For Coaches what is your style?

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Feb 27, 2007
Coaches, what is your style of teaching. Do you need to be able to change modes? What do you as a coach think of other coaches and the way they might teach? Also how did you start in this sport and for how long?:cool:
I personally can't stand it when all a coach does is sit around and coach from the sideline.

I like to coach my kids hands-on. I like to varry between doing drills and doing the actual skills. I'm big on teaching the basics because if a gymnast isn't able to do the basics correctly they're going to have a difficult time doing the more advanced skill.
I'm also a very hands-on coach, generally. I try to alter my style depending on the kid, as different styles of coaching work better with different kids.
I'm not really sure what my style is anymore. Working at a rec. gym is much more challenging than working with a team. In a team situation I would be much more hands on and repetition oriented...more typical. In rec. it's more about ensuring success on every attempt, learning skills safely, and having fun. Hands on in rec. is not always the right way. For example, putting a child through a pullover on bars even though they are not comfortable with their body. Sure, I could do it....but I'd rather give that student a lead up drill that they could do successfully. This drill would be a drill that would eventually lead us to that pullover.

One thing that is very important:

I am not your friend (or your parent's friend)...I am your coach.

These two overlap greatly, but at any given time...I am in charge and respect will be given. This is something that really bothers me with many young coaches. Don't be a friend to your gymnasts, be a professional. After all...friends are free, professional coaches are not.
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I am not your friend (or your parent's friend)...I am your coach.

These two overlap greatly, but at any given time...I am in charge and respect will be given. This is something that really bothers me with many young coaches. Don't be a friend to your gymnasts, be a professional. After all...friends are free, professional coaches are not.

This is very true, and it took me a long time to learn this when I started coaching.
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I would have to say I'm a very hands on coach, who believes drills are very important. I've been through many different stages in my coaching. I believe you can be hands on without carrying students through skills. I believe in spotting for technique, I tend to poke at gymnasts often. I agree with Hammy that it is very frustrating to watch coaches just stand around, I really hate when coaches SIT while coaching.
I like to define my style as that of "quiet intensity." I am pretty mild-mannered and laid back unless the kids are fooling around, being disrespectful, or doing something that's potentially dangerous. During those moments, my laid back personality flips 180 degrees. I'm intense in the sense that I'm a total perfectionist and I strive for optimal technique.

My view on gymnastics is that it is art. I desire for the gymnasts that I train to leave an impression in the mind. Whether the gymnast is performing a forward roll or a double back, I want the execution to be textbook and make an impression in the minds of people.

In order to achieve this, it takes a lot of patience, repetition, consistency, and a lot of discipline as a coach. When I speak of discipline as a coach, I'm referring to the idea of not getting over-zealous and rushing skills. For example, if a kid is throwing their head on a flyaway 1 1/4 (to their back), then don't let them do the double flyaway as they're going to be throwing their head back in that skill as well. Be patient and persistent in getting the mechanical execution correct.

A lot of people challenge my "do it right the first time" approach with arguments such as the following:

1) Kids will quit if you don't move them on

2) You need to teach them bigger skills while they're young and less fearful

3) You need to teach them bigger skills while they're small enough to spot

4) You need to move on to skills to help them to overcome fear

To me, it's all a crock!

In my experience, most kids quit gymnastics because of pressure (from coaches/parents), the demands of the sport become too much, or they desire to pursue a more active social life.

In terms of teaching them skills when they are less fearful, this is also a ridiculous argument. Certainly, people grow out of and overcome certain fears. But, a kid who is overly fearful is always going to be overly fearful. In my opinion, the best way to combat that is to develop skills more slowly and take your time with the progressions. I feel that fear is all related to control. When a person feels in control, there is nothing to fear. By utilizing more progressions and being patient, that puts control back into the hands of the athletes.

As far as spotting is concerned, if the kids are conditioned properly and have been trained properly, they aren't that difficult to spot even when they are bigger. In fact, it's easier to spot them in that they can pretty much take care of themselves, anyway. And, if you follow the progressions, most skills can be taught with minimal spotting, anyway. With overhead rigs and pits, there really isn't a great need for too much spotting outside of fixing positions and such.

Furthermore, my approach centers on a belief that the basics should be impeccable - not only aesthetically, but more important, mechanically. Straight arms, legs, and pointed toes does not mean that a gymnast is mechanically sound. I judge gymnastics more on technique and proper mechanics as opposed to the aesthetic qualities that I mentioned. With this in mind, there are gymnasts on the national team whom I feel do bad gymnastics regardless of what skills they are able to perform.

As far as other coaches are concerned, I think that most move far too quickly with skills and don't spend the time to teach basics properly. They may do basics everyday, but quantity doesn't always ensure quality. Furthermore, I don't feel that most coaches take their time and spend the time that is necessary perfecting the progressions. There's always a mad rush to get the skill yesterday. To me, it makes little sense.

The theoretical learning curve starts very slowly and then grows exponentially. I see gymnastics much in the same way. As a beginner, things come very slow. However, if the basics are taught properly, then skill development will eventually occur in a similar fashion. If you think about it, most coaches spend a great deal of their time trying to fix basic technique or trying to overcome technical ineffeciencies of a gymnast. Why not spend the extra time in the beginning to try and perfect the basics and save yourself some time on the back end?

Additionally, I feel that this coaching approach is what leads to a lot of inconsistency for the gymnast.

In conclusion, my opinion is that most coaches, at least in the U.S., are not very smart.
what is your style

Thanks for the respones everyone:D It seems like most aof you see yourselves as coaches that want the best for your kids and gymnasts, awesome.:) Someone asked this of me a short while ago. It took a moment but the best word I came up with was "adaptive". That struck me as I see everyone as an individual within a larger group and you cannont expect or treat them all the same at once. I find myself changing to accomadate the group I am working with at the time and also if a single individual is struggling then I must adapt the situation to allow a level of sucess for all the students. There must be a midground for all within the groups without overcoming an individual with difficulty. The best scenerio for me is when kids walk out after a lesson and say "thank you".
Thanks for the reponses:D
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