For Coaches Teaching Gymnasts to Smile

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ChalkBucket Founder
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Sep 3, 2005
Region 4 / Wisconsin
We keep having the issue of everyone answering in the wrong forum. Here is the answer. I came across a thread about "smiling during routines" in the "Parent" forum. I don't want the coaches to reply in that thread, but I am very interested in their opinion. This thread is for the coaches to give their views.

By cross linking the threads, we can all see what is going on.

I came across the below thread and I am interested to hear what the coaches think.

Do you teach your gymnasts to smile? Does it depend on certain factors?...age, level, music.
It really depends on the kid's style and the style of their music and routine. If it's a happy, bouncy, cute routine, then yes, the need to smile. If it's a routine-with-attitude to a heavy rock song, then no, smiling wouldn't be appropriate.

They should always smile when they salute, though.
I agree with GT--it really depends on the gymnast and how they react to the music. My coach used to tell us to go out there and tell a story while doing our routines--even on beam. I like it when the girls have fun and are smiling during their floor routines, but I'd rather see them concentrating and wearing their "game face" than forcing a smile.
I suppose I should put my view in.

I think it is important to always be showing attitude and personal style. This is not always a smile as hammy and GT have stated.

As far as levels 4,5 & 6...attitude is a smile and the bigger the smile, the better the score. Just make sure its not one of those fake smiles.

I have some gymnasts that could do their routines in the dark because they GLOW....that's what I'm looking for. Everyone wants to watch these gymnasts....they just pull you in.
Smiling does not always fit with every routine and every child but should definitely be worked with compulsory students. Pick certain portions of the beam and floor routine and teach it with a smile. Its amazing how once you start teaching it that way even those forced smiles soon become real. With optional routines facial expression is more important than the actual smile, the gymnast must look alive and like they are enjoying themselves.

A great way to work on the smile with a gymnast is to place other team members around the floor and have them count how many smiles the performing gymnast gives them For it to count they must make eye contact with the smile. Its amazing how once they lift their head up to smile how quickly their confidence lifts also and their skills start to look more comfortable and confident.

As a gymnast I had the opposite problem I could not get through a floor routine without smiling- and it never took away from my focus because it was something I never had to think about. Start teaching it early so it becomes 2nd nature and they don't have to focus on it.
As a level 3/4 coach, I like to see them smiling. Our girls are often so nervous that they just look like they're going to be sick.

As a gymnast, I am always smiling-4, 5, 6 and soon- to -be-seven. And beam too, not just floor. It relaaxes me, as well as a lot of the girls I coach.
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