Kids Learn from our examples

I was recently reading this article in The Huffington Post. Unfortunately I cannot find the original article to give proper credit. But it made me think of how we can be better examples to the kids we coach. You may want to share this with all the parents on your team.  I also wrote about this in my other blog Vacilando. 

Remember the 1987 PSA about kids and drugs? A father finds drug paraphernalia in his son’s closet and questions him about where he found the drugs, how he even KNEW about drugs. The boy starts in with the standard excuses and finally explodes I learned it from watching you, Dad!

It was a groundbreaking commercial back in the day when stirrup pants were the rage and Bon Jovi was on the stereo and Dirty Dancing was in the theaters.

Here we are, a zillion years later, and things have changed. And stayed the same. Stirrup pants have been replaced by yoga pants — Bon Jovi seems to get better looking every year, and lines from Dirty Dancing are still quoted regularly (right now you are saying to yourself “Nobody puts Baby in the corner” — admit it).

There is one thing about the drug PSA that hits home in today’s modern world. Actually, it’s a phenomenon that’s always been there.

Children learn from their parents.

And our gymnasts learn from us. You can tell them what to do over and over and over again, but it’s really by watching that they learn. We’ve all witnessed gymnasts (for good or bad) mimic the behavior of their coaches.  We have see toddlers ‘cooking’ like mommy or mimicking their father’s voice or copycatting something on television.

Why, then, are we so surprised that the teens in the world are attached to smartphones? Addicted to their devices? Aren’t we, too, “just checking Facebook” or “sending a quick text” or “making a call” when we are with our children? Aren’t we teaching them by example?

I had a parent come up to the front desk at my gym and she was checking her phone for 30 seconds or so until she acknowledged me. She was attempting to sign her child up for classes and during to 5 minutes it took to do this she sent and received a dozen text messages. Completely ignoring her child (Who was pretending to text on what I HOPE was a pretend cell phone) A recent study by Boston Medical Center shows some scary facts. According to the Boston study, 40 out of 55 caregivers at a fast food restaurant used their devices and their “primary engagement was with the device, rather than the child.” I think the word here is distracted.

Parenthood is not an easy job, and the few minutes parents of young children get to themselves is precious. I know, because I’ve been there. Anyone with small children has been there — that moment when you think if I don’t get 13 seconds to myself I am going to lose my mind. And parents need that. Everyone needs that. Really.

The bigger issue is how we interact with our children when we are, in fact, trying to interact with them. Are we constantly on our iPhone, checking work email or Facebook or whatever?

Technology is not going away, so it’s our job to use it wisely, and, by doing so, teach our children how to use it wisely. There is a place for technology — it’s just not at the very tip top of the list. I hate sitting with my friend, a smart, attractive, interesting young women who lives way too many miles away, whom I rarely see and happen to think the world of, tapping on her cell phone. I want to say HEY — OVER HERE! I AM YOUR FRIEND. I AM BUYING YOU DINNER! I THINK YOU ARE, BY FAR, THE ONE OF THE MOST INTERESTING PEOPLE IN THE UNIVERSE AND I LOVE YOU AND I WILL ALWAYS HAVE YOUR BACK!

I don’t say that, of course, because she would be horrified and I would be on the first bus to the asylum.But if I am feeling that way about her lack of attention, what would my kids be feeling about my lack of attention? And, more importantly, what would they be feeling about my lack of attention if they were still three years old and thought I was still magical?

Along with our many, many other jobs as parents, we have to model a healthy relationship with technology. We want to have a real relationship with our children so they can forge real relationships with others. I don’t know about you, but I am hoping for grandchildren some day. If I don’t teach my children how to connect with the human race, I may miss my chance. Sitting around the Thanksgiving table with a bunch of little iPhones just doesn’t have the same je ne sais quoi, does it?

Here are a few tips on ways to form relationships with people you coach and work with instead of dependent relationships on inanimate objects:

When you are in the gym, DON’T BRING YOUR CELL PHONE IN WITH YOU.I know you “just want to video that skill” Don’t just put down your smartphone, put it away. Once it is out of site, it’s less likely to distract you and shows your gymnasts that they are  priority.

