(Soviet Gymnast from 1956 - 1964)
Larisa holds the record for most Olympic gold medals for any female in the history of the Olympic Games, only recently surpassed for all round competitor by Michael Phelps as a male competitor.
Larisa has a whopping 18 Olympic medals to her name! She held this record for 48 years. After retiring from gymnastics in 1966, she went on to coach the Soviet National Gymnastics Team for 11 years. Under her coaching, the Soviet team won gold in 1968, 1972 and 1976 Olympics. She also played a large roll in organizing the gymnastics competition in the 1980 Olympic Games in Moscow.
(Japanese P- Bars Gymnast from 1976 Olympics)
Sawao Kato was a valued team member of the Japanese Gymnastics team in the late 70's. Throughout these Olympics games, Kato won 12 medals, 8 of which where gold! He specialized in the Parallel Bars. He went on to win the Individual Men's Gymnastics Event. In Japan, Kato is highly respected as the top gymnast with the most wins held for Japan.
Currently, Kato is a professor at the University of Tsukuba.
(Romanian Gymnast 1976-1984)
Nadia is the first female gymnast to be awarded a perfect score of 10.00. She is was one of the youngest and one of the original gymnasts in the history of modern gymnastics. Nadia is a three time gold medalist with a total of 9 medals to her name! After her very successful gymnastics career Nadia went on to coach, and commentate in gymnastics competitions.
(USA Gymnast 1976-1984)
Nasia is a former Russian American gymnast. She was the 2008 Olympic all-around champion, with 5 Olympic medals. Liukin was a key team member of the U.S. senior team. She represented the United stated at three World Championships & one Olympic games. Liukin comes from a family of champions, with her father being an Olympic athlete, along with her brother. She retired from gymnastics in 2012. She went on to join NBC Sports as a gymnastics analyst. Nastia also went on to launch her own app called 'Grander' that is aimed at connecting aspiring gymnasts with inspiration, and empowerment.
Have you ever wondered where gymnastics skills get there names from? I'm sure you know that a few skills are named after particular gymnasts... but do you know when the skill was first competed? Or why it was so special?
The world of gymnastics is ever changing, developing and growing. It is one of the few sports in the world that is guaranteed to evolve over time. In 30 years time, the competing world of gymnastics will not be what it is today. You will likely see current day skills removed, and new skills included.
If youtube and video sharing is still relevant in 30 years, there is bound to be a new collection of "BANNED" gymnastics moves from the 2010's.
To have the honor of having a skill named after you, it needs to be competed at a high level eg. World Championships & Olympics. Each skill is rated from category A (easiest) to category I (hardest).
Victoria Moors: Floor Skill
The Moors is a backwards double-twisting double layout. The hardest category rating of "I" was created by FIG (Fédération Internationale de Gymnastique) especially for this skill. This skill is so challenging because the gymnast is landing completely blind.
Olga Korbut: Balance Beam
In the 1972 Olympics Soviet Gymnast Olga Korbut first performed her signature beam skill. It involved a backward somersault that ends with her straddling the beam. It was the first time this skill was performed and it changed the way competing gymnasts flowed on the beam.
The skill can be seen at 0:40 seconds.
Eberhard Gienger: Bars
A Gienger is a backflip into a half turn - where a gymnast begins their swing facing outwards and ends with them facing inwards. This skill was first performed by German gymnast Eberhard Gienger. This skill can be competed in a piked position or in a layout position.
It was a challange to find a video of him competing this skill from the 1970's. Here is a video of gymnast demonstrating the skill and a video of Gienger competing in the 1972 Olympics.
Elena Shushunova: Floor
Soviet gymnast Elena Shushunova first competed this skill in the 1986 World Cup. It is now a skill that is competed by numerous gymnasts due to its versatility to connect it to other skills. Lisa Skinner is an Australian gymnast who competed the shushunova skill 3 times in her routine in the 2000 Olympics routine.
Skill can be seen at 1:30 min of the video.
