Sometimes LESS is MORE.
At a recent competition I saw 2 coaches working with a group of Level 5 gymnasts on vault. There was SO MUCH coaching going on I am surprised the gymnasts could even function.
Both coaches spot all vaults.
Gymnasts does a Vault, Looks at Coach #1
Coach #1– Are you awake? You almost hit your back. Run faster and pop off.
Coach #2- Seriously Emma, Hit the Board
Emma starts walking away
Coach #2– Move your steps back
Next Gymnast vaults- looks at coach #1
Coach #1- You guys need to stop fooling around down there. You looked like a banana.
Coach #2- Do you realize that this is a big meet? You are not going to beat anyone with a vault like that. Swing your arms
Next Gymnasts vaults (and does hit her back on the table)- looks at coach #1
Coach #1– You just landed on your back. You need to Pop
Coach #2– (rolls her eyes) C’mon, you need to get going. Try running faster.
This goes on for the rest of their allotted warm up time. By each gymnasts third vault in warm up the kids don’t even look at their coaches. They just do their vault. Pretend to listen and walk back. These two coaches were relatively young and inexperienced. One thing is for sure, THEY ABSOLUTELY CARE ABOUT EACH ONE OF THEIR GYMNASTS AND WANT THEM TO GET BETTER. They just don’t know how.
A Great gymnast may be able to 1 or 2 corrections in a vault. An 8 year old Level 5? Realistically, MAYBE 1.
Here are some quick guidelines for effective coaching
-KEEP IT SHORT and SIMPLE. As a general rule, take a child’s age and put that in seconds. That is the amount of time you have to give a correction. (an 8 year old = 8 seconds. ALL BOYS ARE 5).
-GIVE A CORRECTION NOT AN OBSERVATION. Telling a gymnast she looks like a banana is an observation. Telling her to squeeze her butt and stomach is a correction.
– PRAISE THEM WHEN THEY MAKE A CORRECTION. The best example is that if you tell a gymnast to “run faster” and they do. They will probably mess up their steps. Praise them for making their correction. Then fix the next step.
-DON’T POINT OUT THE OBVIOUS. Telling a gymnast she fell or that she landed on her back is OBVIOUS. They know that already. Give them a correction.
-DO YOUR WORK BEFORE YOU GET TO THE MEET. In other words. Be Prepared. As a coach you will be more relaxed. Your gymnasts will be more relaxed. Meets will be fun.
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