Ask The Coach
Subject: 8 Year Old Bored Gymnast
After this young gymnast watched video of Jordyn Wieber in training and heard one of the Twistars coaches say they make their girls do 10 routines and do about 10-15 of their problem work after that. She heard the Twistars girls said it really helps them and she was impressed that Twistars has 40 gymnasts that are between level nine through Elite gymnasts.
The coach emailed me and asked:
A 8 year old Level 5 bored gymnast
Boredom is Not Her Problem, But Boredom is a Huge Problem in Most Gymnastics Gyms
Not sure where boredom comes into this situation, but it does happen frequently in gyms everywhere. Everyone should be impressed that this young gymnast is watching gymnastics videos. Many young gymnasts this age just train, but do not, or rarely, study the sport at all outside the gym. We have a winner here!
Eliminate Boredom From Gymnastics Practices
#1 – Look in the mirror. If what you see in the mirror is a coach with no sleep, burned out from doing two full-time jobs plus managing a gym and trying to handle the stress from dealing with coaches, parents and gymnasts, then that is what the gymnast is seeing as well. If you are excited and enthusiastic, then she will feed off that.
#2 – Each skill and every routine repetition should be done with a different emphasis, like focus on handstands in the bar routine, work on increasing lift and height in tumbling, focus on sticking landings, go all out and put on a theatrical performance, concentrate on hand positions on skills in beam and floor routines or emphasize grace and elegance in the dance sections of a floor routine. There are so many elements to choose from and a variety of ways to make every routine interesting, while simultaneously improving the routine.
#3 – She needs to know there is a difference between her and those Level 9 – Elite gymnasts. They are already high level optionals and are primarily focusing on training routines to compete this year. She is primarily training to learn new skills, catch up to them and pass them and just training Level 5 routines for this compulsory year is not as important as that.
#4 – Build a more clearer intense FutureVision of her gymnastics and get her gymnastics goals back in the front of her mind. What is she doing all this for?
#5 – Reevaluate your practices for too much similarity and not enough surprise, variety and excitement. You are likely coaching too mechanistically and with too much emphasis on repetition and drills. Concentrate on progress and keeping movement in the right general direction.
#6 – Compete every day, all day. Competition breeds excitement and enthusiasm. It gets gymnasts to give 110%.
#7 – Challenge her. Give her daily challenges, maybe with a little motivation kicker – “If you hit a cast handstand this turn, I have to do one, too.”
#8 – Coach with more emotional intensity and make her train with more physical intensity.
#9 – Don’t believe that motivation, drive and determination cannot be implanted in gymnasts. It is your job to coach and motivate, not just accept how an 8 year old is currently.
#10 – Make sure she makes progress every day and preferably learns a new skill every day on some event. Learning new skills is what makes gymnasts happiest and at her age, there is so much you can teach her and she can learn.