What did you think about all these elite gymnast and their trademark skills?
It would be great to do some more blog posts like this in the future. So we can learn a little bit of history behind some gymnastic skills.
Signing off for now,
In recent times we have observed an influx of recreational fitness programs marketed and programmed directly for the senior citizens of the world. In the global sporting world, we are noticing that more fitness centers are considering the importance of supporting and nurturing our elders.
"This Program has boosted their confidence and they now believe they can do activities they never thought they could do before."
- Chanelle Gunderson, Recreation Coordinator for Waterford. Delta Gymnastics
As children, we are often told "respect your elders". Yet it seems as soon as we become adults ourselves, we seem to forget this a bit. It is no longer a larger priority of ours as we become consumed with the personal matters in our own lives.
"Aging isn't just a biological process - it's also very much a cultural one."
In an article by huffpost they mention their observations of cultural constructs regarding the elderly from Eastern and European, compared to Western countries. "While many cultures celebrate the aging process and venerate their elders, in Western Cultures - where youth is [idolized] and the elderly are commonly removed from the community - to hospitals and nursing homes -- aging has become a shameful experience." The article goes on state that "People themselves, when they're aging feel that there's something wrong with them and they're losing value."
This is why it is so fantastic to see programs and companies showing their support in changing these ideas!
In the past year a gymnastics club, Delta Gymnastics, has launched a program by the name of "Seniors Can Move". The program was a pet project of sorts for Chanelle Gunderson who envisioned the program as a game changer. Chanelle notes each week her gymnasts making progress with their confidence, balance and flexibility.
In a previous blog post, I discussed how movement is crucial for the health and well being of our older citizens. It greatly reduces risk of falling, broken bones and mentally stimulates those who lack the social opportunities in their communities. Movement programs also reduce the chances of developing Dementia. You can read that blog post here.
Chanelle also notes how her senior gymnasts met the program with reservation and a little fear initially. However, Coach Chanelle invited anyone who fit the bill to check out the facility and the program, even walk on the sprung floor before joining the program. "They took a leap of faith and decided it was good for them."
At FCGC we wholeheartedly support the rise of senior gymnastics programs. Alongside our own Fitter For Life Program, we hope to transform the day to day lives of all those who participate. We intend to strengthen our gymnasts so they can be independent and function well into their later years.
Do you know of anyone that could benefit from such a program? We would LOVE to have them be involved in one of our classes!
Signing off for now,
The press to handstand is one of the most difficult skills to achieve as well as
one of the most important in the higher levels of gymnastics. The ‘press’, as
it is affectionately known, has a number of different components which can
take years to perfect and ultimately result in it’s mastery. The process of
learning a press to handstand also develops and teaches valuable skills for
life surrounding perseverance, determination and how to trust the process.
So, without further ado, lets look at some tips to help you achieve your press
Like it’s name sake suggests the handstand is all about balancing...upside
down! It takes a lot of practice to balance using our hands as though they
are our feet. In order to best prepare our bodies to balance upside down we
must undertake a lot of wrist conditioning. In our classes at FCGC we utilize
the array of equipment on offer to help our gymnast’s develop strength in
their wrists. Most of the time these activities are lots of fun for the gymnasts,
but really there is purpose to our play. Compressing foam blocks from the
foam pit or scrunching scarves with our hands all help to develop our wrist
and hand strength. The second vital shape for the handstand which we
practice from Geckos and Grown Ups through to Level 10 is our rocket or tall
shape. This shape is the most important for a lot of skills, but none more so
than the handstand. The gymnast practices standing in a straight line;
extending upwards through their shoulders, pressing their ribs ‘inwards’ and
pulling their hips ‘under’ to create a perfectly aligned and straight body.
When inverted, this shape becomes a perfectly straight handstand which is
easy to control and balance in.
