"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,
FCGC Footscray will be having our Open Day on:
Monday 11th of March
Save it to your calendars, phones, facebook events and more!
We are going to be opening up the doors to the gym so everyone can come and explore. If we had to pick one thing we love more than coaching gymnastics, it would have to be showing new families why it's so fantastic.
It is going to be a day filled with fun and adventure!
With lots of photo runs for you to treasure.
Some of our super coaches will be available to answer any questions, which gives you the best opportunity before your first session!
We will even have a BBQ to help fuel your tummy,
thanks to Friends of FCGC, the snag's are quite yummy.
The gym will be open from 10 - 3
On a sunny Autumn day of 23 degrees.
We can't wait to see you there!
Signing off for now, Take care.
This is one part of training that is too often neglected, forgotten or avoided. It takes time and is often uncomfortable... yett should never be painful. Of course I am talking about stretching!
I feel like there are 3 types of people when it comes to stretching and flexibility training: Person 1. Loves it! Person 2. It's Ok I guess Person 3. Really REALLY doesn't like it.
We all have different natural ranges of movement, which is going to heavily impact on this outcome. The problem is that no matter what your opinion on stretching is, your attitude could be effecting your likely hood of injury.
If you are naturally very flexible and find stretching easy, there is a chance you could over stretch and injure yourself because you don't feel the stretching sensation like somebody else might. Alternatively if you truly dislike stretching you could be susceptible to injury through lack of stretching, lazy stretching or through a forced/strained range of movement.
The most common injury points I have witnessed occur through the hips or hip flexor region, back of the legs through the hamstring or sciatic nerve or also commonly through the shoulder in one of the many rotator cuff muscles.
A strain will occur if a muscle, tendon or ligament is torn. This could occur from holding a stretch position for too long, progressing too quickly, inadequate positioning while in the stretch or bouncing in a stretch.
There are 2 main types of stretching. Passive Stretching which involves holding a position over a long period of time with zero or limited movement. Active or Dynamic Stretching which involves a large range of movement through out a stretch (think lunge walks or needle kicks). Both have their benefits, but doing one completely on it's own in a training schedule will only get you so far!
I'm going to outline a very basic stretching routine structure for you all:
- Having a light stretch after getting out of a hot shower as the water will of raised your muscles temperature which will make it more receptive to stretching.
- Practicing a few stretches daily each time you wake up from bed. Don't expect to be doing walk overs first thing in the morning, but practicing simple stretches and joint articulation will really benefit you and the rest of your day.
Stretching is super important to maintain your over all health whether you partake in gymnastics or not. However if you partake in gymnastics it should be a priority of yours to not only maintain but progress your skills!
Do you have any stretching goals for 2019? Share them with us, we would love to know!
Signing off for now,
If I asked you to sing all the words to Mary had a little lamb, without any prompting... could you do it? I can guarantee you can remember almost every word to that nursery rhyme. What about Twinkle Twinkle Little Star? I'm sure it would be the same.
There is a reason why you can remember the words to a song after all this time, but you might often forget what someone told you a couple of hours ago.
Songs are a learning tool used around the world to help little ones learn and discover the world around them. Here at FCGC we use songs in all of our PlaySkills programs to aid our gymnasts through learning classroom behavior, social skills, pattern awareness, vocabulary building, rhythm, communication and mimicking behaviors. All of which will be fundamental to your little ones development.
As we sing we tend to slow our speech down and articulate all of the words. This gives your little gymnast time to listen intently and learn how to put sounds together to create a word or a sentence. While singing, it is very common for us to sing in a higher tone which is incredibly engaging and stimulating for a developing brain. The sillier you can make the song, the more likely you are to have your little one mimic you and join you in the process.
Studies have shown that children who enjoy music and who sing and rhyme regularly have an easier time understanding language.
The best part is, you can find a song on just about any topic you like! You can start singing about body parts, colours, numbers, animals, gymnastics skills and more!
Have you attended a PlaySkill class at FCGC before? Can you remember what song you sang? Let me know in the comment section below!
