Because gymnastics is somewhat a “political” sport in terms of the scores gymnasts receive because of their team’s reputation, coaches must take this into consideration in their plans to improve their team and to offer their gymnasts as “fair” and advantageous competition situation as possible.
Gymnasts Need To Compete at Their “Natural” Level
Some coaches attempt to do this by holding gymnasts back who deserve to compete at a higher level. This is not what we are advocating. Gymnasts deserve and will only truly benefit from competing at their “natural” level. And no one is going to be impressed for long with a team that cannot move gymnasts up to higher levels.
Concentrate on Optional Gymnastics Development
The need to concentrate on developing optional skills in the gym is the primary function of the coach and coaching system. Compulsory competition level skills can only be a small part of the development of successful team program.
Begin Optional Development Up to Two Years in Advance
The safe development of optional skills means coaches and gymnasts should begin working skills up to two years before they plan to use them.
Implement an Optional Development Program
Strength and skill training programs like the 10.0 Program, TOPS or STEP should be implemented in team training programs at the earliest ages. The importance of gymnastics strength training and flexibility in developing a gymnast and team cannot be overemphasized.
First Build Team Strength
If you have trained your gymnasts correctly, preparing them physically and with the proper skills, then you are ready to utilize that preparation in the development of your team’s competitive reputation.
Be Prepared to Win in the Beginning of the Season
In September or in the month or so before your competitive begins, schedule 1 – 2 unofficial in-gym competitions with judges. Gymnasts should score a 35.00 to 36.00 All-Around in the level they intend to compete before they should be allowed to represent your team in competition. Gymnasts can and should be training for higher levels even if they are competing at a lower level.
Judges’ Expectations Will Be High Scores
Whenever your team competes they will be scoring high scores. Judges will come to expect and will award your gymnasts 9.00 plus scores whenever your team competes.
Perform Not Just Do Routines
Gymnasts will be able to perform and “sell” routines not just make them.
Success Throughout the Year
The gymnasts on your team will continue to progress throughout the year and will have the opportunity to be competitive and win at State, Regional and National competitions.
Works Throughout a Gymnast’s Career
If this success system is implemented at the beginning of every one of your gymnasts’ careers, they will be able to move up every year and still continue to score in the 9.00s.
Train for Elite, Compete at the Level You’re Successful At
There are options for any gymnasts who might not score high enough. They may compete at their previous level until they are able to score high enough while still training at much higher level.
Build Your Team Reputation
Implementing this system will result over the years in a team that consistently scores high and wins and is expected by judges and competitors to do so. Your team and gymnasts will receive the positive benefits of a “political” judging system.