The next component for a perfect press is core strength. In order to perform
a press to handstand it is essential for a gymnast to develop their core
stability through a range of exercises. As well as the general gymnastics core
conditioning activities including the likes of ‘dish hold’ and leg lifts, there are
many exercises which develop core strength in parallel with the press to
Stalder leg lifts are one such strengthening activity; the
gymnast starts hanging on the bar and lifts their legs into an inverted
straddle position. When rotated upside down the gymnast looks as though
they are starting in a handstand and lowering down to a straddle support
position; one of the many ways to start a press to handstand!
Another similar drill is a lying press to handstand on a trapezoid shape.
This drill not only works the gymnast’s core strength, but also their muscle memory for the skill. In this drill the gymnast begins lying on their back in a stretched position, their hands touching the wall as though in a handstand. Lifting through their hips, the gymnast rolls backwards into a straddle position with their hands still touching the wall. The gymnast then slowly lowers back to
their lying stretched handstand position – talk about that for an abdominal
As a coach the part I most often see gymnasts struggling with is the all
important ‘planche action’ with their shoulders. In order to perform a
consistent and technically correct press to handstand a gymnast must lean
forwards over their hands through a planche position. The easiest way to
think about a planche is like a seesaw; we are trying to counterbalance our
bodies through our shoulders. This leaning action is common place
throughout gymnastics skills including a ‘cast’ on the Uneven and High Bars,
swing to handstand on Parallel Bars and front support on floor.
At FCGC we encourage this important progression as early as possible with our gymnasts in order to make these harder skills much easier long-term for our athletes.
One shape which can be practiced at home as well as in class is a front
support position. In a front support the gymnast should have an ‘angry cat’
rounded chest and lean forward over their hands with their shoulders – this
will translate to a comfort of leaning forwards, assist the gymnast with the
skills mentioned previously, and their press to handstand!
Other exercises which work both the planche action required for the press and core strengthening include;
Pike Drag Ups:
The gymnast begins in a support shape on a bar or edge of a box and,
lifting through their hips whilst leaning forwards, drag their toes up the
bar/box to a standing position
The gymnast begins in a frog position on the floor (squatting with
hands in between feet) and rests the inside of their leg on their straight
arms. The gymnast then leans forward with a rounded chest and
balances for as long as possible
Straddle Press Walks:
The gymnast begins sitting in a straddle position and lifts their hips up
whilst leaning forward over their hands. From the inverted position the
gymnast lowers back down through an L-sit and into a straddle and
places their hands in front of them ready to go again!
Now that we have looked at the different components of the press, its time to
put it all together! The gymnast should start in a straddle stand with their
back facing a wall, wedge or beat board (leaning against something of
course!) placing hands just in front of the vertical surface. From the straddle
stand the shoulders should lean forward through the planche phase whilst
lifting the toes into the air. Just before vertical the gymnast should
dynamically ‘open’ their shoulders to finish in a perfect handstand!
Remember that a press to handstand can take many years to achieve, so
don’t be pressed with time and start practicing today!
See you in the gym – Coach Toby
As many people know, FCGC Gymnastics runs an adult gymnastics class but did you know that FCGC Gymnastics also runs an adults gymnastics program for those with differing abilities too?
Every Thursday afternoon FCGC Gymnastics facilitates Gymnastics for Adults with varying abilities. Most of our inclusive gymnasts are Adults living with Autism.
Majority of these adult gymnasts come from a center with their careers, for a 45 minute class of fun, jumping and physical movement.
Like all of our programs, we aim to teach Skills for Life with a big focus on
movement and coordination. Along with the ability to listen and follow instructions, to communicate and develop their social skills.
We have a structured routine to help keep the adult gymnasts from being overwhelmed. We find it is important that we keep the same class structure each week for our classes, as routine plays a very important part in the life of Autism.
The Adults begin with sitting on a box each and we all sing a hello song to
welcome everyone. We include ASL (American Sign Language) into our greeting song as well, as many of our individual gymnasts may be non-verbal.
After this, we use a hand-held pom pom and we go around the circle and
welcome everyone using their names for example “hello sarah” and then
sarah can wave. Sarah will then get up and walk to pass it to the next person.