Signing off for now,
Our feet do a lot for us everyday, but how often do we spend trying to keep them fit and healthy? The human foot contains 26 bones, 33 joints and more than a hundred muscles, tendons, and ligaments. That is one complex structure!
Every person who has feet, will have different feet than you. They are very unique to your stride, balance and locomotion. Each person will have a slightly different arch position, width, length, ankle stability, toe spread etc. All of these attributes have been developed over the years of living and even before you were born.
Today I am going to share some great injury prevention exercises with you all to keep you on your feet for as long as possible!
Stand with your feet a comfortable distance apart from each other. Try to lift just your big toe's off the floor, leaving all other toes firmly on the ground. Next, try to lift all your little toes and keep your big toes firmly on the ground. Swap between these as many times as you can. This might take some practice as this is a bit of an unusual movement pattern. People who pronate, or roll to the inner arch, have a hard time lifting the big toes and most people who supinate, or roll on to the outer edges of the foot, have a hard time lifting the other toes.
This is an exercise most of us are familiar with and have likely attempted before. However you most likely only thought about it strengthening your calves. When this exercise is slowed right down and a lot of the intention is focused onto the feet, you get a lot of benefits through the gradual articulation of the ligaments.
Stand with your feet close together. You can use an object to help stabilize yourself, but not to hold your body weight. Gradually rise through the ball of your foot and lift your heels off the ground, as slow as possible until you reach releve or full height. Reverse this process until your heel is placed back onto the ground. Be aware of your feet through out the entire exercise and make sure you are not rolling in or outwards over your ankle, and that your weight is distributed evenly over all of your toes.
SOFT SURFACE BALANCES:
We are constantly walking on hard ground all day and our ankles rarely get the opportunity to stabilize you on uneven and soft surfaces. A bosu ball is a piece of equipment often used for this exercise however if you don't have one you can substitute this exercise by standing on pool noodles, a pillow, blanket, sand, crash mat or a sturdy rounded object.
Simply balance on one foot at a time on the soft surface and really consider all the engagement required by those muscles to keep your ankle in alignment. If you find this too simple, you can change it up by trying to do heel raises or balancing on one leg and trying to touch the floor with your hands while balancing or one legged squats.
They say a picture is worth a thousand words, so here is a video to explain this one instead.
There are numerous ways you can prevent injury or recover from an injury through consistent and comprehensive exercises. These are just a few that I like and find to be exceptionally helpful.
It's never too late to start taking care of your body!
Which exercise was your favorite in today's blog? Which do you think you will try first? Leave a comment below to discuss any ideas!
Signing off for now,
"A chair-based exercise program from British Gymnastics sees remarkable results." - British Gymnastics Foundation Manager, Patrick Bonner.
In 2015 British Gymnastics received funding for a new program to aid in the health and fitness of older individuals, especially those living with dementia. With over 150 participants in their program at the time and close research conducted by Age UK, it was shown that there could be great improvements to an individuals physical, mental and cognitive abilities.
Those involved in the British Gymnastics program reported better posture, movement and memory recall. The older participants really appeared to benefit the most from the program.
"Improvements ranged from participants being able to use their hands again to feed themselves, do crafts and play bingo as well as socializing with friends and family. One woman has now regained her independence and moved back in to her own home." - Patrick Bonner
In 2018, there was an estimated 436, 366 Australians living with dementia.
It is important to continue to look after our health as we age. Once we reach middle age we tend to ease off our physical fitness due to aches and pains. In doing this we could be allowing ourselves to become more susceptible to illnesses which can result in the decline of our motor function. By staying active mentally and physically can we can prevent ourselves from struggling as we get older.
In 2019 FCGC will be introducing a Move for Life 50+ program. We are so excited to be offering this program, and we really believe it will offer invaluable health benefits to all participants. Our program has been lovingly created to be introductory, adaptive and progressive. Participants will be able to use the gym equipment in new ways to aid in the strengthening of their joints, ligaments and muscles over the course of the program. All elements of the program can be adapted to work for any individual so everybody will get the MOST out of their time. There is zero experience needed and no physical requirements.
The only thing required is your willingness to improve your overall health!
Best of all, Tuition for Move For Life is currently FREE!