If you have to use your phone- let people know why.  “I am going video a routine and then post it on our youtube page for college coaches to see”.

Create boundaries around technology and apply the rules to everyone, gymnasts and coaches. If you’ve agreed to a no phones in the gym  rule, it should apply to everyone, not just the gymnasts. (Revisit the “I learned it from watching you, Dad” commercial when tempted.)

Teach your gymnasts the art of conversation by practicing with them. Ask open-ended questions of them and answer their questions to you thoughtfully and thoroughly. Skip the one-word answers or the distracted “uh huh” when you are with them.

When you do, in fact, have to  call them on their phone, set the expectation that they should answer or call you back. Too often phone calls receive a text in return. Why? Text is easier, safer and less taxing than a phone conversation.

Keep private information private. What might seem cute or funny or endearing to you (Your 8-year-old son dressed up in his sister’s dance costume! Your 3-year-old is finally potty trained! Your high-schooler made the chess team!) is not for public consumption. Show your gymnasts you respect them by using discretion at all times. THAT GOES FOR YOUR LIFE TOO! Your gymnasts would be horrified if they ever saw some of your Facebook statuses!

Most parents and coaches  are hoping to instill a strong sense of self-esteem in their children. We want them to be capable, responsible, happy, healthy members of society. Sitting with heads buried in laptops or eyes scanning phones tells them that we think very little of them. We devalue them.

READ CELL PHONE ETIQUETTE

SPEND A YEAR COACHING GYMNASTICS IN ICELAND!

Check out this GYM!!!

Keflavik ad in english

 

Would you like to spend a year in Iceand and coach at our great gymnastics club?

 

We are seeking coaches for our Team Gym teams and also for our younger groups in artistic gymnastics, boys and girls. A season contract available (1.9.2014-1.6.2015) with the option of a longer stay.

We need a fulltime coach who is a caring individual and passionate about gymnastics. We have both womens and mens artistic gymnastics and a growing Team Gym department. This autumn a group of strong former WAG gymnasts is joining our Team Gym Team and we need someone to help us develope our strong team. We also offer varied other assignments depending on your interests and experience.

 

Our gym opens at 13:45 for training and is open till 22:00 in the evening, the facilities are very good, different pit options, open/raisable, LEG and Eurogym Fiber tracks and varied training equipment. 1 main hall and 3 different smaller training areas in adjacent halls.

We are located in the town of Keflavik, just 15 minutes drive from Keflavik international airport and about 30 minutes drive from the capital of Iceland, Reykjavik.

We offer a fair salary and a private appartment close to the gym. We have english speaking staff available to help you get into things.

We are seeking an individual who is willing to be a positive influence on our gymnasts and help them develope strength, caracter and great gymnastics.

If you are positive and a good team player and interested in joining our team please send us your resumé at fimleikar@keflavik.is We will answer all questions and inquiries very swiftly and in the strictest confidence, don ́t hesitate to drop us a line.

Our website is www.keflavik.is/fimleikar http://keflavik.is/fimleikar/myndasafn/?gid=1020

P.s. -Full pass to EC in Team Gym in Iceland october 2014 is included in the years salary

 

Canadians turn to USAG Junior Olympic Program.

GYMNASTICS BC WILL BEGIN USING USAG JO PROGRAM

As of September 1, 2014, Gymnastics BC will use the USA Junior Olympic Program (JO) for its provincial level competitive categories. JO will replace the Canadian Provincial Program (CPP), GYMSTART and KIP. Interclub and Performance Plus will continue to be offered, but the athletes will now also have the option to easily transition to the JO program levels 1 and 2.

READ MORE

Fear Not My Canadian Friends!

The JO program. Is pretty basic and straight forward. One of the biggest benefits is that it is fairly easy for parents to understand. SAVING YOU COUNTLESS PHONE CALLS AND E-MAILS.

come-to-the-dark-side-we-have-cookies

Thank You!!!!!!!!!

