Chess is Not a Sport But Gymnastics Coaching Should be like Chess

chess pieces

chess pieces

Russians Think Chess is a Sport

In Russia, chess is considered a sport. There are chess halls in National Sports Training centers and the results of chess matches are reported on TV during the sports segment. The rest of us in the world are sure that chess is not a sport, primarily because there is absolutely no physical skill, physical movement or physical activity involved in chess at all. Regardless of whether you consider chess a sport or not, chess does have certain lessons that can be learned by sports coaches, including gymnastics coaches.

Know All the Strategies and Gambits

A great coach knows all of the potential strategies for training gymnasts and all the possible “moves.” With that encyclopedic knowledge of all the training possibilities for gymnastics, the coach can pick the right move for the right gymnast at the right time.

See 12 Moves Ahead

Great chess players are always setting up moves 3 – 12 moves ahead (or even more). Gymnastics coaches need to have and utilize this same ability to look into the future to see what the individual needs of each gymnast are going to be in the future and begin the training necessary to achieve that now.

Attack Weaknesses, Defend Strengths

Great chess players successfully attack their opponents weaknesses and defend their most important pieces. gymnastics coaches need to help gymnasts attack and overcome and master their weaknesses, because that will yield some of the fastest possible improvement. At the same time, coaches need to help gymnasts identify and maximize their strengths and put their strengths on prominent display in competitions.

Turn Players (Gymnasts) Into Queens (Powerful and Versatile Athletes)

In chess, if a pawn reaches the opposite side of the board during a game, it can be promoted to any other piece (except a king) and almost always players choose to promote it to become a queen, the most powerful and versatile piece on the board. Coaches should always be looking and working to make the right moves to turn their gymnasts into powerful and versatile athletes.

Each Piece (Gymnast) Moves (Learns) Differently

Each gymnast (moves) dances, competes and learns differently. On the chessboard, the range of potential movements of the different pieces is extremely different. Likewise, each and every gymnast is different from every other gymnast and learns and moves differently. This is not only okay, but adds interest and variety to the sport.

Each Piece’s (Gymnast’s) Path to Victory is Different

During a chess match, each piece moves in its own way, different from the other pieces, in order to achieve victory. Coaches must recognize the individuality of each gymnast and help them find their own individual path to victory.

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