What separates the good gymnastics coaches from the great ones? Is there a specific formula to follow to make sure your gymnast ends up with a great coach? Or should you just wing it and hope for the best? Well, there really isn’t a set formula for greatness, but definitely don’t wing it! Here are a few guidelines of what to look for to make sure your child’s coach is a great one.
- A great coach understands that every gymnast is different. Each one has different strengths, different weaknesses, and different fears, and each one responds differently to various coaching techniques. Your child’s coach should understand this and coach each gymnast according to their individual needs. If your child shuts down when she’s yelled at, a coach who constantly yells to drive a point home probably isn’t going to be great for her (honestly, a coach who yells all the time probably isn’t going to make the list of the greats for anyone!).
- A great coach never belittles a gymnast. Gymnastics is a hard-enough sport without having a coach tell the gymnasts that they’re terrible or that they’ll never be any good. A coach’s job is to build up their athletes by helping them believe in themselves and by helping them work through their fears and weaknesses. There is no place for belittling in the gym!
- A great coach maintains open lines of communication with their gymnasts’ parents. They understand that gymnastics is mentally and physically demanding, and they want the parents to be on their team, helping to fortify self-esteem and confidence at home when the training day is over.
- A great coach is technically proficient and wise in their application of drills and progressions. In other words, a great coach understands the foundation of each advanced skill. They understand the drills and skills that each gymnast must master before progressing to the next skill level. Great coaches never throw a gymnast into a skill that they don’t have the foundation to perform, as this can be dangerous and frustrating for the gymnast.
- Finally, a great coach realizes that their influence with your child extends beyond the gym. They understand that what they say and how they say it impacts your child and they are careful to give positive feedback along with constructive criticism. They work hard to make sure their athletes are a team who support each other both in the gym and outside of the gym.
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