Coaches Strength training for coaches

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Apr 24, 2017
Hi, I'm new here (well I've been lurking for a while) and I'm training for my British Gymnastics Level 2. I'm getting in a pickle with the supporting, especially where I have to lift or catch the kids. Sometimes it seems impossible that I could ever hold them. I am working with older rec kids some of whom are quite tall and/or big - up 5'6" and must be 120 lbs, I'm still expected to support flicks and handsprings. To be honest though I struggle even with seventy pounds.
The spots I find hardest are saltos and back handsprings. My mentor has shown me some techniques, and I've asked a few other coaches so I have a few more ideas too. I'm collecting ideas for teaching the moves without doing any supporting, but sometimes it's necessary to give the kids confidence - trouble is, dropping them does the opposite.
I wondered what, if any, strength training other coaches do? How do you stop the kids from sliding through your hands?
As a younger coach, I rarely did much to stay in shape. I was still in good shape from my competitive career for several years. Now that I'm 40, I'm back at the gym everyday and doing Theraband and warming up before workout. I worked under two coaches that are still in the men's NCAA program and those guys were older than me and really tried to push for me to do this when I was young... which I ignored. I also worked with a much older Eastern European coach that advocated for spotting equaling on both side to save the body. This is probably an area that American coaches need to improve.
Good advice above, I definitely notice I am stronger spotting on one side. Although sometimes with little ones I try to spot on my weak side, I know with bigger kids you don't want to because you want to support them from falling. I have had the same issue with having kids that are nearly the same size as me or in some cases bigger (5'2"). One thing I will say - you will build strength naturally from continually spotting. Also it is very important to not do most of the work, remember that it should be spotting, and not supporting the majority of their weight. In cases especially where spotting is going to be harder I stress they need to have the basic skill solid first (for example a BHS they should have a solid back walkover first and have them work on that to build their way up to you spotting the BHS). Wherever possible use assist mats such as the pacman or barrels for FHS and BHS - extremely useful! This also allows you to watch more closely how they are doing the move, guide them through the motions and make sure they are learning the proper technique. Tips for actually spotting - if they are bigger try and get underneath them or actually wrap your arm around their waste instead of using your hand/ forearm. Hope this helps!
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