I might have known you for six years, I may have known you for ten minutes. But if you are standing here in my class, thank you for giving me the opportunity to teach you. Thank you for trusting me to guide you through your development, for telling me the skills that you are afraid of, for asking for help when you need it, for listening to me and for letting me help you to learn. Thank you for bringing your unique set of experiences to my classes, for telling me your stories, for allowing me to get to you know during our time together. Sometimes, thank you for challenging me. I may not always have all the answers, but when I don’t, you push me to look for new ways of doing things and push me to be a better coach.
I’m sorry for the times that gymnastics is hard and you’re not achieving the skills that you would like to. I’m sorry when you’re frustrated with your progress, when you don’t feel like you’re learning things as fast as you should be. I’m sorry that sometimes I explain things in a way you don’t understand or when I don’t take the time to listen. I may be your coach but I’m also human and I make mistakes. But mistakes help us learn and ultimately make us both better coaches and better humans. So, forgive me for any mistakes I make and let me learn from them.
I’m proud of you.
No matter what your level of ability, so long as you’re trying, I’m proud of you. For that first time you walked across the beam on your own, I’m proud of you. For that first handstand, first chin-up, first pullover, first rope climb, I’m proud of you. For those times you let me spot you through a skill you were afraid of, I’m proud of you. For those moments when you’re tired and you don’t want to train but you do your best to work hard anyway, I’m proud of you. More importantly, I want you to be proud of yourself. Please take the time to be proud of yourself. Gymnastics may well be fun, but some of the things that we ask you to do are hard, and you might not learn them straight away. So take the time to acknowledge your achievements, both big and small. Holding that handstand for a second longer. Standing up on the high beam by yourself for the first time. Achieving your back flip. Coming back after an injury. Be proud of yourself for your achievements and be proud of yourself for the effort you put into them.
You are unique – and that’s a good thing!
You will not always be the strongest or the fastest, you will not always get new skills first, but you will always be you. Try not to compare yourself to the gymnasts around you. Gymnastics is a unique sport and there are so many different aspects to it, and different people will be good at different things. You will find skills and parts of the sport that are special to you. And if you don’t, that’s okay too – gymnastics can help you prepare for practically any other sport you might like to try! Remember, I am here to guide you and teach you, so if you don’t feel like you’re learning, that’s ok – tell me so we can make a positive change. If you do feel like you’re learning, fantastic – tell me so we can keep going down the same path.
Believe in yourself, because I believe in you.