Too many, if not most, coaches treat their gymnasts like mushrooms. As the old saying goes (in the PG version) – “They treat them like mushrooms, they keep them in the dark and feed them a bunch of manure.” Coaches walk into the gym and begin to give young gymnasts orders about what they must do. But they never make sure and explain to the gymnasts exactly what they are doing, why they are doing it, where they are headed with it and how this fits into the goals for the season and for their career (if, indeed, they have set goals with the gymnast).
This Style of Coaching is a Coaching Failure
“Mushroom” coaching is a major error for a number of reasons. Good coaching is purposeful, in that it has a clearly defined purpose, and is designed to head toward a specific goal. Purposeful training is one of the training requirements for a 10,000 hours to excellence program. “Mushroom” coaching fails to utilize the motivation and drive that specific short-term and long-term goals bring to the table.
Failure to Put Gymnast’s Minds to Work
Perhaps the greatest failure of the “mushroom” coaching style is that it fails to understand the importance of the proper mindset in harnessing the power of the gymnast’s subconscious mind to the task of making them a great gymnast. To create physical changes, of which the subconscious mind is completely in control of, there must be an “intention” to change or to make a change. Without intent, positive change and progress are limited or non-existent. When there is intent to achieve a specific goal, the power of the subconscious mind is harnessed to help achieve that goal and success is more directly and quickly achieved.
This does not mean that there is any need to waste time with long drawn out explanations of daily training. But gymnasts (and the subconscious) need instructions in order to function efficiently. Gymnasts need to know what they are trying to achieve. Telling gymnasts, just that they have to do 10 routines, is not anywhere near as effective as educating them about the fact that they are working on improving their consistency on their routine for the upcoming competition, and that their current goal for the day is 5 no-fall (or 5 no major error) routines.
The subconscious mind needs instructions, in order for it to direct its energy in a purposeful direction with intention. Failing to provide gymnasts with the proper instruction, goals and direction lead to less progress.
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