NO, I do not mean tumbling on horse hair mats of doing bar beats. Nor do I mean coaching through intimidation and punishment.
and I certainly do not mean this.
My mother was involved in gymnastics as a coach, judge and administrator while I was growing up. We always had gymnasts, coaches and judges hanging out at our house.
I remember walking through the living room as coaches from around the state were hanging out exchanging war stories, problem solving and discussing the latest in technique. I remember waking up in the morning to head to practice myself and seeing that many of the coaches had stayed the night. The were occupying nearly every square inch of floor and all of the furniture. I asked my mom why they were all staying at our house and she explained that they were gymnastics coaches and that they didn’t have a lot of money. They were in town for a conference and Mom had offered everyone a place to stay at our house so they could save money.
This was one of the moments in my life when I realized the importance of education and self improvement. Here were a group of adults sleeping in uncomfortable places all for the opportunity to improve their gymnastics knowledge.
I believe in gymnastics education in its purest form. No one spoon feeding you. There was discussion and arguments. There was evaluation and planning. There was learning. I remember when someone showed up with DON TONRY’S book on illustrated gymnastics.
All these coaches gathered around the table looking at the illustrations. This was the “youtube” of the day.
As I started my own gymnastics professional educational journey I remember pouring through that book until it nearly fell apart in my hands. I went through Bill Sands book on coaching and Gerry George’s book on biomechanics.
Being from New York we had the Empire State Games, an olympic festival, held in Syracuse. I remember one year about 8 other coaches and I crashing on the floor of Pinky Stone’s house. We stayed up almost all night talking technique going over problems some of our athletes had that day and how to correct them in event finals.
I have been lucky that I have been able to make a good living through my gymnastics clubs, through Gym Momentum and doing numerous clinics and workshops through out the year. I love teaching. I have stayed at some very nice hotels and resorts and have enough frequent flyer miles where I often get a free upgrade. I have also driven 6 hours in a car full of coaches who just finished practice and let’s just say- we didn’t smell all that great getting in the car and 6 hours packed close together did not improve the smell. A week ago I was up in Calgary working Jeremy Mosier’s NO LIMITS Camp. His daughter was at his ex-wife’s so I got to sleep in her room.
Yes, I got to sleep in a Princess Bed Loft. What more could I ask for? I had a bed to sleep in, coffee in the morning and a few great coaches to share stories and technique with all night long. (Jeremy Mosier, Cliff Parks, Gary Issac, Stephen David, Wendy Bruce-Martin and Daniella Silivas).
This last weekend at Gym Momentum Camp I was able to put all the coaches up at a hotel. Which seemed kind of pointless as I am pretty sure some of them didn’t sleep. Again- late nights going over technique and things we wanted to accomplish the next day. (Maddie Retrosi, Jody Nichols, Carly Meyer, Jamie Donkin, Embla Johannisdottir, Hildur Olafsdottir, Wendy Bruce-Martin, Cara Gonzeles, Christian Gallardo, Jeremy Mosier, Brian Pickard, Vasko Vetzev, Brian Kormann, Chris Lakeman and me!)
You may not be getting rich coaching gymnastics but you enrich your life and the lives around you through continuing your education. Gymnastics has a price, but education is priceless.
I look forward to more sleepless nights arguing and defending technique. Evaluating the past workout or season and planning for the next. The answers are out there (and probably not on youtube).
PS- Cara, I am going to teach that kid an Arabian double just to spite you.