe that they control their own fate or an external locus of control, which means that they think things just happen to them and they’re powerless.
We’ve all met people who are one way or the other; we’ve met the people who sort of believe, “If I decide to climb that mountain, I can do anything.” And others who complain all the time, “You know, I wanted to get a better job, but my boss is mean to me, and I’m never lucky, and it doesn’t work out.” What’s interesting is that the influences of internal versus external locus of control are kind of surprising. For instance, there’s been experiments that show that when teachers tell kids that they’re really smart, that they did well on a test because they must be really smart — that actually triggers our external locus of control because most people don’t believe that they have any influence over how smart they are. It’s either something you’re born with or it’s not. Whereas when teachers tell kids, “You did great on this exam, you must have worked really hard” — that reinforces an internal locus of control because we all know, “I choose how hard I work.” What they’ve found is that self-motivation and motivation in general seems to rely on believing like we’re in control.
Alison Arnold has a mantra that I remember making the kids repeat:
“IF IT IS TO BE- IT’S UP TO ME”
We have asked the gymnasts to believe that they are in control of their destiny- BUT DO WE BELIEVE WE THAT WE ARE IN CONTROL OF OUR GYMNASTICS DESTINY?
In too many gyms (mine included) I hear excuses on why things can’t get done. Everyone blames the next guy or the situation. The first step of success is taking responsibility. It is on shirts we wear.
“WE MAKE CORRECTIONS NOT EXCUSES”
“I love coaching moody teenagers!” said no one ever. Our adolescent athletes can be challenging, that is for sure. One minute they are perfectly normal, the next minute they are sullen, cranky or j…
“I love coaching moody teenagers!” said no one ever.
Our adolescent athletes can be challenging, that is for sure. One minute they are perfectly normal, the next minute they are sullen, cranky or just in tears.
Come to think of it, they are like giant two year olds…who drive…
That said, I actually like teenagers. Having raised four of my own and worked with hundreds of others, I have great empathy for the challenges of growing up.
Like most things in life, working with teens involves balance—the balance between respect and discipline. It is in balancing these where the bulk of the problems in coaching teens crop up.
Here are a few of the mistakes I’ve made (so you don’t have to) while trying to find my balance:
Not listening. Teens want to be heard. So even when you don’t agree with what they have to say, give teens the opportunity to explain their thought process or feelings. Remember: they probably don’t agree with you either, but you want them to listen to you, so extend the same courtesy.
Trying to have a rational conversation when they are emotional. Don’t do it. When teens are upset, their ability to use the rational part of their brain (which is already somewhat diminished because of their stage of development) is non-existent. Let the emotions calm down before rational conversational happens.
Letting your emotions get the best of you. Teens can make us pretty frustrated. Again, we are not at our best to have a productive conversation when we are agitated. Let your emotions calm down before you try.
Using threats or guilt instead of reasoning. It may be more expedient to manipulate the emotions of a teen, but since the long-term goal is to raise a moral adult, taking the time to explain the reasoning behind your rules is better for the child.
Attacking them personally, instead of their behavior. They are not lazy, though they may be acting lazy. They are not disrespectful, though their tone may be so. Labeling them, instead of their behavior, not only attacks them and places them on the defensive; it is not good for their developing psyche or your relationship with them.
Treating them too young or too old. Finding that sweet spot of “just right” is hard, but constantly seek to remember how old they are now. Your baby is growing up—let them have greater independence. But remember, while they look and act like an adult, they are not.
Not helping them find their own balance. Teens lives are increasingly complicated as their world expands. They need assistance in figuring out how to manage their newly complex world of school, sports, friends, work and community.
Doing too much for them. With power comes responsibility. If you fail to allow too much of one side without balancing it with the other, you are doing your teen a disservice. If your teen has the power to have access to use a car, he/she should have some responsibility to maintain that car. If he/she has the power to have a job, he/she should have the responsibility to deal with the employer directly.
Losing your sense of humor. Sometimes just laugh. Trust me, it helps!
Coaching a teen has many challenges, but when they go off to college and you see the role you had in raising a happy, responsible and thriving young person it is worth it!
I have just returned from a clinic in South Carolina where I taught along side Wendy Bruce (our 3rd weekend in a row!) and Paul Hamm. It was a really great training camp. As former gymnasts and current coaches, our evening conversations revolved around coaching and gymnastics.
As we were leaving the gym one evening a gymnast said, “You are a guru of gymnastics.” I replied “I am simply a coach”. Which made me think about the differences between the two.
In doing some research I came across these:
Guru or Coach – Who do YOU want to learn from?
To grow it is imperative to find mentors not gurus to learn from and grow professionally. What are the differences?
- Guru – All about me
- Coach – All about the athlete
- Guru – Style
- Coach – Substance
- Guru – Full of information often unconnected
- Coach – Bursting with knowledge that applies
- Guru – Has the secrets
- Coach – Open & willing to share
- Guru – Quick with putdowns
- Coach – Quick to praise and uplift
- Guru – No questions & has all the answers
- Coach – Driven by questions
- Guru – Big bold claims
- Coach – Lets actions speak
- Guru – In the spotlight on the FrontPage or ESPN
- Coach – On the back page in small print or in the footnotes
- Guru – Quick to follow the $$$$$
- Coach – Driven by principles
- Guru – Complexifier
- Coach – Simplifier
- Guru – Exclusive
- Coach – Inclusive
- Guru – Conditional
- Coach – Unconditional
Which are you?