by site editor Rick McCharles
The newly arrived Head Coach in a gym with over 100 competitive girls, I needed to organize a very adaptable conditioning program.
We had large numbers. We had kids with vastly different training hours. We had too few coaches to directly supervise every child.
Here’s what we did:
First half hour of training for every girl was warm-up stretching, games and “floor complex”. These were line drills adjusted to the specific needs of each ability level. Emphasis was on “form” and body position.
The second half hour was conditioning: either Partner or Individual program. Each gymnast had both programs back-to-back in a plastic sheet along with a small golf pencil to make revisions. Kids tried to finish all exercises within 30min.
Actually, both the Partner sheet and the Individual sheet had 2 programs: Medium intensity and Hard intensity. If the gymnast had training the following day, they did the Medium intensity. If no training the next day, then the Hard intensity.
Once gymnasts had their sheets, the onus was on them to do the work. The coaches stayed “free” to observe and step-in when necessary. (Coaches were steadily busy.)
At first we feared the girls would “cheat” or “slack off”. Not so. Within a couple of weeks everyone was “into it”. The psychology of the gym was excellent. It developed intrinsic motivation.
The girls were asked to do each exercise “to exhaustion”. Until their muscles were shaking. We did not assign specific numbers of repetitions though the girls were encouraged to remember their personal records and try to beat them.
We changed both programs once a month. The individual training plan changed on the 1st of the month, the Partner plan on the 15th.
We kept about 50% of the exercises and changed the rest to something more challenging. By the end of the year girls were doing better ring strength than many of the boys!
sample – individual-conditioning (PDF)