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CreateMagic

Coach
Proud Parent
Dec 9, 2008
377
Background: I currently coach a 10 (almost 11)-year-old gymnast, xcel silver (but really a bronze skill set--does anyone else hate the extreme crossover of skills for the xcel divisions???). She did a year of preteam, then two years of bronze, and now silver, mostly because she's the oldest in the group and the new xcel rules allow for it. This girl works very hard, takes corrections well, never cheats conditioning, and never misses practice. We practice 2 days a week, 3 hour practices. She's just under 5 feet tall and stocky (not overweight, but just solid). With her work ethic, I feel like she should be making lots of progress, but is not. She finally got her pullover (actually a kick over) the middle of last year, and over this past summer finally got a clean back hip circle with a decent wrist shift. Those are the only bar skills she has (she does currently climb to high bar and does low tap swings, but with good form). Her casts are very low, but hollow. She recently learned her back walkover, but struggles with consistency. No backhandspring despite many drills and reps. She is the only one on the team not close, the other two who don't have it alone yet just need a mental spot. Her jumps and leaps are improving finally. On beam she barely makes 90* split jump and her handstand is MAYBE at 3/4 and piked. Her vault is slow, piked, and sometimes nearly a roll.

The rest of her team has made great progress across the board. Several girls (ages 7-9) have recently--past 6 months to a year--learned kips, front hips, squat ons, backhandsprings (round off and standing), vaulting over the table, cartwheels and backwalkovers on beam and front handsprings off the end.

We do lots of drills--I'm definitely a break-skills-down-to-nth-degree--type of coach. Warmup and conditioning is an hour of every practice, and I use skill-specific conditioning during event rotations.

If you made it this far, do you have any suggestions to help build power, speed, and confidence with a gymnast like this? She is beautiful artistically. She scored over a 9 at her last meet on floor. I would just love to see her skills progress! Fwiw, It is difficult to physically manipulate her for spotting because she is nearly the same size as me and I'm struggling with tendonitis in my shoulder.

Thank you to anyone who has made it to the end of this and for any support you can give. I'll take any suggestions, drills, conditioning exercises, etc!!!
 

iwannacoach

Coach
Proud Parent
Gymnast
Mar 25, 2012
2,877
region II
Two things come to mind first. Some kids want to do well but they don't see themselves as able to learn them. The same can be said of coaches who want to teach the same kid all the skills their peers can do, but begin to feel kinda like the child just doesn't "have it." That shoe may not fit you in particular, but I think that's a normal and common reaction to kids who learn slowly.

Another common problem is trying to fit every child into the same emotional box, and coach them all with the same approach. Kids come in all emotional shapes..... some of them require a sense of urgency and are able to rise to the occasion, and some kids put so much internal pressure on themselves that they need a coach who can make them lighten up a bit.

Evaluate her for strength and flexibility to see if she falls outside of the norm for her group and have her work on any amount of catching up she needs to do. After that it come down to how she perceives herself as a gymnast and, to a leesser extent, her ability.
 
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aileenmaryf

Coach
Gymnast
May 29, 2013
79
Just a couple of questions...

Do you think SHE is frustrated with the lack of progress--or is it just you? I know that I find myself going crazy when gymnasts aren't improving as fast or as much as I think they should, but yet the kid doesn't seem to care.

Also is she a "nervous" kid? meaning that she LOVES gymnastics and learning knew things but lets her fears get in the way?

Are there any other opportunities for her to get extra practice, for example, open gyms?
 

iwannacoach

Coach
Proud Parent
Gymnast
Mar 25, 2012
2,877
region II
There's also the kid who's worried about getting better than she thinks her "talent" can support, and then the worry of what's gonna happen after learning a new skill...... So now you want me to do what??!!! Geez, why did I ever let myself get in this deep.
 
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