Nick Ruddock’s advice for your Gym

It All Starts With a Vision
INVEST Time in Communicating Your Culture
Leadership Should be Demonstrated at All Levels
It’s Your Ship
Be Accountable
Develop ‘Buy In’
Be a Role Model
Encourage Diversity
Remove Toxicity
Avoid the 3 C’s
… Complaining, Comparing and Criticizing

10 Quick Tips

Click through for details.

protecting gymnasts from predators

Protecting Gymnasts From Predators – Part 1

Protecting Gymnasts From Predators – Part 2

Darkness to Light has a great educational resource called “The 5 Steps to Protecting Our Children”;

Step 1: Learn The Facts: Realities, Not Trust, Should Influence Your Decisions Regarding Children

Step 2: Minimize Opportunity: If you eliminate or reduce isolated, one-on-one situations between children and adults, and children and other youth, you’ll dramatically reduce the risk of sexual abuse.

Step 3: Talk About It: Children often keep abuse a secret, but barriers can be broken down by (parents) talking openly about our bodies, sex, and boundaries.

Step 4: Recognize The Signs: Don’t expect obvious signs when a child is being sexually abused. Signs are often there, but you have to know what to look for.

Step 5: React Responsibly: DISCLOSURE of sexual abuse means a child has chosen you as the person he or she trusts enough to tell. It is the moment when children learn whether others can be trusted to stand up for them.

Protecting Gymnasts From Predators – Part 3

One more point. Clubs should not discourage parents from watching practice. The more transparency the better.

Our competitive gymnasts are amongst the best protected children. But we could do even better.

On a related topic Nicole Bard has advice for parents in a post titled …

What To Look For In A Good Gym: Abuse Series Part 1

1. Open Floor Plan
2. Cameras
3. Proper Conduct Training and Policies

Team Building for coaches

by Rick McCharles

“Team Building” normally refers to athletes.

But in this post I talk about building team spirit with the coaches in your gym or camp.

It evolved out of a Gymnastics Alberta retreat workshop with 40 gym coaches brain-storming these topics:

Coaching as FUN
Coaches as PEOPLE
Coaching COMMUNICATION
Coaching as WORK

build-a-bridge-and-get-over-it

Coaching as FUN:

  • goal is for coaches to feel “part of the team” (camaraderie)
  • say “thank-you” to coaches
  • acknowledge when a coach does a good job
  • club should provide in-gym uniform — but let coaches decide what that uniform will be
  • ideas: tank top throw-over in summer, fleece in winter
  • give promo t-shirts for coaches
  • encourage coaches to attend Adult Rec / Fitness class after coaching
  • team-building events for coaches: Christmas party, barbecue, regular coach socials, coffee meetings, etc.
  • memory wall – funny things that happened in the gym are posted by coaches (things kids said, thank-you notes to coaches from kids and parents, etc.)
  • theme days for kids and coaches: crazy hair day, etc.
  • choreographed club warm-up that can be led by any coach

Coaches as PEOPLE:

  • recognize coaches as “individuals” with different strengths and weaknesses
  • assign as much responsibility as possible
  • coach must find their own “sub” coach when away
  • gift from club to coaches are much appreciated: spa treatment, massage gift certificate, etc.
  • performance reviews with follow-up
  • check on coaches “pet peeves” – e.g. rotations, groupings, time on equipment. Answer those concerns.
  • supervisor meets regularly with individual coaches

Coaching COMMUNICATION:

  • formal & informal communication are both important
  • supervisor needs to be available to talk to coaches
  • coach needs to be available to talk to parents. Follow the kids out of the gym at the end of the class to be available to chat.
  • paid regular coaching meetings
  • email memos to coaches and post those memos for coaches who did not check email
  • up-to-date memo board (with prize for the coach who reads the memo first as an incentive to read the memos!)
  • clear procedure (chain of command) for parent complaints
  • social for coaches with parent Board of Directors
  • keep in touch with former coaches and older gymnasts – invite alumni back on a regular basis
  • up-to-date “sub phone list”. Note on the list which days the coach might be available for subbing.

Coaching as WORK:

  • contracts (full-time) and letters of agreement (part-time) are essential
  • supervisors must back their coaches in public. Any problems dealt with privately and confidentially.
  • clubs need budget for “professional development” for all coaches in-gym and outside the gym
  • fair treatment for employees. No special treatment for “friends” of the boss.
  • recognition and reward for long-term coaches
  • reasonable remuneration
  • reward good work
  • reward very good attendance by coaches
  • no “rules”, only expectations for coaches
  • coaches willing to “sub” should be rewarded better; e.g. point system for sub hours, small gift for sub, etc.
  • reward coaches who do little extras: clean-up gym, volunteer at events, etc.
  • pay at least 50% of cost of professional development events
  • wage increments for performance
  • wage increments for coaches willing to do more hours / week
  • recruit coaches from within the club as much as possible
  • CIT (coach in training) program is important

Coaches should reflect on the psychological atmosphere at the gym.

How can it be made a happier, more magical place for gymnasts and coaches?

Money in the budget helps a lot. But there are many things we can do to build coaching team spirit which does not cost a penny.

Gym Momentum Team Building
Gym Momentum Team Building