Many coaches are adamant about insisting that their gymnasts keep “busy” during their gymnastics practices. While we remain unconvinced that busy is what we are going for (we prefer productive, making steps of progress and learning as our practice goals), we have developed a system, by which we have gymnasts doing literally 100s of useful skills, during each practice.
Do a 100 Handstands Sometime During This Practice
The Hundreds (100’s) Program, as we call it, is designed to fix weaknesses, focus on important skills and abilities and train efficiently. Simply stated, we have gymnasts do 100 of a skill during their daily practice. We originally started the program to improve the handstands of the gymnasts in our gym. We did the program, not just with our team and training programs, but eventually with our older recreational gymnasts as well.
Do a 100 Handstands on Beam
The next step in the program was expanding to have our gymnasts do an extra 100 handstands on the beam every day to ensure our gymnasts had a firm mastery of those. Their instructions were to do a 100 handstands, on any beam, any time during the beam practice. We alternated days of having them do English and side handstands.
Expanding the Concept
When we saw visible progress from our handstand campaign in a matter of weeks, we began to think how we could use the same training concept in other areas of training. We were quickly alternating 100’s of handstands on floor bars in a variety of grip and 100’s of cast handstands.
During the competition season, we track what skills gymnasts have problems with in their meets. We track falls and major errors for all of our gymnasts. That gives us an idea of what skills, we still need work on. And the 100’s training gave us the tool for fixing those problems.
Adding Consistency Tracking
When we started using 100’s training for fixing the skills our gymnasts were having problems with in competition, we added a new phase to the concept. We had gymnasts, not only count how many they did, but count how many they made, out of how many (“I stuck 83 full turns out of the 100”).
Build a Strong Base and Fix Problems
Eventually, we were using the the 100’s program on every event, except for vault, and for both fixing problem skills and building a strong base for skills, like handstands, presses, planches, etc. We had our gymnast doing an extra 100 skills on each event during virtually every practice. The program works so well, we often find our gymnasts have added their own 100 skills to the ones we suggest.