It is important to stand up and walk to the next person as this promotes
We then go through a warm up that consists of balancing, stretches, hand
eye coordination, core stability and upper/ lower body strength. To do this we use hand apparatuses’ such as beanbags,
hoops, scarves, foam blocks, coloured mats to assist in the process.
From here, they move onto a circuit through the gym which includes
jumping, swinging, hanging, climbing, and balancing. We spend some time helping each individual around an area of the gym - encouraging them to have a try at different stations. The trampoline is always a favourite however, so many gymnasts will spend a lot of their time bounding up and down for as long as possible!
After this we then use a cue to signal our running activity. For this final activity we run around the circle of boxes from the start to some music. This cue is
important for them to know it’s coming to the end of the class.
Lastly, we get a large parachute out and wave it up and down and say
goodbye. We say goodbye to each individual by using their names, and giving them a moment of recognition in the large group.
We at FCGC Gymnastics believes that Gymnastics has the ability to help
EVERYONE and for those who have a disability it is an opportunity to build upon social skills, communication skills, fitness, motor skills (gross and fine), mental stimulation and much more.
Our coaches develop such strong bonds with all the adults who come into FCGC Gymnastics, and all our coaches really look forward to each Thursday morning in the gym.
Thanks for reading today's blog!
Gymnastics is a sport that can be enjoyed by all ages and abilities!
People tend to think gymnastics is just for kids but I would like to share with you the benefits it can offer to adults.
Gymnastics covers so many amazing skills that can be used in everyday life as well as helping us develop a healthier lifestyle outside of the gym. At gymnastics we learn flexibility, balance, co-ordination, strength, conditioning and so much more. In this blog I am going to go through some of the important benefits taking up an adult gymnastics class can have for a healthier you.
When you participate in gymnastics, you can achieve greater overall health.
Being strong and healthy promotes your body’s ability to fight off disease and illness. With the ability to heal itself when you do get sick. There are studies that show adults who are physically active have lower instances of cancer, asthma, cardiac disease, diabetes, and obesity.
You will also increase your flexibility, co-ordination and balance!
This gives you a greater range of motion and greater control of your movements. Many adults assume they might get injured when they think of partaking in gymnastics. This is not the case. As you train in your gymnastics classes and become more flexible, you will reduce the risk of injury not only in the gym but in your everyday life.
Gymnastics will help you build strength!
Especially core strength which we use for most things we do in our daily routines. It can also be a great social event. You can build friendships with people you train hard with each week, and you learn to encourage/support each other.
Gymnastics or any physical activity is beneficial for improving your focus and concentration capacity, when you work out, your body produces more endorphin’s.
Endorphin’s are an important part of feeling happy and satisfied with life, being involved in gymnastics helps you feel happier!
If you are reading this blog and have always wanted to try gymnastics I urge you to go for it. It is an all-round sport, it is great for so many factors we use in our everyday lives. You'll also be challenged in positive ways you never thought you could, it's amazing what the body and mind can achieve if we just give things a try!
If you want to try an adult class, get in contact with us to book in your free Trial!
"So can you do the splits?" - This is one of the most commonly asked questions when gymnastics is brought up in a conversation.
Flexibility is not just a fundamental part of gymnastics, it is actually very important in nearly every sport - although it
may not be as obvious.
Playing soccer, rugby or footy the athletes need hamstring
flexibility for their kicks. Rowing needs good hip flexibility to get the most out of
each stroke. Swimmers shoulders need a good range of movement to increase
their speed. I could carry on but you get the point... flexibility is important!
So how do we help our children increase their flexibility? Try these top tips!
If gymnasts are only stretching once or twice a week in class, it is unlikely they
will see a lot of improvement. To increase flexibility, it is important to create a
stretching routine to do either every night or every second night. It doesn't have
to be long 10-15 minutes a day is plenty of time to start seeing some great
results. This could be incorporated before or after (for an extra challenge try
during) homework, while watching tv or even just before going to bed.
