Perspective

Posted January 14, 2015 by Troy
Categories: General Gymnastics, Mental Training

Tags: , , ,

IMG_896630472959849NOTE TO SELF (and anyone else who cares to read it):

I am well aware that coaching/teaching can feel:
HEARTBREAKING (when a gymnast leaves)
CHALLENGING
FRUSTRATING
THANKLESS
MENTALLY EXHAUSTING
DISAPPOINTING
even
EMBARRASSING

If I remember one simple fact, I can make…
HEARTBREAK turn into AWARENESS of the gymnasts/students I may have neglected,
CHALLENGING SITUATIONS turn into INSIGHT and CREATIVITY,
FRUSTRATION turn into PATIENCE,
a feeling of THANKLESSNESS turn into RECOGNITION of what is important,
MENTAL EXHAUSTION turn into UNLIMITED ENERGY,
DISSAPOINTMENT turn into EMPATHY,
EMBARRASSMENT turn into PRIDE in what my gymnast/student HAS accomplished.

The fact that I need to remember?

*** None of this. Is. About. Me. ***

Solving Problems

Posted January 5, 2015 by Troy
Categories: Mental Training, Uncategorized

Tags: ,

I promise this is not a post about religion…

A while back, I was reading about the story of the farmer and Buddha. If you  haven’t read this story, I have written it in a more relatable way below. I think this story could be very beneficial to your gymnasts (older) and your coaches. Hopefully, everyone gets similar value from it that I have.

A gymnastics coach visited a veteran coach.

“I have read lots of your articles, watched many of your videos, and have heard from several friends how much you have helped them in their careers to be better coaches. I especially enjoyed your cartoon, ‘When will my Natasha start doing back handsprings?’ I have some problems and I am hoping that you can help me.

“I love coaching, but it is often incredibly challenging and sometimes I feel underappreciated. I have great friends in and out of the sport, but sometimes they don’t understand the pull I feel from each side. I coach a lot of great kids, but sometimes I feel they aren’t very confident or aggressive. A few of them can even be lazy. Most of the parents of the gymnasts I coach are great! They are supportive of my philosophy and I am really happy with them, but I do have some who are unreasonable. I know that I am lucky to be involved in such an incredible occupation, but I have to live paycheck to paycheck and it stresses me out. And I really like the coaches I work with and the owner of the gym, but we don’t always see eye to eye on things and I feel like my opinion is undervalued.”

“I can’t help you with these.” The mentor said, without hesitation.

The coach was surprised. “But…your videos…my friends…they were sure you could help me with this! You’re famous!”

“I can not help you with these types of problems, Christopher. We ALL have 83 problems. It is the reality of life and coaching. Or anything we do. Of course, you should never stop trying to solve your problems, but you have to understand. If you solve one of your problems, another will pop up in its place. If you solve another, the same will happen and on and on, until you die. We will ALWAYS have 83 problems. I may be able to help you with your 84th problem, however.” the mentor finished.

The coach was confused, “And the 84th problem is…?”

“The 84th problem is your desire NOT to have problems.”

What I have taken from this story is that life itself is never without its challenges. Our “problems” are often amplified by our desire to have a “problem-free” life. The challenges themselves have no natural, real value (good or bad). They are simply challenges. Their value only exists in our own perceptions.

So, to me, this means that our biggest challenge is in accepting that we will always have many, many “problems”. This does not mean that we should do nothing about these challenges. Of course, this is what defines our successes and, especially in the coaching profession, it is part of our daily routine. But we can handle the challenges better, if we can focus on what is real, rather than what we create from this desire to be without problems.

I really feel this can be of help to everyone. This idea can be applicable to most of the challenges that arise during a high level (or moderate/low, for that matter) of gymnastic training for our athletes. Fear, frustration, sacrifice, pain, being tired, lacking confidence, performance anxiety, etc. are much more easily dealt with when the athlete doesn’t already feel like a failure for experiencing the “problem” to begin with.

I would really be interested in everyone’s thoughts on all of this. Please comment, if you would like to join a discussion.

Some Compulsory Vault Drills I use

Posted January 3, 2015 by Troy
Categories: Vault

Tags: , , , , , , , ,

Fixing a Bar

Posted January 9, 2012 by gymcoachjason
Categories: Gym Maintenance

Some open gym kids were playing around and took a floor bar and grinded (ground?) it along one of our single rails. The metal base of the floor bar caught the laminate and took out this chunk:

Needless to say, I was angry. But, that’s the situation I was in. Economics being what they are, we couldn’t just buy a new rail. That meant this situation presented a damned-if-you-do, damned-if-you-don’t scenario: If we leave the chip alone, it presents an insurance/liability problem; but if I try to fix it, it may also present an insurance/liability problem by voiding the manufacturer’s liability.  However, I decided that trying to do something was better than doing nothing, and I was concerned the chip might continue to grow if left exposed (thereby turning an already unsightly chunk into a much bigger and even more dangerous problem). So, I thought about ways to fix it.

After considering about a dozen different options, I decided to try a mixture of super glue/sealant and wood. I found some super glue that advertised itself as water resistant and “safe for repeated use and use with children,” since, after all, this would be touched by sweaty kids every day. I also made sure it was recommended for wood and hard plastics (or fiberglass). The back of the box also claimed it dried “solid but flexible” which sounded perfect, given that the rail will bend and I don’t want it cracking more.

Next, I took some old 2x4s and drilled some holes in them to generate some sawdust. I also used a power sander to get some extra fine sawdust. In hindsight, the drilled sawdust was too chunky, and accounts for the patchiness you’ll see below. In the future, I’ll stick with just the extra fine sawdust, but at the time I thought having mixed sizes would either create a grainy appearance similar to the bar, or help the adhesive adhere to the dust. After I felt I had enough, I combined the sealant and the sawdust. I don’t have a measurement for you, but basically it was “all the sawdust the adhesive could handle.”

I cleaned out the notch, dried it off, and then added a layer of the pure adhesive first. Then I took a small piece of wood (basically a popsicle stick) and used it as a trowel to apply the mixed sawdust/sealant. I pressed it in pretty firmly with a rag, trying to get it into every crevice, and let it dry. A couple hours later I came back and sanded it smooth with an extra-fine 200 grit sandpaper:

It might not be pretty, but it’s as smooth as the rest of the bar and it appears to be hardened. And at the very least, I think it looks better than a gaping hole where you can see the fiberglass under the laminate. Once it gets covered with chalk it’ll probably be less noticeable. If it holds up for a month, I’ll consider it a successful repair.

Coach Poll/Research: Wall Bars

Posted December 23, 2011 by gymcoachjason
Categories: Conditioning, Strength Training, Training Tools

Coaches: I need to build a new set of wall bars (or stall bars, depending I guess on what region you’re in?). I want to know if anyone has ever seen a style of wall bar that they think is both effective AND visually appealing (and accessible to all heights/ages of kids)? In other words, what’s the best design you’ve ever seen?

Teaching Casts to Little Ones

Posted November 30, 2011 by gymcoachjason
Categories: Conditioning, Training, Uneven Bars

Front Handspring Vaulting

Posted November 11, 2011 by gymcoachjason
Categories: Uncategorized

Some steps toward front handspring vaulting.


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