Confidence/Team Building exercises

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I put this here in hopes that everyone with ideas would share:

I coach in a small compulsory/preteam program. The good part of this is my girls know each other (and fortunately, really like each other). The bad part of this is the psychological Thing of going to a meet and being all OHMIGOSH THOSE OTHER GYMS ARE HUGE. And the waiting thing, when no one you know is doing anything so it's so easy to get nervous.

We're big on confidence in our program, so for my team/preteam girls I'm trying to incorporate team & self esteem building exercises. At our last meet I had them sit in a circle and each give each other a SPECIFIC compliment, which went really well, but that'll get old fast if it's the only thing we do.

Thanks so much. Things we can do at a meet between events would be extra great!
How about:

  • Arm routines -- going through their routine in a stand with just the arm motions.
  • Finger routines -- sitting down, index and middle fingers are the legs
  • Speak the routines through using their "key words" -- ie... level 4 bar routine: look, jump, squeeze, stretch, bottom, elbows, head, punch, pull, tight, sit-up, look, etc..
  • Close eyes and visualize the routines.
Then on a lighter note they can do the shoulder massage train, I don't know where our girls learned this but we catch them in it occasionally.
I like nevertooold's suggestions.
They can practice vault by jumping for the pre flight into your arms. For bar you could get them to hold key positions.

For when you have lots of down time these may work.
A Competition Diary might be useful. They can fill in information about each event, how they felt, what they might change at the next competition, goals for the next competition and how they will work towards this in practice. If you have very young gymnasts it may need to be simplified with tick boxes or 1-5 scales/ Key words.

I see lots of teams that will sit in splits prior to floor (sometimes beam). A simple question about school will get them chattering away. Just make sure they can snap back into competition mode when needed.

They could watch another gymnast on an event and point out what was done well and what the gymnast could do to improve certain skills, basically putting on their judging and coaching hats. If your gymnasts freak out over big teams I would look at the apparatus they have already done.
Teamwork requires team effort. Let them come together as a team.
Make it fun - heck, make a day of it.

These exercises take too long for meets, but may be something to think about for future 'team building' days perhaps?

For example:
Set up a low beam (or even a high beam), and have ALL the girls stand on the beam. Have each pick a random number from a hat.

The goal -- The girls need to line up on the beam in numbered order, without falling off. If they fall off, they need to return the the beam at the opposite end as the number drawn.

Team lesson: Coach offers NO solutions, hints, or ideas. The How, why, and solution needs to come from the team.

When your done... Review!!! What was the solution? Why did it work? What were the challenges? Reflect. How does this help in Gymnastics? There is no wrong answer.

Another one:
Have the girls stand in a circle, about 10' around. Hand one of the girls a soft ball (tennis or like it).

The object: The ball MUST touch at least ONE hand of each team member in the fastest amount of time.

Start them off by having the first girl lightly toss the ball to the girl opposite her. Then have that girl do the same to a different girl until everyone has tossed the ball. Once they do it once as practice -- begin TIMING how long it takes, each time having them THINK together one what they can do as a team to the decrease time.

Remind them there is only ONE rule: The ball MUST touch at least ONE hand of each team member. Let them decide how to decrease the time as a team. You'll be surprized at how well they'll work toegther. It's not uncommon to start at 2 minutes -- and end at about 7 seconds or even less.

As always: Review and Reflect.
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I liked the diary idea. They could make friendship bracelets, young girls love those. What about having buddies- they could make and decorate score cards for each other (done at home) then fill them out for each other during meets. Maybe write what each other did best at on them.
Thank you, everyone.

My girls have a couple action packed weeks, then some time before sectionals. Before then I'm going to try some of these to really get them in teamspace.

And some of these ideas are really rockin'. I especially like the beam one.
How about the game where you have everyone stand in circle with their eyes closed and hands in the middle and they have to grab random hands so that all the hands are tangled in the centre of circle and as a group they have to try and untangle the knots without letting go of hands.
It's quite a fun game and requires team work and good communication to get everyone untangled!
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