Progress photos are a great tool to help motivate both children and adults. When stretching, it may feel like there are no changes being made as it can take a few months of consistent stretching to really see some big results. Taking a photo of your child (or yourself) while they are stretching every couple of weeks will help them see the differences and help keep them motivated to keep going!
Use a mixture of active and passive stretches.
It is important that both active and passive flexibility are practiced. Active
stretching incorporates flexibility through movement, this kind of stretching
requires strength through the muscles to help achieve the stretch which is done without the use of gravity, or a hand - think all kinds of kicks (its harder to hold your leg in the air if you don’t have a hand helping pull it up).
Passive stretching relies on body weight and gravity and requires good joint mobility. Both kinds of stretches are very important for example – you need to be able to do the splits on the floor to do them in the air however; just because you have them on the floor doesn’t necessarily mean you have the active flexibility and strength to be able to do them in the air.
The information to take away from this is incorporate
both kinds of flexibility into your stretching routine!
Get some inspiration!
There are so many videos of amazing gymnasts, dancers and contortionists on
YouTube. Try watching some videos with your child and you both might be
inspired to stick to that stretching routine. When I first started stretching I kept a photo of a skill I wanted to be able to do as my phone background – it may have taken a year but when I finally managed to do it I was so proud! So find some inspo and have your gymnast set themselves a challenge.
You’ll be amazed at what can be achieved!
Be careful not to over stretch!
Yes I know this sounds slightly crazy considering I have been going on about how great stretching is, however we need to make sure our gymnasts/children/selves are not stretching to the point of injury.
When stretching it is important not to feel pain. Discomfort yes but pain, no!
If it is too painful for the gymnast to sit in the stretch for more than a few seconds they are stretching too far and need
something simpler to start with.
The ideal length of time to hold a stretch is between
20-30 seconds. It is also important to note we never want gymnasts ‘bouncing’ in their stretch to try get further as this too can cause unwanted damage.
Hopefully you can enjoy the process and learn to love stretching as much as I have!
Thanks for reading today's blog.
Did you find any of it helpful with your own personal stretching goals?
By definition conditioning is "the process of training or accustoming a person/animal to behave in a certain way or accept certain circumstances."
In this instance we won't be talking about animal training, shame I know. Instead we will be talking about training muscles to get stronger and the mind to get accustomed to the feeling of training ones muscles.
There are a lot of reasons why conditioning is crucial for gymnastics. I think the most important reason of all, would be for safety. Any gymnast is at risk of injury and often times if a gymnast has stronger ligaments and connective tissue, an injury may be prevented or the severity of an injury can be minimized. Other reasons why conditioning is important include stability, strength, mental toughness, team work, responsibility for personal progression and resilience.
Now we know WHY we do conditioning, let's talk about HOW.
Depending on the level a gymnast is, it will reflect the type and duration of the conditioning they will part take in. However, the younger gymnasts will still be introduced to some of the movements and the idea of strength based challenges through games, group activities, and fun circuit stations. For the older gymnasts in Gymstar and ALP they will be working on a larger array of conditioning tasks.
As our gymnasts enter the gym for their class, they will make their way over to a designated area with their coach where they will part take in a group warm-up followed by stretching and fundamental shapes in gymnastics eg. dish, arch, front support etc. From here the coach may take them through some conditioning to help prepare the muscles for high action and full range of motion.
At FCGC we are very lucky in the regards of coaching resources. We have access to class planners on tablets that can aid or provide inspiration for all of our coaches through lesson plans and apparatus stations. Through out an apparatus training session, the coaches will assign conditioning stations among the skill development stations. We do this for several reasons. It helps to give the gymnasts a rest, and it breaks up the back to back skill development that can quickly wear out even the strongest of gymnasts.
