Dear Dr. George – What do you consider to be the most important coaching competency for success in gymnastics?
Answer – Gymnastics coaches can only be as effective as the skill models they happen to hold in their heads at that particular time. This is why it’s so important for them to have as accurate a conceptual model as possible for skill execution. For the model concept of the skill held in the coach’s mind determines his/her ultimate effectiveness when teaching gymnasts what to and, more importantly, how to do it.
Each coach holds a specific model concept for every skill which inevitably serves as the “ideal model concept” for the aspiring gymnast. And more often than not, the gymnast responds and trains only to within the limits of these models.
Consequently it becomes important for coaches to continually refine their skill models, particularly as they relate to the core movement patterns in gymnastics. It is far more important to continually refine basic skill models than to gain some cursory understanding of how to do complex, elite level maneuvers.
My recent book, Championship Gymnastics, provides aspiring coaches with a simple, step-by-step approach on how to develop truly ideal skill models. Taking time to conceptualize basic movement patterns may seem tedious at first, but it’s the fastest and surest way to ultimate success in gymnastics.
“Never forget the story of the tortoise and the hare!”
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