Happy New Year Everyone!!!
Already we are into the New Year and another JO season is starting. Every year we are a little nervous around this time because some of the gymnasts are still not quite ready for the competition and many of their routines are not quite consistent yet.
However, we have a long season and the gymnasts need to peak at their Nationals in April or May. Most of our gymnasts are not quite ready to compete with their targeted routines and they need to be further developed during the season.
We normally compete about 6 meets before the State, Regional and Nationals. The first 2 or 3 meets are physically to get into routine shape as well as switching gears to the competition mode mentally.
Once we are in the competition season the goals for each gymnast are very clear. As we compete in each meet we will see the results of their effort in black and white after every meet.
At the beginning of the season, the goal for the gymnasts could be just hitting all the routines in the meet. As the season advances, adding an additional skill in the routine or hitting the routine with better quality and/or better execution could be very good goals.
Sometimes, gymnasts are too concerned about the outcome of the meets such as the placements or the scores of their routines. The placement of the normal invitational meets rarely gives us a good indication of their true ability. Unfortunately, judgesâ€™ scores can fluctuate State to State or the overall level of competition for each age division could fluctuate from meet to meet.
It is much more constructive to set goals for their performances such as number of hit routines or number of stuck dismounts or amount of execution deductions, for example, which are controllable goals for each gymnast.
The State, Regional and National meets are the only meets which will give us a true indication as to where our gymnasts stand at this moment.
Our final goals for the last 3 meets (State, Regional and Nationals) are hitting all 4 routines with 80% of the best routine quality regardless of the scores or the placements. When they accomplish these goals they should feel good about their meet performances.
Then, accept whatever the outcome is. If they end up short and missed the qualification score or missing the placement to go to the Nationals, she was not quite ready for this season. So she needs to improve her weak areas during the off season which should be her next long term goal.
However, she will regret it if she misses the qualification or placing high where she belongs by missing the routine or by poor performances.
We do many routines in the workout to increase the consistency of their routines. The optimum number of routines for each gymnast varies by their level of routine or sometimes even by the individual.
If the routine contains low difficulty and is less taxing on the body, she can handle many numbers. However, some of the level 10 gymnasts or elite gymnasts who tumble with extremely tough skills such as double layout, pike full in, triple full or Arabian double front for example, might want to be very careful assigning the number of routines each day.
This is where the experiences of each coach will come in and it is a very important judgment. Very careful observation of the gymnasts will give us a good indication where her limit is and when you need to ease up on the gymnast.
You could however make a mistake by giving all the considerations for talented gymnasts all the time and overly protecting them will weaken their mental toughness.
This is the art of coaching!
We all make mistakes and learn from them. We grow up with the gymnasts and our learning will never end. This is why I am still coaching and enjoying every minute of it.
Have fun coaching!!!