Here are a couple of examples for conditioning at an apparatus:
- Chin ups (rings, p-bars, bars)
- Dish/Arch Holds
- Squats or Lunges
- Resistance band exercises
- Exercise ball activities (eg. sit ups, tuck snaps, stability.)
- Bar Toe Touches
- Dorsal Rocks/Inverts
- Leg lifts (Beam, Floor, Pommel)
Among a training session, the gymnasts will be given multiple opportunities to be working on their conditioning. Either worked into a circuit as previously discussed or in its own designated time/space. Each coach will have their own modifications to a strength based task or new ideas that will keep gymnasts engaged through out the session. This gives gymnasts the perfect opportunity to try varying challenges through out the entirety of their gymnastics experience.
Here are some methods you might see used in the gym:
- Timed Intervals
- Partner based exercises
- Whole class strength holds
- Challenges of strength based on repetitions
There are endless possibilities for a good conditioning class structure! So much so, that I can hardly scratch the surface through this blog post alone. If you are interested in some more ideas, the internet will be your best friend! Just remember when trying a new exercise you should always take it easy to avoid injury or strain.
Here are some examples of conditioning at varying levels of difficulty:
Finding a cohesive and functional conditioning plan is essential to the smooth running of any gymnastics class. As you can see there are many ways to go about this! Take your time when trying new activities. If you are frazzled the gymnasts will be as well.
Does your gymnast do extra conditioning at home? Has this given you a few ideas? Let me know in the comments below.
Signing off for now,
There is a saying I often see floating around on the internet as an inspirational quote for gymnasts. It goes like this:
"Gymnastics is all about Trust. You have to trust that your body will move the right way, and that your feet will catch you when you come back down."
As lovely and simple as this quote makes gymnastics sound, I wouldn't necessarily agree.
Gymnastics is all about Trust, this part is true! However it's not about flinging your body around and hoping for the best. No, it's much more than that. It's trust in yourself, your body, your coach and your family. It's trusting the process and most importantly trusting your ability to learn.
There are many foundational skills in regards to gymnastics and trust is undeniably one of them.
There's an old saying that claims;
"Trust takes years to build, seconds to break and forever to repair."
There are a hundred different ways trust can be broken inside of the Gym. A different coach with different coaching methods, a new class, new gym equipment, or a new training space. Injury or a near miss, miscommunication, insufficient knowledge of a skill, lack of strength/flexibility or fear of judgement. The list of possible causes, goes on and on. Knowing how to avoid a break of trust is half the battle.
If we know trust can be broken in the blink of an eye its imperative we all do our part to keep it in tact.
Sometimes a lack of trust can seem out of our control. However on further inspection it may not simply be a "lack of trust". It could stem from a confidence problem or a mental block. In which case, as coaches and family members we can in fact help! I have written a blog recently about this topic that you can read about here.
Other times the lack of trust can be from the absence of a solid relationship with a coach/gymnast. This can also be improved through effective communication. I have found a video by Raleigh Carter, who has over 17 years of coaching experience, who perfectly describes the delicate balance between communication and trustworthy relationships.
I highly recommend you give it a watch!
As Raleigh discusses in the video, there is always more that comes into play when it comes to trust and relationships. He speaks about the impact of sensory communication from a coaches perspective as well as the importance of EFFECTIVE communication.
Ultimately there are going to be numerous factors that will effect the outcome of a situation. It is impossible to be able to know what the outcome will be, but with the right tools you can heavily persuade the possible outcome for both yourself and the gymnast.
As coaches it is our job and responsibility to set our gymnasts up for success. We have to teach our gymnasts that gymnastics is a process. You will almost never reach a final destination unless you decide that is where you want to leave it.
A gymnast needs to trust that their coach is setting them up with all of this strength to benefit them later, as it's part of the process. A gymnast needs to learn to trust that if they fall they can always get back up, as it's part of the process. A coach needs to trust that a gymnast is putting all of their effort in, as it's part of the process. A gymnast needs to trust that their family will be there for them, as it's part of the process.
I'm sure you get the idea!
