TIPS for opening Gyms during COVID-19

A round table hosted by John Min, USECA Video Chairman.

A NEW challenge for each Club. This is a brainstorming session.

The BIG recommendation is not to rush. Come back slowly and safely. We have a new, unexpected meso-cycle in our training year which precedes another Preparation Phase. Slow return to the Gym after weeks of lockout.

Steve Arkell:

  • Inviting back Competitive first, staggering training times
  • Check for temperature of athletes on arrival (this is not foolproof)
  • About 4 people / 1000 sq feet
  • Kids in each rotation group will stay as far apart as possible. Apparatus groups will switch at the same time, in order to keep distance.
  • Take this COVID-19 opportunity for super keen gymnasts to find a better life / gymnastics balance.
  • When skills are eventually introduced, use tumbling trampolines, pits, soft surfaces. Don’t rush.
  • Coaches will wear masks.
  • Coaches will be tested just before coming back to the Gym.
  • Coaches and gymnasts should be challenged to progress with LESS spotting, even on Bars. Slide mats rather than hand spot. (Spotting belts might make a return to popularity.)
  • Adding new RECORDS bulletin board for fitness tests. This will be the focus at first, not skills.

Craig Zappa:

  • Anything you did not like about your old program, should be banished now. This is a great opportunity to reinvent your program. A fresh start.
  • High priority is to STOP the keenest athletes from overdoing it on getting back to the Gym. Injury is a worry after weeks out.
  • Advise athletes that anticipated J.O. move ups are on hold, for now
  • This ‘forced rest’ is an opportunity to fully heal old injuries
  • Watch themselves on video (Mental Training)
  • Reassuring the parents will be a high priority.
  • His club uses a ‘fogging machine’ to disinfect. It takes 10 minutes. He’ll do it 2-3 times / day.
  • Might delay the calendar of competitions for the 2021 season. Don’t rush.
  • Assign one gymnast / Beam for all of each rotation
  • Craig would like to have clear masks for coaches.
  • Craig will allow very few parents into the Gym. Other clubs will simply ask parents not to enter the Gym.

Mary Wright:

  • Time to focus on cooperation. Coaches and athletes working together to get back to peak training form.
  • Be smart. Rebuild confidence progressively
  • Conditioning first after a few weeks away
  • General strength before specific
  • Flexibility improvement phase
  • Aerobic base
  • Work ‘shapes‘ before movements
  • Time at home is a chance for gymnasts to make Dream Boards and set goals / objectives
  • Training would progressively advance to BASICS without rush. Up to 2 hours / day to start.
  • If this limited training goes on for months, planned goals for 2021 will have to be modified.

Olivia Estes:

  • Has been working on personal development of athletes while at home. Generosity. Team supporting one another.
  • Has been using a combination of big group Zoom meetings. Smaller meetings in private Facebook groups.
  • To start … will likely only allow top 12 athletes to use the pit
  • Equipment will be cleaned ongoing during workout
  • Coaches only work with ONE group of kids. If anyone tests positive, those coaches and kids will be out of the Gym.
  • Plans on minimum spotting. Only the very top gymnasts will be spotted. And not for the first 8 weeks or so after return.

Click PLAY or watch it on YouTube.

Published by

Rick Mc

Career gymnastics coach who loves the outdoors, and the internet.

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