Interested in making coaching a career, but how?

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Hello everyone, I've been teaching at a local recreational gym since I was fifteen, I'm now nineteen and realized that I really enjoy teaching and am set on making it a career.

I have one slight problem, while I have a passion for coaching and have been to many regional congresses and listened to many speakers, I am not a gymnast/ex-gymnast. Would not being a gymnast or an ex-gymnast cripple my chances of being hired at a competitive gym? I am even willing to go so far to double major in Kinisieology and/or Physics (even though i HATE math!) if it would help - however I would like to know from coaches who are already there what their opinions on this issue are

Summary: Want to make coaching a career. Never was a gymnast, but have been teaching for four years at a rec gym. What are my chances, and how can I improve them?

Thanks a ton in advanced!
Yes if you are willing to learn of course you could do it. Especially if you want to coach boys gymnastics as well as girls, around here they are always looking for young men with solid coaching skills and a commitment to coaching boys.

Is there a way you can join a gymnastics club or adult gymnastics class to get some of your own experience? I think it would help but I don't think you need to achieve a super high level or anything if that's what you mean by not being an ex gymnast.
Thanks for the advice, I'll definetly look into it - I picked up the basics while working, and can do ro-bhs-back tuck etc. however nothing extreme and no twisting atm, though I think it would be pretty sweet to be able to pull back fulls.
Well it seems like you already have a fair amount of experience then, realistically in the JO levels there is not much twisting up through level 7...

I would see if wherever you go to school if maybe you can shadow a coach at a gym with a competitive program to try and learn more, that may be your best bet.
I think personal experiences matters much more in terms of getting your foot in the door than it does in terms of progressing. Once you have years of experience working with a reputable program, learning from experienced coaches, and teaching a wide range of levels, I think that will matter much more than your personal experience.
As far as improving, watch other coaches and read as much as you can. There are some incredibly knowledgeable coaches here and at other places on the internet who can answer your questions, provide drills, and point you in the right direction as far as finding the information you need. There are websites with videos of drills and progressions (from experienced coaches, watch for the source) as well as suggestions for training plans. Soak up as much as you can.
Besides shadowing other coaches, watching, and reading, some areas have coaching/spotting clinics through local gyms or the region. They can sometimes be a little costly, but perhaps something to check out if you decide this is really what you want to do.
Here's a bit about Bela Karolyi from the following links:

Bela Karolyi - Early Life In Romania - Gymnastics, National, Eross, College, Eventually, and Community

As a young man Karolyi was large and muscular, weighing 286 pounds in college. While earning his degree in physical education he confronted one of his biggest challenges: attempting to pass a gymnastics proficiency test, which was a requirement for the curriculum. For two years he persisted, determined to earn a spot on the school's gymnastics team. Although he succeeded in his junior year, soon afterward he broke his arm, thus ending his career in competition. After that he turned his sights to coaching. - OTL: Karolyi: I'm old-fashioned

Greg: What is your favorite sport to watch other than gymnastics?

Bela Karolyi: It's one of those things that comes from my background, as a former athlete. I like track and field. I can see the pure athletic abilities. I like the hammer and shot put -- I was a hammer thrower.
A couple of things I would suggest:

Study drama and study psychology. Biomechanical understanding does aid in coaching, but far more important is your ability to engage an audience. I would consider a background in theater and psychology more helpful to a coach than a background in biomechanics.

That said, an understanding of biomechanics will certainly help a lot as well.
boy certainly learned that aspect a lot younger than i did.

and 2 of the best coaches in this country never did gymnastics. greg marsden and don peters. and then there is jeff wood and a couple of handfulls of others. it can be done. you must be a student of the sport at all times and you need to get with a program with older timers where you can be mentored.:)
Dunno is right. Get yourself into a top notch program teaching rec classes. Then be a fly on the wall and learn. Learn how to spot. Learn how to plan. Learn how to deal with parents & staff members. Go in on your off hours and watch and learn form the experienced coaches. Sub whenever you can. Watch video on slow motion to learn technique. If you are willing to do a lot of hard work and give up a lot of personal time-you can do it and do it well, especially if you are leevl headed and have good common sense.

