Role Models in the Gym: Team Kids & Gymrats

June 17th, 2009 by ~ beth

Coaches are not the only role models in the gym. The younger kids look up to the older kids as they aspire to become “one of them.” Team kids are often the role models for their younger counterparts.

So, one of the things I try to teach my team kids is that their actions are being watched. They must follow the rules like everyone else. If their parents drop them off before workout, for example, they are sometimes tempted to get on the equipment and goof off while they wait. If I catch a team kid on any of the equipment prior to workout, they get the honor of cleaning something in the gym. After cleaning a few mats, or crawling under the tumble track to clean, they learn to stay off the equipment really fast.

Otherwise, if they are allowed to break any of the rules, the younger kids will likewise think it’s okay to break the rules.

As our team kids get older, they are often interested in learning about coaching. So, we assign one or two team kids each summer to become gymrats. Gymrats hang out with us in the gym during classes and float with the coaches or help around the gym. The younger kids feel like they are getting to meet a celebrity when one of the Gymrats hangs out with their class to help. The gymrats feel pretty special because they become one of the “junior staff” and as they get old enough, they are already semi-trained to become coaches.

The awesome thing about raising team kids to become coaches is that they are already initiated into our gym’s culture. They know what we expect and how we expect the children in our gym to be treated. Many of them have come up through our preschool program, so they know the preschool warm-up like their favorite childhood jingle.

I love having staff members who have come from my program. The continuity creates a family of coaches who provide the role models we want.

Role Models in the Gym

February 1st, 2009 by ~ beth

Ya know, anytime I speak to young coaches, in particular, I try to remind them that we are role models to the children with whom we work. Our behaviors and appearances are not only important to the parents as they entrust us with their children, but they are also incredibly important to the children who oftentimes view their coaches with hero-worship.

Each child wants to feel like we wait for them individually with bated breath, waiting all week to see them walk across our gym thresholds. That’s because they wait all week with that same anticipation and excitement to see us. We make huge impacts on their lives.

I had a really cute reminder of just how important we are as role models in our children’s lives this past week.

My coach Madi is a precious young coach. She’s not only really pretty, but she has an incredibly vibrant personality. We call her Madi-sunshine because she brings the sunshine into the gym everyday. Even the dreariest winter days are brightened when Madi arrives. The other coaches sense it. The children sense it. Everyone adores Madi. She is a blessing to our gym.

My daughter, Melissa is also a very-loved coach in our gym. Melissa is an amazingly good preschool coach and the children flock to her every week. She treats every child as if they are the most special child she teaches and I am very proud of her coaching ability. She melds fun, laughter, silliness and skill into one. The children have a blast as they learn in her classes. I am honored to have such a wonderful preschool coach on my staff.

Monday evenings at 5:30 are always very busy class hours. Madi coaches mini-champs while Melissa coaches preschool. There are other classes going as well, of course. They run the whole gamut: other preschool classes, boy’s classes, tumbling classes, cheer. You name it, that hour has it. It is a very busy hour.

We have two little sisters who attend during that hour. Jessie is in Madi’s class and Jenny is in Melissa’s class. They are little balls of personality as well. We are never surprised with the things they say or do, because it is ALWAYS an adventure when they come into the gym. I am sure there is never a dull moment in their home.

So, this past week, in bop Jessie and Jenny for their classes. We noticed that Jessie had her ponytail stuck on top of her head and Jenny had a ponytail with an addition of a wide white headband. These were not their normal hairstyles. We noticed the differences, but none of us ever put things together until they informed us that Jessie’s ponytail was stuck on top of her head like Coach Madi’s and Jenny’s ponytail and headband matched Coach Melissa. It was hilarious for these two little girls to so closely mimic their coaches.

Once I realized what they were doing, my thought was, “If we ever doubt the importance of our every move..this will serve as a reminder.” The kids watch us more than we realize. They mimic those they admire. It was humorous and sobering at the same time.

Region 3 Congress

July 21st, 2008 by ~ beth

I got back from Oklahoma City this weekend, and I just wanted to thank all the coaches from Region 3 who attended my sessions.  It was a pretty small congress, but it was great to see you guys who were there.  I would love to hear from you, here on the blog, so we can keep the discussion going!  Thanks again for attending my lectures!  Give me a holler!