Once again I find some great information on Vern Gambetta’s blog, FUNCTIONAL PATH TRAINING. We all mistakes but we have to realize those mistakes, correct them and don’t make those same mistakes again. (insert any of your favorite historical quote on history here).
The following is a list of some mistakes that I have made in coaching and teaching. If you learn from your mistakes I should be a genius, but unfortunately some of the lessons were only learned after I repeated these mistakes several times. I hope that by sharing these with you, it will help you to avoid making the same mistakes I have made.
It does not have to be hard to be good. – Each workout is part of a larger picture. If you put their backs to the wall in each training session you will quickly lose sight of the picture. Everything must be in context. Remember that different physical qualities adapt at different rates, so they need to be stressed differently. In the end, the gymnasts must WANT to be there. If your practices are unbearably difficult EVERY day, you will lose your best gymnasts.
Too much, too soon – You can’t hurry the adaptive process. The younger athlete can handle a lot both in terms of volume and intensity, but once again if you lose sight of the big picture it is important to remember that not following proper progression and individualizing can stifle long term development. Take a broad approach to their gymnastics in the beginning. I have always wondered how many Level 4 or 5 State Champions went on to be an Elite or compete at JO Nationals.
Overloading the spine – Too often and too young – I think this is obvious so I don’t know why it took me so long to figure it out. Even with the mature athlete the spine just cannot take the heavy repetitive loading that is imposed on it by too many hard landings.
Too many exercises or drills in a training session – This just leads to confusion from an administrative perspective and poor adaptive response on the part of the athlete. This results in a loss of focus. They get tired but they do not get better. Practice the KISS method. Keep It Simple Stupid.
Repetitious Exercises – Usually overloads one area or one component, the end result is a poor training response. I always say hunt with a rifle, not a shotgun.
Training to failure – This leads to failure. Each workout becomes an end unto itself and the athlete starts holding back anticipating the failure.
Over reliance on one exercise or training method – This created on trick ponies. You are what you train to be. Reliance on a machine in training or a modality in rehab. You adapt to that environment, but not the environment you need to perform in.
Quick fixes – There are none! I have learned that it is an easy come, easy go proposition.
Crash programs – Crash programs crash, you can’t hurry the process. Adaptation takes time and the time frames for the various components are quite predictable.