Staff Education

When the competition season is over usually we try to reorganize the classes and some of the children move up in level.

Whenever you have new gymnasts join your group you hope that they don’t have any pronounced weaknesses, particularly in the basic areas.

However, we often find technical flaws in basic skills that prohibit the gymnasts from learning necessary skills they need for the next level. If that is the case you need to put some time into re-teaching basic technique, which sometimes slows down the improvement of the entire group.

Ideally this should not happen if the previous coach has done a good enough job at that level. When this starts to happen often enough we need to start paying attention to educating the lower level team staff members.

At least the coaches of the upper level need to pay attention to the gymnasts who are immediately below your group, because the next new team members you will have will be coming from the level below you.

It will be a good idea to talk to the coaches of the level below you and communicate often. In that way you are familiar of the gymnasts and their problems if they have any. And of course, help the coaches to solve some of their problems when you have some spare time.

Generally, this type of problem (technical deficiency in basics) occurs when the gymnasts make the transition between the compulsory level to the optional level, namely from level 6 to level 7.

If you have enough numbers of new gymnasts who are moving up you simply put them together and create new level 7 groups. This way the effect of a few weak gymnasts may not be as crucial to the whole group as opposed to a few weak gymnasts joining an existing optional group.

In order to avoid this situation all together it makes sense to have an in-house staff education program for the compulsory staff periodically.

There are a number of ways that you can organize clinics, but all the focus needs to be placed on the desired technique for all the basic skills.

Following is an example of the skill list (just for tumbling) that I would use to explain the details of the body positions and technique, as well as the progressions, in the staff clinic.

Tumbling (floor exercise) session
Pre-tumbling skills
Handstand body position, pirouette, straddle press to handstand, straight leg forward & backward roll, front walkover, back walkover, cartwheel (block cartwheel), arched dive roll, back extension roll to handstand

Basic core tumbling skills: single skills (Floor or tumble track)
Headspring, front handspring, fly spring, round off, back handspring, running front tuck

Tumbling skill series: (Floor or tumble track)
Front handspring step out to front handspring
Front handspring step out – cartwheel – front handspring
Front handspring – fly spring (& series)
Round off – back handspring (& series)
Round off – back handspring – back tuck
Round off – back tuck

Trampoline basics (place 8” skill cushion or resi-pit behind)
Series of bounce then stop the bounce
Small bounce to back tuck
Series of back handspring &/or back tuck
Small jump to front tuck & pike
Small bounce to back layout

This session needs to be done on the other events as well, but this way all the coaches will understand the same technique for the basics skills and open up communication among the coaches in your club.

Have fun coaching!

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