So why not gather some friends, or tell a beloved family member about our program. And we will see you in the Gym!
Signing off for now,
Looking for something else?
Move for Life 55+ information can be found here.
Sport England Article can be found here.
Anybody who has any experience with toddlers and young children knows that they can be beautifully melodramatic at the best/worst of times. To us, their behavioral "outburst" can seem so pointless and unreasonable... but the irony behind that is that it is ENTIRELY purposeful.
Have you ever been speaking and been interrupted by a wide-eyed eager child who just HAS to tell you that they went to a birthday party two months ago? As coaches this is something that we experience often. It only takes one child to start talking about their experience and it almost becomes a free for all story time for everybody who has also been to a birthday party recently.
This is because they are all developing right on Que. They have now entered "The Egocentric Stage."
This means that they believe everybody thinks, feels and see's exactly like they do. This isn't a bad thing! This is just how they will learn. They need to experience the world through themselves first, before they can process other peoples feelings.
Egocentricity is unavoidable and fighting against it will prove fruitless. Instead expecting it and having educational tactics ahead of time to redirect the behavior will prepare you all for success!
During this stage children have not yet grasped the concept of "intentions". To them everything is deliberate. If you comfort a child by saying it was "an accident", that means essentially nothing to them. They don't understand yet what that means. If an action happened to them... it was supposed to happen, because it has effected them and nobody else. At least according to them.
Instead redirecting their response to one of their own PERSONAL experiences can facilitate them in understanding. If a class mate has accidentally hit them on the head passing by, relating this to a time they accidentally knocked something or someone can be a great way to redirect and calm them.
Another common scenario is when children have some form of disagreement about who is playing with what. You will most likely have one of them come running over to you telling you that they WON'T let THEM play with THEIR toy. As easy as it would be to sort the situation out for yourself, this is a very important lesson opportunity in communication, bargaining and object possession. Instead, think about how you might be able to direct both children to a resolution. Do they need to use their words explaining what they want? Should they come to the conclusion of taking it in turns themselves or can you guide them to it? Do they understand that maybe the toy doesn't belong to them? It might take longer and it might feel like you are talking in circles... but trust me it will be worth it in the long run!
Being egocentric doesn't mean the child is unkind or selfish. It is literally the purest form of personal discovery and personal development. Once they have learnt all their is to know about themselves, they will have the skill set to learn about those around them.
Just remember what is logical to us... is not for them. Not yet. But with your patience and guidance it will be one day.
Do you have any children that are currently going through this? Let me know what you think in the comments below.
Signing off for now,
Would you like to read more about the developmental stages? Here are some good reading resources:
"My Grandma's Dog Died - How ego-centrism shows up in preschool classes."
"Piaget's 4 Stages of Cognitive Development"
We all know that gymnastics is great, and we love it! We also know that it teaches lots of physical skills to all those involved. A gymnast who has discovered new movement patterns, pathways and more can leave the gym feeling like they have learnt something. But what about the more important stuff? The skills that will stay with you for the rest of your life? By that I don't mean can you still put your foot on your head in 30 years time. All though that would be incredibly impressive.
I'm talking about those fantastic SKILLS FOR LIFE, that we pride ourselves on teaching.
The emotional and mental developmental skills our gymnasts might not even realize they are learning. Those skills!
I have asked a few of our amazing coaches to share what they have learnt through Gymnastics. So I thought I would share them with you also!
"Coaches, what is one thing you have learnt from being a part of gymnastics?"
Coach Saskia - Resilience. I have learnt how to take my time. People might get a skill before me, and that's ok. You need to wait and keep trying. "You're on a different time schedule to everybody else (when it comes to skills)".
Coach Judy - "That I can do things if i set my mind to it!"
Coach Toby - "How to adapt to different situations." Flexibility in all aspects of life. Emotional flexibility, physical and mental. Especially being flexible when it comes to time management. Being able to change things in the moment to be extra beneficial.
Coach Thomas - "How to fall with style!" Being able to get up from a fall both physically and metaphorically.
