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We started a brand-new session and I was very happy to meet my new class, though most of them aren't so new. I do have one difficulty, however. It is a girls level 3/4 class, and most of the kids are between the ages of 6 and 8. There is one girl who is 13 and I have the utmost respect for her for continuing gymnastics and wanting to learn, but it does pose a problem for me. She is a good 5 inches taller than me and quite a bit heavier (she is not in anyway overweight though). I found it really hard to spot her and could tell she felt awkward in the class. It probably doesn't help that I am only a couple years older than her. Does anyone have any types for this situation?


Nov 12, 2007

When i started caoching i was in a similar situation with one of the kids, great kid so it was never a problem. If anything it was an advantage, because she would genuinely question me, and as a result made me question what i would say, how i would say it, why i said it, etc.. (of course the coach is always right haha). Anyway one advantage that i had is that i am male so spotting even though it was hard, was probably easier for me then in your case. However soon i realise that injured coach is about as effective as an injured when i had drills for one kid, i had to have different drills for that particular gymnast that didnt require me spotting. It worked to some degree, it was probably the best that i could do for her.

To be honest i dont think there is much you can do.
If you come up with a good solution or know of one please let me know as well i would love to know


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Jan 4, 2008
It's actually quite common in gymnastics to have situations like this. There are not a lot of young teens in this level so they do have to be in classes with younger kids. Gyms can't aford to run classes for just one person.

Your attitude towards the situation will be probably the biggest thing for her. Kids can sense if we feel something is out of place. It's important to show you are happy to have her in the class and feel like she should be there. It will help her feel like she should be there. I agree that it can be a big advantage having her in the class.

Spotting her should not be an issue. If she is ready to be doing a skill then you should be able to spot someone who is much bigger than you with correct technique. If there is any risk in you spotting her then she is probably not ready to be doing the skill with a spot and should be back doing drills. A lot of the time in gymnastics we rely on spotting to teach the kids, but by the time we are spotting them their bodies should already have a very clear idea of what they need to do.

If there is another coach in a nearby class ask for the possibility of coming in for a double spot if needed. If not, be creative. Use the equipment you have in the gym and set up drills to teach each skill. There are coaches out there who never, ever spot their athletes. I do agree with spotting but the kids can still learn without it.


When I have heavier kids, I try to find drills they can do on their own without my spot. For example, a backhippullover can be done by putting a wedge mat under the bar, having the kid "walk" up the mat and kick over from the top of the mat. Even if she still needs a spot, her body isn't going to be as far away from the bar, and you won't have to do as much work.

Bridge kickovers can be taught by having the kid do a bridge with the feet elevated on a panel mat. If the mats are high enough she should be able to kick over on her own. You can gradually lower the mat each time.

Are there any skills that are particularly difficult for you to spot? We could help you come up with an easier way to spot them.
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