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Redford

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Gymnast
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Aug 26, 2013
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Hello (again)!

It's been a while since I last posted here, maybe a few years even, god how time flies ... I've been reading here on and off but have been off gymnastics a little bit finishing my studies, stumbling through life as a young adult, all that stuff ...
Be that as it may, life has brought me back to gymnastics and guess what I ended up coaching. Not only as a side job but really professionally which is rather uncommon outside the high performance sports here in Germany and I count myself very lucky to be where I am now! :)

I'm coaching a variety of groups including a competitive group of older girls (11-19) competing an equivalent of your Level 6/7. I'm very happy with their development in general on every apparatus but bars.
They came with a bit of a lack of strength and basics and we've been trying to catch up in that regard, but I never seem to be able to get everything in: Conditioning, Basics but also staying in touch with what they're currently working on.
I would like to develop a better structure on bars that both ensures a proper physical preperation but also leaves time for us to work on all the necessary elements (Right now: Kips, Casts, Sole circles, Giants, Dismounts). Right now I feel like were're floating a bit from this to that, not really getting anything done properly. :confused:
They come in 3x a week and we have bars for half an hour each + 1/2 hour of extra conditioning time 2x a week.
We have the luxury of a set up gym, but only one set of UB, a LB and a HB. There are sessions when the girls only get two goes on the UBs...

Any tips? How do you structure you UBs training?
 

Aussie_coach

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Jan 4, 2008
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I find the key is variety. If the structure is always the same the kids just fall into autopilot, and their progress is limited.

I like to do it a bit differently each time we hit bars. Something circuits, assignments, drills, big set up drills, tick off sheets (list is work to do and tick it off), groups, partners, timed rotations, challenges, mini goals, stick a certain number and move on. Etc
 

JBS

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Sep 3, 2005
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You could do something like...

Day 1 - Kip casts and small circles
Day 2 - Kip casts... giants... and dismounts
Day 3 - Everything

Besides that... 30 minutes is pretty short and that age group and level combination is typically tough on bars. If possible... I would cut their vault time in 1/2 and add it to bars... even if that vault time can't actually be in the bar area... do floor bar work.
 

gymisforeveryone

Coach
Judge
Nov 16, 2012
895
I remember you, so nice to hear that you are coaching professionally now! Me too! It's so fun, isn't it!

To answer your question... It's a tough one! How many girls do you have in the group?

At first I would make sure to end the previous event (for example floor) 5-10 minutes early to make sure that the girls get their grips on and you can explain the assignments before the actual 30 minutes on bars starts. This gives you 5-10 minutes more time to actually WORK on bars.

Another option is to divide the group in half and have the first half work on for example giants with you spotting the entire time on the uneven bars (and side stations with floor bar for the giants), and the other half work on things that they can do unassisted (for example kips, cast handstands with blocks, kip-cast handstands with blocks on the low bar and tap swings or flyaway timers on the high bar).
This would be the day A. And on the day B you switch the little groups.
On the third day, do it like you normally do, everyone going around the big circuit and you spotting the stations that needs to be spotted.

Use the conditioning times for bar conditioning, if that's their biggest weakness now. Add lower body conditioning to their vault or floor rotation as side stations.

The good thing is that they are already quite mature and can spot each other on certain things if you teach them.

I've also learned that sometimes you just have to prioritize one skill and do it more than the other skills. For example decide that you will emphasize giants in this upcoming 8 week cycle and forget clear hips for a while. I've noticed that this works, because the girls get more confident because they get more repetition, they progress faster and they notice it, which makes them excited and put in more and more effort. If you do giants only now and then, they will continue to be scary and hard and you go back to square one every time you start again.

And I know, it feels wrong to drop one skill over another, but I promise that this works most of the time!
 
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Redford

Coach
Gymnast
Judge
Aug 26, 2013
332
28
Thank you all for your quick and informative answers! I guess there is no real 'right' structure per se but 'secret' rather seems to be to not loose track of where we want to go and what we need to achieve it. And to smuggle in bar conditioning wherever possible.

I find the key is variety. If the structure is always the same the kids just fall into autopilot, and their progress is limited.

I like to do it a bit differently each time we hit bars. Something circuits, assignments, drills, big set up drills, tick off sheets (list is work to do and tick it off), groups, partners, timed rotations, challenges, mini goals, stick a certain number and move on. Etc

I rather tend to do too much of that and have a bit of a lack of continuity, especially for the younger girls. Thanks nonetheless for a refresher of good ideas on how to structure training. I will start to work with tick off sheets for the older girls on beam so they can train there idependently which gives me 30 more minutes to supervise bars.

Could you explain what you mean by 'mini goals'?

I remember you, so nice to hear that you are coaching professionally now! Me too! It's so fun, isn't it!

Congratulations! :D You are in Finland, aren't you?

I've also learned that sometimes you just have to prioritize one skill and do it more than the other skills.

This. This might be one of THE key things I learnt this past 6 months. Most of the times it seems to be worth to invest a few lessons to certain skills until they really start to solidify.
It's just on bars that I don't feel quite that confident about which skills I can savely drop (or just repeat a few times a week) for a bit yet. :)
 
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