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,
As responsible adults we have taken it upon ourselves to help raise the next generation of people. We do our best to raise compassionate and resilient humans. We send our children to school, encourage them to study and join extracurricular activities. Hoping that a good education will lead to a happy successful adult life.
What if I told you that a UK based study in 2015, by Harvard School of Education, found that in more than 4,000 young adults that the most important characteristic to predict a child's success is GRIT.
The study found that certain life skills such as teamwork, patience, psychological toughness, social skills and determination could all be found being taught in gymnastics classes. The findings supported the idea that life skills and a 'growth mindset' had more significance on a child's future success than a traditional educational intelligence test or exam result.
In recent years more schools around the globe have been adapting and changing the way they "test" their students. We have seen a shift away from pen and paper examination. Instead we are seeing 'real world' skills being put to the test.
To further support this claim, "in the US an NCAA study found more than 90% of college students who were involved in NCAA gymnastics graduated at a significantly higher rate than those who didn't participate in gymnastics".
Have that being said, let's name just a few of the leadership and life skills these students would have learnt through their time in gymnastics.
Work Ethic & Time Management
As adults we often find ourselves juggling our jobs, chores, schooling, social activities, raising our children, cooking, exercise, family time and so much more! Do you ever wish you had more time in a day or better organisational skills so you had enough time for each daily task? Luckily for those young children involved in gymnastics they are starting early. They are already learning how to prioritize tasks and learning to understand the benefits of planning and working smart.
Discipline & Determination
Being a gymnast can be demanding. You are spending long hours in the gym, with your body & mind being pushed to perform at their highest level every day. On top of that your muscles will be aching, your hands will be sore, you might be tired from a bad nights rest... but you have a competition coming up and you can't afford to not use your time wisely. Gymnasts around the world have incredible mental resilience to get themselves through what many of us, would likely walk away from.
We all have the memory of someone we always thought was good at ANYTHING they ever did, be it sports, art, maths or making friends. But im here to tell you something... they would of failed at things as well. Shocking, i know! We all will fail at things in our life time. Some of us will be more comfortable with this than others. The difference is, those who understand that failure leads to success are the individuals who will succeed the most. Having the ability to understand and acknowledge that failure is part of the process, is what will help mold a strong and capable adult.
There are limitless ways that being a gymnast can aid a child's growth into a resourceful and kind adult. The only thing left to do is allow them to be a part of the process.
If you are interested in reading more about this you can find more information here:
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,
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,
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,
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,
-Yes, you did read that correctly. It’s also entirely accurate.
However, we don’t sit your little gymnasts down in the gym with a large text book on The Laws of Physics and ask them to “turn to page 203”.
Instead we are using Physical Sciences and Bio-mechanics to help teach your gymnast every time they do a roll, tumble, cartwheel, somersault or bar skill. Or maybe I should say, they are teaching themselves to be Physicists.
This is likely something that has never crossed your mind before, so let’s break it all down so we can understand together how and why Gymnastics is teaching your gymnasts Physics.
Let’s introduce you to some very close friends of a Gymnast: Velocity, Rotation, Momentum and Mass. These aspects of Physics are the driving forces behind everything you see in Gymnastics.
Expecting a gymnast to remember all the technical terms or being able to explain them isn’t crucial. However, without their knowing, they are learning to understand how they are applied to their actions and motion any time they do literally anything.
Every time they walk, they are learning how to adjust their Center of Mass. Whenever they run and must suddenly stop, they are making tiny corrections from their heads down to their toes that will affect their Center of Mass and Velocity.
In Gymnastics it is the same techniques but applied on a much bigger scale. As we all are aware, there are many apparatus’s and skills involved in Gymnastics and they all require a particular formula to be applied to get the desired result.
For example, when a Gymnast leaves the mat they have applied an angular momentum from their push-off. Once they have left the mat, the momentum cannot be changed. However, the Gymnast may be required to change the speed of their rotation while moving through the air.
Ok sounds simple enough, right? But how can they alter the speed of their rotation without pushing off an object? Simple. They can achieve this by changing their Centre of Mass from the axis of rotation. The Angular Momentum can be increased or decreased by compressing or expanding the distance between the Mass and the Axis of Rotation.
What I am REALLY saying is, the tighter the gymnast tucks… the faster they will rotate.
It might all seem a bit much and daunting, but that's ok! Our bodies are wonderful machines that can learn, adapt and apply these physics almost instantaneously.
Here is an informative video by Stephanie McGregor who is a Bio-engineering Major as well as a College Gymnast.
It is a fun video to watch, that will help to explain things a little further while demonstrating some very impressive Gymnastics Skills:
What did you think of today’s blog? Did you learn anything new?