Coaches Taking Credit for Successes Must Take Credit for Failures

We have all seen the coaches who are standing right out there proudly taking credit when their gymnasts are doing big skills or are winning. We see coaches standing out on the floor “spotting” gymnasts on double backs or some other difficult skill, not because the gymnast needs to be spotted, but so everyone knows who taught it to them.

Anyone Can Celebrate Success

And when a gymnast hits a big routine, the fair weather coach is the first to be out there, visibly, congratulating the successful gymnast. They make sure they are in the spotlight when their gymnast is looking good, so the credit for the success is sure to be conferred on them.

But Where are Those Same Coaches When Gymnasts Have a Bad Day, Fall or Make Mistakes

But too many of those are the same coach, who is hiding out or turning their back on gymnasts, when they don’t do well. They are the same coaches who stand as far away as possible from the gymnasts on their team when they fall, fail or do poorly.

You Can’t Even Keep a Poker Face?

Or worse yet, are coaches who show obvious signs of disgust, in front of the other gymnasts, parents and the whole crowd or spectators, acting as if the gymnast is embarrassing them. At times like these, and with coaches like this, when all is not going well for a gymnast, they show they want no responsibility for the failures, point the finger at the gymnast, show their disappointment, resentment or even demonstrate avoidance behaviors.

You Can’t Even Keep a Poker Face?

It is easy to celebrate with the victors, but real coaches are teachers and constantly teach even, or most especially, in circumstances where everything did not work out for the best. These are eminently teachable moments, and coaches should be teaching gymnasts how to deal with them and how to make sure they don’t make the same mistakes in the future.

You Are Either Responsible for Both Success and Failure or Not Responsible for Either

If a coach is responsible for the success of gymnasts, it logically follows that they are also responsible for failures and mistakes of their gymnasts. This is nothing to be ashamed of or to avoid. Coaching and learning gymnastics is a process. There are always going to be successes and less than successful stages in the process.

Coaches – Be Aware That your Actions Speak Louder Than Words

Gymnasts are also learning from watching coaches and they see and learn how the coach handles success and failure. For better or worse, they take their cues from the coach as to how they handle those situations. Gymnasts are also affected by the obvious coaching emotions directed toward them in meet situations, good or bad. Coaches should be very aware of the message they are sending and should also be aware that their behavior is very transparent to gymnasts and all who see them at meets.

Coaches – Keep Control of Your Emotions

Coaches need to keep their own emotions and egos under control and handle failure and mistakes with grace and style, just as well they handle success (or better). Any coach who cannot do this, likely can never be a truly successful coach.

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