As many people know I have just returned from pretty much a month on the road.

I was in Iceland for a 2 week training camp and then in Italy to mostly visit friends and family. Sandwiched between these 2 trips I hosted our Xcel State Championships.

Returning from Italy I had my gym show at one of my gyms and now I am busy writing and organizing all my lectures for Region 4 Congress, Gymcon and Region 8 Congress which will have me on the road for 10 days beginning next week.

Chase and DadThis morning I was at my Portsmouth gym working on Gym Momentum Camp stuff and decided to run out for a coffee.
I am a creature of habit and I headed to my favorite Cafe Breaking New Grounds (It’s not about the coffee). When I went in, they said there was a GIFT CARD for me. They said someone had called in and bought me a Gift Card.

IMG_3724

 

I figured it was one of my friends or family.

It was from Dave Peterson from Cal Sports in San Jose complimenting me and thanking me for a recent article.

“Great Article” “Perfectly Placed” “Going to share it with my team”

and

“Thanks”

Dave- Thank you! You made my day!!

 

Job Opening in Iceland

Grótta gymnastic club in Iceland is looking for a full time professional WAG
coach for girls 10-20 years old, all together 22 that train in two different
groups. Two of the girls are in the Icelandic senior national team, one in
the junior team and three girls are in the Icelandic youth program.

We are looking for a coach that can start working soon, temporary or for a
longer period of time. This could be interesting experience for someone that
is between jobs or looking for new one.

For more information contact Sesselja Järvelä head coach of Grótta gymnastic
club,
fimleikar@grottasport.is

phone +354-8936658.

Jokes to Play in your Gymnastics Club Today.

Happy April Fools Day.

1538688_658718930831601_848843557_n-1Mother nature almost played the best joke here in New England by making it snow yesterday.  I’m kind of pissed that I had to get up and plow.

I spend a great deal of time writing and coming up with serious things to post at Gym Momentum. Today we will depart from that. Life is too short not to have a little fun.

Those who know me in the gym know that I enjoy a good practical joke. I’ve been known to play a few as well.

Share your best Practical Joke and I will hook you up with a prize.

BEST PRACTICAL JOKES I”VE PLAYED. (my apologies to my children as they are often on the receiving end)

When the kids were younger I switched their beds while they were sleeping. Putting my son in my daughters’ room and visa-versa.

Used GREEN Hair spray and colored the kids hair while they were sleeping.

Had all the forms for my children to be legally named Rutabaga and Monkey Butt

Had our daughter convinced that she had an older sister we put in a convent. (This went on for 3 years)

Replaced Vanilla yogurt with mayonnaise

Filled a piñata with guacamole (the looks on their faces when it started oozing after they hit it was AWESOME)

I was asked to take care of my neighbors cat. I sprinkled POP ROCKS in the cat litter box.

(same neighbor) Was gone for 3 months. I was helping his wife walk his dog. Every time I went over I would get a dog treat and say “Tim’s an A** Hole” and give the dog a treat and then take him for a walk. After 3 months All you had to do was say “Tim’s an A** Hole” and the dog would go NUTS.

Things I’ve done in the gym.

Replace the Windex with Blue Gatorade and drink it in front of kids. (Works well as long as you remember WHICH bottle you’ve filled)

I had a number of gymnasts that instead of spraying their grips would spray the water bottle in their mouth and then spit in their grips. A little SOAP in the water bottle does the trick. They no longer do that!

One that involves team work and acting- Threw one of the best (and nicest) kids out of the gym for not putting her grips on fast enough. She and I thought it was pretty funny!

Spur of the moment- I have a friend who is a cop. He stopped by to drop off some tickets to baseball game. One of my employees asked why I was talking to Cop. I said, “It appears you have a stalker. We will talk about it later. You probably need a lawyer”

A very realistic stuffed rat works great to get the kids out of the pit fast.

A few Balloons in a vaulting board that POP when the first kid hits the board.

A “woopie cushion” under a sting mat.

