We already identified education as a primary solution to most of the issues and problems in our sport. We wanted to add a few more potential solutions. We do not mean this to be a comprehensive attempt to solve all of the problems or solve all the problems in the sport but a number of solutions have occurred to us that we would like to share.
Read Our e-Books
Among the solutions we came up with were, of course, our effort to increase availability of quality education programs for gymnasts, parents, coaches and gym owners. We have taken it upon ourselves to contribute, to the best of our abilities, to the body of written knowledge about our sport of gymnastics.
Research the Sport and Coaching
We have found that the necessary knowledge is available for those dedicated (compulsive?) enough to seek it out. While material dedicated solely to gymnastics is not available, related coaching and training information is available from other sports that applies directly. Coaches who wish to excel can spend the time to do and read the research.
Carefully Work out a Plan
There is no substitute for careful planning. We have found the planing process often clarifies both goals and the correct direction in the training process. Written planning requires coaches to define their goals and maximize their training time to meet those goals as a part of the planning process.
Train Systematically and Consistently
Successful training is systematic. Successful coaches have a training system and they follow the system consistently. Other coaches make it up as they go along and jump from one training emphasis to another depending on how they feel, who they talked to or whatever comes to them at the moment.
Catch Gymnasts Doing Something Right
If coaches can see what gymnasts are doing wrong, they should just as easily be able to see what gymnasts are doing right. Gymnasts tend (as we all do) to repeat behaviors that bring them praise. These positive behaviors and skills become gymnast’s base on which further progress can be built. Negative feedback leaves gymnasts with nothing to build upon but to not do what they were doing.
Success in Gymnastics is Best Measured by Individual Progress
Parent’s need to evaluate their gymnast’s success in the sport by whether they are learning and progressing and are happy in the gym and the sport. Meet results can be tainted by inexperienced judging, the presence or absence of other talented competitors at the meet or just the wrong timing for their current individual progress.
Happy is Good
If gymnasts are learning new skills and getting better and they are happy with their coaches and teammates, specific meet success or lack of it is much less relevant. We are not suggesting that constant losing is a good sign. Indeed, we believe good positive programs will triumph more often than not, but progress is more important than meet results especially at the lower levels of competition. Our experience is that our type of positive training programs is difficult to beat.
Don’t Forget the Natural Benefits of Gymnastics
Parents should also learn to be more satisfied by the other benefits that gymnastics brings to their child and look on competitive success just as more icing on the cake. Gymnasts are invariably among the most strong and fit athletes in their classes at school and among their peers. There is little doubt that fit athletes are also attractive.
Gymnastics Confidence Translates to Confidence in Daily Life
Gymnastics, as an individual sport, often develops a higher level of confidence than is possible in team sports. Every single skill gymnasts learn is a personal accomplishment of which they can and are proud and which contributes to their level of confidence. Most often that confidence built in the gym translates to every are of their lives even to seemingly unrelated areas like public speaking.
Team Sports Don’t Build Confidence as Well
In team sports, athletes can have a great game, but feel bad if their team loses or their team can win but they don’t feel like celebrating because they performed poorly individually. Only if they have a great game and their team wins do team sport athletes get to feel good about themselves.
Gymnast Learn to Achieve Their Goals
Gymnasts, if they are trained correctly, learn to set appropriate goals, and achieve them with the hard work. This goal setting and achieving cycle also translates to all the other areas of a gymnast’s life and is a tremendous life skill to have.
Gymnasts Live the Good Life
Gymnasts who train on a daily basis are less subject to the idle temptations that many of their peers succumb to. They are busy in the gym improving themselves while their school classmates are hanging out at the mall.
Gymnastics is a Great Lifestyle
Gymnastics is a nice lifestyle with lots of travel, built in teammate friends, the excitement of an inherently fun sport, and a level of personal physical fitness that pumps up the endorphin feelings of well-being.
Gymnastics is a Great Sport
With or without actual competition success, gymnastics is a great sport and a great sport for all of the athletes involved in it. The future of gymnastics and youth sports depends on all of us to develop, promote, and implement an appropriate philosophy and training system and program. Let us all dedicate ourselves to that worthy goal.