The Gymnastics Coaching Blues

Gymnasts and coaches need to be aware that at the end of the summer, coaches often stress about the difference between what they had hoped to accomplish and what really happened. Often inflated hopes and expectations can lead to an early fall letdown for coaches.

Be Aware of the Situation

This sometimes results in coaches putting extra pressure on the gymnasts right at the beginning of the school year, when gymnasts are already dealing with the pressures of going back to school and adjusting to a new workout schedule. Stress on both sides of the coaching and gymnast relationship can lead to either or both sides saying or doing things they later regret.

Coaches Feel the Pressure of the Approaching Season

Excessive coaching pressure is one of the prime components of gymnast burnout. Coaches must be extremely aware of their emotional state and control their interactions with their gymnasts. This period is extra stressful in view of the rapidly approaching competitive season and the need to have skills mastered and consistent completed routines.

Meets are Artificial Deadlines

Both coaches and gymnasts need to remember during this period that continuing progress is the goal and artificial time deadlines for relatively inconsequential meets are not important. Becoming a good gymnast is a long-term process and only a few major competitions are of long term importance.

Everyone is Tired

This is also a period when both coaches and gymnasts are often tired at practice. Coaches often may have been working long hours preparing for the new fall session, building and installing new equipment and rearranging the gym and the program.

“Gym Lag”

Gymnasts experience a type of “gym lag” changing from daytime practice to night practice and dealing with their longer work day which now includes school and homework time. As with any radical schedule change, the body requires time to readjust its biological time clock. Care must be taken to avoid injury during this period, since more injuries occur when gymnasts are tired.

Before Meet Coaches’ Blues

This type of stressful period can also appear right before competitions. Coaches feel tremendous pressure from parents and themselves to do well at meets and put extra pressure on gymnasts to work more and work harder and tempers can become short. In both these situations, both coaches and gymnasts need to relax, step back and take a look at the bigger picture and continue to deal with each other in a positive manner.

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