Go into the locker room and tie everyones shoes together

A well placed air horn behind the door

A well placed air horn behind the door

OR

Under a Chair

Under a Chair

Share your FAVORITE or BEST April Fools Jokes with GYM MOMENTUM

WHAT IS GYM MOMENTUM?

This last weekend I was up in Montreal for Gymnix International. It was a truly great competition for all levels. There were  4 different clubs there who I consult with through out the year and I was SO happy to see them compete and help out where I could.  As a gift for the gymnasts and coaches I worked with I brought T-shirts for the gymnasts and polo shirts for the coaches.

Someone asked, “What is Gym Momentum?” and “Can I get one of those T-shirts?”

Answering the second question first. At this point Gym Momentum apparel is NOT for sale. It can only be earned at a training camp or clinic.

WHAT IS GYM MOMENTUM?

untitled (10 of 159)The idea for Gym Momentum started at a camp I used to work at. After long days in the gym we would hang out at night and continue the gymnastics discussion. A coach would come in and ask a question about something they struggled with in the gym that day (or a problem back at their home gym). Now there are 6 or more pretty smart gymnastics minds all problem solving. Talking technique, drills, common cues and common mistakes. When we are problem solving, we are ALL equals.

The FEELING I want for Gym Momentum is coaches working together for a common goal. Sharing their knowledge and experience.

If you have a question- ASK IT. If you have an answer, GIVE IT.

I have some great coaches, physical therapists, personal trainers, sports psychologists,  business minds and sports scientists who regularly share and contribute. I couldn’t (and wouldn’t) do this without them. I am just not that smart!

So get involved, keep the momentum going and become part of the Gym Momentum community.

We will soon begin selling videos from the Gym Momentum website. This is just another way we can share gymnastics knowledge.

Many people have already booked a Gym Momentum clinic. Whether for business consultation, recreational or pre-school program or a team clinic. If I can not do it or I feel one of my other coaching friends is more qualified, I will help get you in touch with them.

 

25 things I learned in college

I normally do not share things between blogs. This is from my other “life”. From my blog VACILANDO. After re-reading it, I though that many of my gymnastics followers would also enjoy it.

Its been a long time since I was able to describe myself as “just” graduating from college. The interim between being an undergraduate and person contributing to the world has a steep learning curve, and it might be one of the more strange transitions in someone’s life. These are 25 things I never read from a book in college but were definitely worth the tuition. I hope that my daughter who is in college and my son who will be soon find the time to read this. These are things that have helped me prepare for what’s next.
1. You win some. You lose some.

The lowest moments might end up being the best stories. You only build character (and a good repertoire of stories) with some bumps in the road. So what you lost your shoes while you were wearing them, on two separate occasions, in two separate cities and then had to walk home barefoot, your feet caked with mud? So what you  gave your girl friend a black eye while dancing to Florence + the Machine, then promised to write Bernadette Peters a thank you note for her inspirational come back? So what you just professed your love to your friend in the dorms, and he responded with a silent high-five? Drink an iced tea! Tomorrow’s a new day!


2. Don’t live by the idiom, “go big or go home.” It should be, “go big, then go home.”

When you go big, then there’s no other option but to go home. Sometimes that might involve a certain authority figure telling you and your friends to go home. Enjoy these nights while you can.

3. Take your work seriously, but don’t take yourself too seriously.

Whether you focus on research or work on a manuscript, art installation or YouTube channel, what you do in or outside of the classroom matters a lot. If you aren’t woohoo-ing your “passion” or the “passion” that your parents say is your “passion,” curb stomp it and find a new one.


4. Let people off the hook.

Also remember to let yourself off the hook. People make mistakes. Forgiveness opens doors. Holding grudges keeps them closed. Recognize when people are just being themselves and try to believe that they are doing the best that they can. With that said:


5. Stick your feelers out for bull shitters, and establish your boundaries.

Don’t let yourself be taken advantage of because you are a precious angel from the heavens and better than some yahoo who mooches off of other people’s generosity. Typically, people are pretty great, but everyone turns a corner and runs into Mr./Ms./Mrs. Tight Pants who thinks he or she can just sweet talk their way through life.


