Advice from Anne Josephson on these all too common challenges:
1. Not Moving Up a Level.
2. Not Qualifying for a Major Meet or Blowing it When You Get There.
3. An Injury at an Inopportune Time.
4. Losing a Skill.
5. A Mental Block or Major Fear.
6. A Plateau.
7. A Disappointing (or an Even Worse than Last Season) Season.
Kiwi swimmer Laura Quilter posted some terrific advice for all athletes:
The strangest thing happened when I arrived back in New Zealand after racing at the World University Games in Korea, Everyone congratulated me.
See, at the Games I made my first ever individual international final in the 50m butterfly. The result of that one event was what people back home had heard about, courtesy of a few news articles.
No-one had any idea that I pulled out of the 200 freestyle because I was swimming so poorly.
No-one had any idea that my 100m freestyle was the slowest time I had produced in over 3 years. …
I was blindsided by positivity that first week at home. Congratulations flooded in. It was during that week that I realised how true all those sayings are. …
Click through to read the whole story. 🙂
1. Gymnastics is fun
If you’re not a gymnast, you may never understand.
Wendy Bruce Martin:
Many can not understand why a child wants to be in a gym 25 hours a week. Why they choose to swing bars with rips, tumble with sprained ankles, or get up off the floor after they have crashed on the beam and try their skill again and again without blinking an eye.
They do it because they love the challenge. When others would complain that something is too hard and shy away, they lean into the challenge. When others are fearful and want to stop, they find a way to knock down the fear and walk over it. They do it to feel pride, satisfaction, appreciation, accomplishment; they do it to feel alive. …
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 as WORK
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
- 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.
Rachel Doherty posted an excellent article. It includes some tough facts. And this interesting graphic.
1. Having an athlete is expensive
2. Sport is a selfish beast
5. There are far more hard days than podium moments
9. It has to be their dream, not yours
Click through to read the rest.