Gymnastics is wholeheartedly based around trust, there is no denying. Yet it's more than trusting yourself to land a skill and it's more than hoping for the best.
It's the hours of training and time with your coach that will take you to that moment.
Did you ever consider the effects of TRUST inside of the gym? Let me know in the comments.
Signing off for now,
"The fear of facing fears is harder to overcome than the fear itself." - Anonymous
Previously we have discussed the power of "Yet" and how language can effect our actions. This time, I would like to discuss how our thoughts can effect our actions in the Gym.
Recently I found myself being encouraged to discuss this topic to a wider audience, and I couldn't agree more with how beneficial it could be. Yet it is such a vast topic, where would I possibly start? In that question I had found my answer. Uncertainty.
The words "I can't" are heard all too often in the gym, but they do not mean what you think. The words "I can't" are being spoken from a place of uncertainty, fear and anxiety. The words represent the self doubt we face when we are confronted with something new.
To dive into the unknown when there is a risk is a daunting task, no matter the age of the individual. The added threat of injury at any given attempt only makes it all the more challenging.
So how can we approach something that we cannot touch or see?
I believe understanding and acceptance are where a gymnast will make their largest strides to success. Fear is natural, and has been evident in nature for hundreds of thousands of years. There is no getting rid of fear. It is here to stay!
However, Fear is not bad. In fact it is incredibly useful. It will keep a gymnast concentrating on their technique. It will aid a coach in making sure a gymnast is ready for a skill before they attempt it. It will encourage precaution and sensibility in the most outgoing of gymnasts.
Forcing a gymnast through a skill might seem like the appropriate thing to do, either as a parent or as a coach. We might see it as a simple task, and we can see they are capable. Which in turn might get some of us a little frustrated, which means we can rush things. This can lead to "mental blocks" or "skill blocks". There is a big difference between encouragement and pressuring.
If you force a gymnast to attempt a skill there is a very strong chance they are going to bail. They are not going to commit to the skill, they are going to get half way through and then they are going to panic, and do anything they can to get out of the skill. The problem is, we aren't quite as effective as cats... so when a gymnast is high in the air and decides they don't like it, they aren't able to twist their bodies and land back casually on their feet. They are almost certainly going to land on the heaviest and most vital part of their bodies. Yep, you guessed it. Their heads.
This will only prove to the gymnast that their fears where in fact correct, the worst could possibly happen and they will get hurt.
It is important to remember that a child or teenager is not as skilled at identifying emotional challenges like adults are. They need guidance until they can find themselves at a resolution.
Here are some ways we can handle fear:
1. Identifying the source of the fear. For this you will need to communicate, unless you are in fact a mind-reader and in which case may i strongly suggest a career change! Is your gymnast afraid of the fall? The height? Have they previously attempted this skill and it didn't go to plan? Are they not strong enough yet? Are they worried about looking silly?
2. Game, set and match! You need to approach it in small portions. If they are afraid of being on a high bar, change the bar or raise the crash mats so it doesn't seem as high. If they are afraid of looking silly in front of their class mates, offer private lessons until they feel more confident.
3.Mental Strength & Focus. They are always numerous aspects to a skill, and you are expected to execute all of them... at the same time.. but don't over think it... and don't forget to set up the skill properly... oh and definitely don't forget to present at the end. That's a lot to take in right? Helping your gymnast focus on one thing at a time will allow them to truly be present, and focused. This also goes for life outside of the gym. They might have maths' homework, an art project due, a family dinner and an exam coming up they need to study for!
Help them to breathe, pick one to focus on for now, and feel confident in their capabilities.
4. Remind them how brave they are for even trying! Even basic gymnastics skills are not simple, and attempting them in the first place requires bravery & gumption.
There is a lot that go wrong due to fear, but also a lot that can go right!
Do not give up! It may take you longer than you expected but you can and you will get there if you keep fighting for it.
Who do you think should read this blog post? Tag them and let's start the conversation about "I can't".
Signing off for now,