6. When you DGAF about the little things, life is more amazing.

No one wants to hear about how your macchiato wasn’t “extra hot.” Don’t live your life wringing your hands with worry. When the real stress comes your way, you’ll need more than just a macchiato or Chia.

7. Never use the excuse, “I’m tired” to turn down a good time.

If you are actually tired then go home, brush your teeth and sleep. Otherwise, get your shit together, and be out in the world with people. All your best friends will never be within such close proximity. Unless you end up joining the Navy; then you’ll be living in a submarine with all of them.

8. Be grateful for all those awful first dates.

Some of them weren’t even that awful — just an overall “meh.” They weren’t for you, and you won’t be it for someone else. Probably for a lot of people. You are still the most beautiful/handsome, cool, funny human of all the humans. It’s hard to figure out your type, but it just takes one person to make you realize what your type is.

9. A spark is special. Don’t think it comes around often.

Whether that’s with a potential love interest or your new best friend — we are animals, my dear Darwin, and the pheromones are at work. You can’t resist your nature! In the case of romance, that sparkly individual will most likely be one of the best kissers you will ever lay your lips on.

10. “Ohana” means family, and family means no one gets left behind.

That’s right, I just quoted Lilo and Stitch. You have your family and then your friends, which make up your second family. Put them at the top of your list because people are indispensable and they are the breath of life.

11. Follow your intuition.

Forty-five minutes before a final, I had this sudden urge to leave the coffee shop I was studying in and go to the testing room. As I was walking through the center of campus, I ran into my friend who was in the class but going the opposite direction. I stopped him to see where he was going and he said, “Didn’t you get the message? The testing room was changed.” (This was LONG before the age of e-mail) I would have never known if I didn’t listen to that weird moment of intuition to get up and go. We can say this was just a coincidence, but that small moment meant a lot. I would have missed the final, subsequently failed the class and probably would be in jail now or living off the grid somewhere.

12. Obsessions are okay.

They are heightened moments of passion and interest that always come to a natural end. It’s like Picasso’s Blue Period, if his Blue Period is your laptop streaming The West Wing, Supernatural, Parks and Rec, Game of Thrones, or anything regarding Honey Boo Boo Child. You’re an artist and will not be deterred!


13. The best things you discover are typically late at night.

You will never regret losing sleep over talking with a friend or going on an adventure. Keep a notepad next to your bed. Record your dreams. Look at your web browser’s history the next morning after you come home late from a night of shenanigans. What you discover will surprise you (see: Wikipedia page for Sandy Cheeks, SpongeBob Squarepants’s aquatic and squirrely friend).


14. Discover your alter ego while you still can.

Not everyone is Sasha Fierce. Beyoncé has boatloads of money. You probably don’t (see: minimum wage job), so celebrate your alter ego as early as possible. In the real world, your alter ego, “Tiny Face” signed to “Mad-Dog Produckshunz” is unfortunately a falsehood. Enjoy it while you can.


15. My friend would always say, “When you see a cray, go the other way.”

Yes, I totally agree if you see them with a shiv or a weird look in their eye. But being a cray isn’t always a bad thing. Sometimes people mistake crays for the people who just don’t take anything from anyone and who do their own thing. I like to sit that cray down, and just ask them about life. Which reminds me of a story…

16. College can be a habit-forming time, for better or worse.

College is the most optimum time where each new semester or quarter is like “a fresh start.” But really, there is always a fresh start in life — if you want there to be one.

17. Working for minimum wage is worth it.

For the time being. You may mistake me as your baby-boomer father stroking his dignified beard, but you will never learn the value of a dollar until a job drives you a bit bonkers. Everyone pays his or her dues in one-way or another. But…

18. Your time is just as valuable as money.

They aren’t lying! Time is literally money. Evaluate the cost-benefit of how you spend your day. Sometimes you’ve got to think of yourself as a business with different forms of currency whether that currency is grabbing a cup of coffee with friends or ditching a class that doesn’t even take attendance anyway. What pays you more?

