WAG 1 month out from BIG meet? Practice Structure?

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Oct 17, 2014
Just out of curiosity, coaches: what do your practices look like a month out from a meet? Usually our competitions are only a weekend or two apart so doing lots of routines and individual skills are what makes up the majority of our practices. However, right now we have the longest break between meets: 1 month. And it's going to be our biggest meet of the season (besides State) as far as competition goes and the arena size.

So my question is, how do you keep your gymnasts motivated to perfect skills and work on routines for a straight month? (FYI I coach only Beam and Floor for Compulsory levels). We've dedicated a lot of the past 2 weeks to up-training which has kept them motivated and excited; however, our next meet is against some stiff competition (37 teams have committed to going). My worry is that if we continue up training their actual level skills will not be as sharp looking, but I also don't want them to get bored with doing lots of routines.

For example, 95% of my level 4s now have back walkovers on beam and four of them are working back-handsprings on medium beam. They've also been working back-tucks and front-tucks. My level 3s have been working cartwheels on beam and double back-handpsrings on floor. And my level 5s have been working back-handsprings and round-offs on beam and layouts on floor. They are all super excited about it and ask everyday if they can work on them.

The other day I told them it was a routine practice and they all groaned. (Usually 10 no fall beam routines and 5 of each tumbling pass on floor and 10 of each dance element). None of them were excited to go back to their own level skills and some of them slopped through the workout (which led to lots of conditioning). So basically, how do you get them motivated to work on routines and skills for a month? What is your workout structure a month out until a meet?
Maybe continue routines, but make it into a game/contest after they complete their assignment.

After ten no fall beam routines, we'll have a verification. If the team goes no fall, you have 5 minutes free time at the end. Something like that?
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If we have a month break between meets, I will usually look at our weakest areas on each event as a team and do some new drills for that skill. For example, if several people fell on their leap on beam, I would set up 2 or 3 stations specifically focused on fixing that. The other stations would be for other skills in their routines, half routines, routine with no acro, full routines, etc. I usually incorporate one or two up training stations as well. This way they are moving from one station to the next without much time to complain in between, and they are always excited to get to their uptraining station. I like to have them stay on their station for about two minutes and then I will tell everyone to rotate.

Sometimes I will require them to get a certain score on a routine three times and then they can work on uptraining. They will show me their routine and I will judge it. This usually makes them work pretty hard.
I dont currently coach beam or floor, but what if you do 1 day of current level basics...1 day of up training...and 1 or 2 days (depending on how many days you work out) they have to do a certain number of perfect routines before they can upgrade - then they should be motivated to work hard on their routines so they can get to the "bigger and better" skills.
When DD is coming off a period of uptraining and has to get back to current skills, HC tells her if her current skills stink the uptraining they've done was pointless because she'll have to repeat the level. This is usually enough motivation for DD to keep her current level skills sharp. Having said that, though, DD is an optionals gymnast so the distinction between current skills and uptraining is somewhat more blurred than it is in the compulsory levels.
At my gym we would all perform our routine for our teammates. At the end of practice everyone would have to show a routine, usually beam. Sometimes we would even be given scores. This motivated me to do my best since I was performing for an audience.
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I was dealing with a similar issue a couple months ago. We were (I was) working hard on learning routines and the kids were bored and sloppy. So I cut back current level things to one day a week (out of 4). They worked really hard on that one day knowing it was all they had to get ready for what they were going to compete. A couple weeks out from their first meet and they were practically begging to do more routines. We waited until one week out from the meet and then did 5 days of just routine stuff. They are still very enthusiastic and I've seen a lot of improvement and the routines look good. Our meet is this Sunday. We'll see how it goes! Good luck :)
We usually work individual skills up until a week before the meet. Then, we start routines. To keep us motivated our coaches like to make the routines into games where they will give us points for each skill that met requirement, or make a contest where we have to make a certain number of routines in a row.
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