Coach Kelesa - Discipline. Growing up in gymnastics taught me I had to be there for my teammates. I had to get up early on the weekends, and train really hard. I had people counting on me. "Coming from an Acro background I couldn't miss any training session because all my teammates would be there and it would be bad for them."
We all have things that we will take away from our gymnastics experience. They will become individual to us and only we will be able to have that particular experience. This is why sharing our knowledge and applying it to our coaching is vital for us. We really want to help our gymnasts along in their own personal journeys. Who know's what they might learn!?
Did you want to see more blog posts like this? Do YOU have any questions you would like to ask the coaches? Let me know in the comments and I will be sure to make a blog post about it in the future!
Signing off for now,
Gymnastics is an incredibly social sport. Without communication, the sport just wouldn't be the same. If you are going to compare gymnastics to other sports, you will almost certainly find it difficult. Gymnastics requires you to focus and listen to every part of your body, as well as everything your coach is saying. Not only that... everything your team mates are saying, the cheers from the spectators, the feedback from the judges and the encouragement from your family.
You wouldn't necessarily imagine that by going in to train, you are really going in to have a personal conversation with your body and all its little muscles, nerves and neuron pathways... but you will be! You might not consider you will be learning by observing others attempt skills of their own... but you will be!
On top of all that, you will have endless opportunities to talk to your coach. Your coach will have a treasure trove of knowledge for you. Open communication about how you are progressing with a skill or drill will only help you to IMPROVE your over all gymnastics. The coach is the "eyes" so to speak, and the gymnast can't always "see" what their body is doing in a skill. A coach will be able to guide and help a gymnast who is willing to adapt, learn and listen to help them achieve their goals.
We all love having a good catch up with our friends, even if we only just saw them yesterday! The more you enjoy who you are training with, the more likely you are to feel motivated. Get to know ALL of your team mates. I know that can sound scary, but trust me it will do everybody involved a whole world of good. We've all had that uneasy feeling before, when our best friend isn't at class for the day... and you feel lost and uneasy. That can really impact your progress, motivation and enjoyment of gymnastics. Unfortunately we can't always guarantee we will have the same training partner every session. The more you speak to all your gymnast friends and enjoy what each of them has to offer... the more cohesive the class will feel!
Remember that everybody is there for the same reason: The enjoyment of Gymnastics.
No matter a gymnasts own personal motivations, it all can be simplified to the very basic foundation that is, ENJOYMENT for what they do.
What do you think of this weeks blog post, do you agree? Leave a comment to let me know of any positives to SOCIAL sports I may have left out!
Signing off for now,
Are you running out of ideas for the kids over the summer school holidays? Not sure how a school holiday program works, or how your kids would enjoy it? Did you know we run an extensive school holiday program right here at FCGC?!
Trying to keep the kids entertained and active over the holiday period can be a challenge, especially if you have to return to work before the youngsters go back to school.
We all want to keep our kids happy, healthy and engaged! One of the best ways we can initiate this, is to allow them personal time to develop and explore in a safe environment.
Allowing a child to participate in a school holiday program, can boost a child's learning capacity in nearly all aspects of the social, personal, physical and emotional development. A child participating in our program will develop communication skills with others, leadership skills, group interaction skills, safe play skills as well as confidence and many more important skills for life!
FCGC's school holiday program has been created with an array of participants in mind. We truly believe we offer a unique program for all those involved.
Each day of FCGC's school holiday program has been designed so all children will get the most out of their experience. Our weekday programs offer multiple different themes, all with new exciting activities! From arts & crafts, to science experiments, food creations, brain teasers and more. Each individual experience should be special, fun and over all educational in many ways. The best part is, they will be having so much fun they will hardly notice they are learning as they play and create!
Our gym time and free play sessions will also allow them plenty of time to get all their sillies out - so to speak! Movement is the biggest facilitator for learning, for all gymnasts big or small, new or experienced. Rest assured your little gymnast will have plenty of opportunities to practise new and old skills, run, jump, climb and more!
Does this sound like the perfect program for you? I think it does too!
Check out our School Holidays Program tab on our website or click HERE for more info.
We can't wait to see you over the holidays!
Signing off for now,