19. You can make anything you want happen.

It’s just a matter of discipline, taking the small steps each day with laser focus. But give yourself some breathing room for life to happen. Timing is everything. Loosen that ninja grip on your goal. Have a bit of wiggle room between you and your nun-chucks.

20. When things don’t go your way, the universe has a way of working out.

Trust that the universe will take care of you as long as you put the work in, are a good citizen to humanity, and keep on keeping on.

21. Travel is a luxury but also an important one.

Your environment dictates your life. Going to Paris or Rome for a couple months won’t make you cooler  or, as a matter of fact, it won’t even make you smarter. That’s your own job, not the city’s. Travel rattles your internal story a bit. Study or work abroad if it is financially possible, because you will never see yourself the same way. If not, take the bus to a different part of town, to a new city. Just go places, and your personal plot thickens. As my English professor always said, “The story happens when you place a character against a landscape.”


22. Things grow back. (except for my hair)

So the loss of your two big toe nails might have been due to your Color Guard Training or training for a 1/2 marathon (more likely that one fateful night in Las Vegas). Screw sandal season. Orthopedic sneakers are always in, right? Or maybe things didn’t go your way when you let a friend cut your hair, leaving you with a comb-over, which pushed you over the edge into buzzing it all off like Britney in her Dark Years. It will seem like the worst thing in the world and then it won’t be. Time is a wonderful thing. After a break up, an embarrassing moment, or a falling out, your heartstrings will mend.

23. But sometimes it might take longer than you expect.

The people you love and the people you lost will always stay with you. Give yourself a break. You loved them. And yes, everyone is vulnerable to heartbreak. You aren’t just a starfish that can sever the feelings like a limb. Celebrate the fact that you aren’t a sociopath, and you are a human with a heart.

24. Vulnerability is strength.

Don’t be afraid of your emotions or being vulnerable with people you care about. You often regret what you didn’t say to someone more than what you did say. Moments pass; so don’t pass up the moment to tell someone you care about them.

25. Come from a place of yes.

Explore more. Introduce yourself. Always join in on the game. As Hunter S. Thompson wrote, “Buy the ticket, take the ride.” Run and try to catch that train that’s leaving the station. No one looks back and wishes they didn’t try.

14 Facts About Sochi

The opening ceremony of the Winter Olympics took place yesterday.  Here are 14 fun facts about Sochi 2014.

1. This will be the 22nd Winter Olympics, and the first to be hosted by Russia.

2. At a cost of around £31 billion, this will be the most expensive Olympics ever.

3. Known as the Russian Riviera, the Black Sea resort of Sochi will be the warmest city ever to host the Winter Olympics.

4. Sochi is thought to be the longest city in Europe, sprawling for 90 miles along the shores of the Black Sea.

5. You’d better clear your diary if you want to travel to Sochi from the Russian capital Moscow. A train journey will take 37 hours.

6. There will be 88 nations represented at the Winter Olympics.

7. Twelve events will make their debut at Sochi 2014, including women’s ski-jumping.

8. The epic torch relay for Sochi 2014, featuring 14,000 torchbearers, went into space via the International Space Station.

9. Sochi, with a population of around 400,000, is the former hometown of tennis star Maria Sharapova.

10. Mascots for the Games are a polar bear, hare and leopard.

11. With eight gold medals and four silvers, the most successful Winter Olympian of all time is Norway’s cross-country skier Bjorn Daehlie.

12. Only one athlete has ever won gold at both Summer and Winter Olympics. Eddie Eagan won the 1920 light-heavyweight boxing gold medal followed by bobsled gold at the 1932 Winter Games.

13. Known more for its fast cars, BMW has built the USA team’s hi-tech bobsleds.

14. The opening ceremony will begin at 20.14 local time tonight, that being 4.14pm here. It will be held inside the Fisht Olympic Stadium, named after nearby Mount Fisht.