No one has ever questioned my decision to choose coaching as my career but people find it hard to understand the long hours we work as coaches, or the extra work we put in over weekends for competitions, displays and other events, the time we spend at home planning for classes and dancing around the kitchen making up routines. To me it is very simple, I have made a decision to dedicate my life to helping others succeed, and I am luckily enough to be able to do it via the best sport in the world!
“Success” in gymnastics could easily be associated with competition based awards, but for me and FCGC, there is so much more to it than that. Being able to teach someone to do a back-flip is an achievement that I celebrate, but more so what I am truly celebrating is the dedication that is took for a gymnast to achieve that skill. The perseverance that was required to do the lead up drills hundreds of times before attempting the back-flip. The courage it took for that gymnast to trust in themselves, and me as their coach, to perform a back- flip for the first time. The positive mindset that the gymnast must have had to say to them self “Hey, I can do this!” These are the things I celebrate and these are the things I teach.
Someone recently said to me that I must be really good at gymnastics to be able to demonstrate all the activities my to gymnasts. With great pride I was able to tell them NO WAY!! She was very taken a back and couldn’t work out why I didn’t want to be better than my athletes. I remember being so excited the first time I was able to teach a skill to a gymnast that I was never able to do. That was one of my first tastes of “success” for both the gymnast and I. They were able to learn something new and I was able to teach something that I wouldn’t have previously been able to do. “Success” to me as a coach is being able to help gymnasts to develop to be the best athletes and people they can be and if that means they can perform harder skills than me then I have done my job well.
Being a coach I am constantly challenged with situations where I need to evolve and learn more to help those around me. I am always trying to learn about knew drills to help teach gymnastics, read up on new tactics to help encourage a growth mindset and find out new ways to work with different age groups. Through my continual education and development I am able to push my knowledge forwards and then pass this onto gymnasts, to hopefully inspire them to also have a life long love for learning. I like to be challenged by my gymnasts and asked “Why?”. This my seem like a strange thing to like about my job, but to me it shows that these gymnasts are developing self thought and not just blinding following what they are asked to do. It also means I have to stay on my toes and really understand what and why I am teaching.
Coaching is not just something I have do because I need money to live. It is something I would choose to do, and do choose to do every day. Sometimes to the dismay of my family and friends because I don’t think I ever really stop thinking or talking about it. But I strongly believe that if we don’t push our limits and try to improve ourselves as people we become stagnant. By helping others find confidence and grown in character I am always challenged. I have not just chosen coaching gymnastics as a career but also as a lifestyle because it challenges me to succeed. Helping others learn and grow makes me learn and grow, and I wouldn’t have it any other way.