First week of pre team done!

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Sep 19, 2008
I'm telling you guys because my husband has no idea what I'm talking about when it comes to particulars! So after this, he can nod and smile because I got it out elsewhere lol! Needless to say, it will be long!

Everything went really great. Lots of surprises in the way of planning though! I had my 4 hours a week all worked out neatly in 20 minute blocks. Well, they let me know quick things wouldn't work like that! Being almost 5, 5, and 6 I was crazy to think it would work out like that I suppose. 15 minutes is their attention span. During that 15, they are focused and on the ball. A second after and they are the squirrelliest group ever lol. So we drop what we're doing, do something else, and go back if it warrants more effort. It's like a reset button it works so well!

Corrections on form work somewhat, but honestly they don't have a lot of innate care for technicalities. I find I get a lot more out of them by asking them to do the 'prettiest straight leg forward roll ever!' than picking through faults after an attempt. Then explaining as they're doing it or after why it was so pretty and well done. Pretty rules our world! They also are very honest with me and themselves about their best. If I say 'was that really your best?' and it wasn't, they give me sheepish little grins and try again.

I'm really surprised (and grateful!) that they actually take their splits seriously and want work hard at them. Not a peep when we do them, even though they all are about 2 inches off the floor. Most of them have their middles, just left and right to go. They even square their shoulders and hold their arms out with smiles and pretty fingers. They don't wince at conditioning either, I have them do stations in pairs and they have good natured competitions with each other. It's pretty cute. We tried climbing the rope in a straddle today, their heels in my hands and walking their hands up the rope. We spent longer than I wanted to trying it, but they were really into it and it was difficult at first. The record for straight leg straddle attempts was 5 hand walks. I don't know a better word for letting go and grasping the rope higher, so that's what we called it!

We did limbers today, feet elevated on a trapezoid piece and hands on a mat. They were pretty fantastic. They also all got their straight leg forward rolls on the floor today, standing from a pike. We spent awhile learning 'right' and 'left' today. I found they know what leg they hs or cw on, just not if it's left or right lol. They are capable of a lot of basic dance, but they were stumped on that so we played a game to learn it so they could position with confidence rather than guessing. Other than that we did backwards rolls on the beam, straight leg pullovers and casting on bars, handstands and cartwheels. We don't vault yet, still learning how to run, and doing hs flatbacks. They do jump rope backwards on a regulation sized springboard with 3 springs. I also have a station where they jump from a trapezoid piece, springboard, then a straight leg pointed toe straight jump to a mat. They've been very hard workers, I have no complaints!

Speaking of which, I owe Bog for that hard worker star idea. They love it! They also say really nice things to the girl who wins it, it's very sweet. The parents have been fantastic. I did ask them not to do privates for a month while the girls get used to 4 hours a week. After that, they can do what they feel best with whichever coach they want. I know some of them miss their old coach or had long standing privates. I talked to those coaches beforehand and they were totally fine for it, and excited for the girls. So it's been good all around. I did let the parents know that we go all over the gym, and that sometimes it's because the girls are over working on a skill so we go back later. I just didn't want them to think it's a scatterbrained workout rather than not frustrating young gymnasts. They're pumped and understanding, so far so good!

ok my book is done, my husband thanks you I'm sure lol!
Congrats! Getting through the first week with a new group can be a lot of work, even when you love it!

Don't give up on the 20 min. blocks of time, they should be able to handle that with a little more practice. One thing I have done with that age when they get really squirrelly before it's time to move on is to let them 'take a nap' .... "obviously you guys are really tired, tooo tired to keep doing your xxx, we need to take a quick nap. lay down, close your eyes, quick, go to sleep, don't wake up until you hear the alarm clock".... "you guys are gonna feel so much better after your nap, I can't wait to see your awesome gymnastics after you wake up, etc.." let them lay there about 20 sec and then sound the alarm and go back to work.
Sounds like a lot of fun! Preteam is one of my favorite groups to work with. I only do it at the beginning of their workout and once in awhile because the time overlaps with the team groups. But it's fun.
I like the nap idea! I don't want to give up on 20 minutes either, I'll try that!

One thing that's stood out form-wise is the back arch tummy out starting/finishing pose for hs and cw's. I had them lay on their tummy in a hs position, lift the ribs from the floor, and lifted their straight arms to ear level. They all were able to do it with no resistance, so I think it's just an awareness thing. HC said to try having them start and finish arms facing straight out in front from the shoulders rather than up. When they hit that position following a skill, they lift their arms up to ear level to finish. It did improve their position and posture through the skill, and made finishing straight rather than arched it's own element. The wheels in their heads are turning! We'll probably do another week of that and then try out standard start/finish positions.

There was a worry that a 2 hour workout could possibly too long for their age group, but I think it's practically perfect. It's enough time that there's no pressure. If they want to spend an extra 5 minutes doing something they like, they can. Or if I suddenly discover I have to spend a few minutes teaching right & left, it's all good. It's just enough time to cope with any surprises with no rush. I figure we'll spend this month focusing on hs, cw, body positions, basic dance, conditioning, pullovers & bh circles, and vault drills. July/August we'll delve into more skills. By September I'm hoping they'll be conditioned and prepped enough for anything!
We don't worry about right and left in our gym--it is your 'favorite' or 'crazy' foot. makes teaching routines easy since you can have righties and lefties go at the same time. We use those terms in rec, preteam and even team levels. It works much better with the young ones and they seem to get it quickly.
We don't worry about right and left in our gym--it is your 'favorite' or 'crazy' foot. makes teaching routines easy since you can have righties and lefties go at the same time. We use those terms in rec, preteam and even team levels. It works much better with the young ones and they seem to get it quickly.

I don't doubt its efficacy, but I think the HC at my gym would lose his mind if I didn't address it! Also I have to get the proper terms into the girls' heads because after they leave me, if they progress, then they'll be working with coaches who's first language isn't English. They speak it very well, but they always use the proper term. I hardly ever see them use slang conversationally, so slang gym terms are a no go. Right and Left won't be tough to learn, they'll get it. I have to get them to their next coach with as smooth a transition as possible, using their terms is essential!
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