I would give any young coach a chance to prove themselves if they were willing to do the work. The only coaches I would not give an opportunity too are the "know it alls" who don't respect the sport and athletes enough to really LEARN the sport. Good luck!
It sounds like you are in some very similar situations that I was in.

Are you in the States or UK, Canada, Australia or New Zealand?

I was not a gymnast in my youth. My dad was in the 60's for some time as a youth and always watched it when I was a kid. I started to get interested in some bodyweight conditioning through martial arts in HS and as a polevaulter in my junior and senior years. We did some rudimentary gymnasts such as PB swings, pirouettes, candlesticks, chin to levers and our coach would espouse how a PVer had to be part gymnast.

In college I managed to take a tumbling class for a semester and then another by which time I had found a job coaching recreational gymnastics at a super rec gym. Small, maybe 2000 sq feet with a commercial ceiling. Luckily the owner was a german national gymnast and one of the coaches competed at UCLA in her youth. During the tumbling classes I made friends with a guy who was an ex-optional men's gymnast and there was a few ex optional female gymnasts besides cheerleaders.

I started going to regional congress every year and eventually came across after about 5 years. By that time, I had starting training on my own, reading books about gymnastics at the local libraries. There wasn't much online in those days and it didn't ever occur to me till then to look for stuff.

In 2003, I eventually started working at a competitive club that optional girl's and boy's gymnasts. A lot was learned by just watching them and asking questions or assisting team coaches from time to time. Prior to that I had already done so at another rec gym, but they trained up to L6 in girl's. Still rec-oriented but there was more to be learned by asking and watching those coaches.

You're in a much better position being younger than I was since I started around 20-21. However, this isn't a profession where you make great pay. You may end up having to have a second job or doing this as your side job in the evening.

I will note that I've gym-hopped a few times. Honestly, I don't see making a great living at a recreational gym. If you end up becoming a manager, you're probably making 30-40k tops in the states but perhaps more if you end up becoming a manager at a BIG gym or of course, a gym owner.

College wise, I've known a lot of coaches who get kinesiology or biomechanics degrees. Some, get EarlyChildhoodEducation degrees or SportsPsychology but I seriously doubt ECE will get you very far into the advanced levels of coaching say optionals, L10's, or elites.

Find a coach to mentor under, possibly at your gym or a nearby gym or in correspondence or by visiting their gym. If you have days off, use them to go visit other gyms and sit and watch with a notebook. However, this can sometimes land you a job offer at that gym. Be warned. Sometimes, you may get invited on the floor to watch or help.

USA-Gymnastics also has a level program for coaches through USA Gymnastics University. It's in the works right now and they may only offer L1-3 though they have it mapped out to L5. Gymcert is another option.

Go to as many seminar or clinics as you can, read and watch a lot of video.

Look into the judging programs for either the women's or men's. This can definitely get you ahead in your coaching and you get supplement your income on the weekends. As well, it can establish connections via networking.

Back to gym-hopping. Some owners during interviews will grill me a lot about this. A couple of gyms just had no place to go or were not great places to be which was my fault in working there. Sometimes the pay was dismal or the experience was dismal...or worse, BOTH! You may have to. Though eventually you will want a gym to stay at to build a program or work yourself up in. You may end up having to work at some small gyms in the process that are struggling or don't have a great vision or share yours. I would advise you to stay away from them but in all honesty, sometimes you have to pay the bills or get stuck taking a job at a gym that doesn't pan out.
Thanks for all the responses - they give me alot of relief. When I first started coaching back when I was 15 I was very self concious and almost insecure about not being a gymnast, however after coaching for 4 years (and having alot of parents look at me in shock when I tell them I'm not an ex-gymnast; they think I look like one) it's slowly faded. I was looking for your expirienced opinions on the matter and I'm glad I asked!

I'm going to go ahead and ask my club owner about any advice on this as well - I know all of the club owners in this area know each other and she's been known to refer our coaches (pure rec) to other gyms that are rec/comp so they get their "foot in the door" so to speak.

I value all the responses and advice given, thank you once again.

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