For Coaches Spotting

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I am a 3rd year H.S. JV gymnastics coach, I was a gymnast back in the 80's and recently returned to my h.s. to coach with MY former coach. Anyhoo, I find that it is really hard to teach girls at this age at this level, as many are brand new or haven't done it since they were 6. One challenge I face is when a gymnast needs a spot, and I don't feel comfortable doing it -I feel they lose faith in me. I am 5'3" and 105 lbs., and some of these girls outweigh me by 40 lbs...sometimes I'll have a girl who wants to "go for it" (r/o bhsp or r/o bhsp back tuck) and I can always use the belt, or call the head coach over but I don't know how to deal with this and have the girls still trust me. I have no problem spotting most of the time, it's just the few and far between when a gymnast will want to do something that requires someone who can actually save them mid-air that poses a problem and I'm hoping someone here will have some advice. I find that even if say I'm spotting a girl doing a back walkover on the beam, if she's a lot bigger than me just her weight will take me with her, ya know? I mean I'm perched on a panel mat or 2 and if she bails in the middle there's not much I can do unless I give her a good shove to avoid the beam! When I read this back it sounds kind of dangerous but it's really not. I NEVER let someone do something that might be unsafe without proper precautions, rest assured.
thanks for any advice given. I love this sport and I love my job. Most of the time I can't believe I get paid to do this, even with 20 teenage girls 3 hours a day!
Apr 9, 2007
your number one priority in the gym should to be that you ensure that safety of the gymnasts. If you aren't comfortable spotting them on a skill, find a way to get someone over that can. I'm pretty sure the girls will understand if you can't give them a proper spot due to your size. Where I coach I deal with this all the time, if a coach isn't comfortable spotting I'm usually called over to spot the "bigger" girls or the "bigger" tricks. Just because you aren't physically spotting them doesn't mean you aren't helping them with your corrections and your progressions. Spotting is a just a small part of a gigantic process.

Keep up the good work!


I know exactly how you feel! When I'm unable to spot someone I usually call the other coach over to spot, and my coaches always did it to us (my teammates) as well (the female coach usually called the male coach over to spot us on stuff). One thing that I like to to do if I'm not able to spot and no one else can come over is to either do a drill with them to work the skill or I just do more reps of where they are comfortable doing the skill (Perhaps tramp or rod floor). Just because you're not able to spot doesn't mean you're not concerned about their gymnastics--you're still their coach and you're still able to encourage them and even give them corrections! Don't give up!


I learned the mid air spots and more difficult spots by double spotting with a more experienced coach. That helps you feel where your hands should be and get your timing down. Having another coach spot heavier or taller gymnasts is NEVER a bad thing! That shows you are concerned with their safety and well being!

Try the double spotting as often as you can... also, use gymnasts that have the skill well to do "practice" single spots. This allows you to be able to "spot" without them needing you. Great practice for both you and the gymnast!

Good luck!
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