Team Philosophy and Coaches’ Expectations
“First of all why are we here? That is the ultimate philosophical question. Well I will tell you why, because we enjoy it. If we did not we would not be here. The benefits of the sport can be listed very simply, but if we do not enjoy being here, why waste the time and money.” (Mark Cooper)
“This administration’s philosophy can be summed up in three simple words. Know the athlete. Every person, old or young; boy or girl; gymnast or football player; is different. They respond in various ways to an endless list of instructions and motivations. One person might need to be handled with kid gloves, while his twin brother has to be strenuously disciplined. Therefore, educating one gymnast in the exact same manner as the next would be an exercise in futility. We as educators would be seriously remiss if we did not take the time to understand every student under our tutelage. While the sport of gymnastics evolves at a very rapid rate, children change at a much more alarming pace. To facilitate this knowledge of each individual gymnast, we as a coaching staff must know more about each child than how well he can point his toes. It is in this spirit that I ask every gymnast to bring me every report card that he gets, and talk to me about any other outside problems he may be having. I also urge all parents to come to me with any problems or concerns they may have, whether they immediately concern gymnastics or not, no matter how trivial the concern may seem.” (Greg Doolittle)
One of the greatest benefits of gymnastics is physical conditioning. A gymnast is in much better overall physical condition than most other athletes because of the basic nature of using ones own body as a resistance-training tool. The physical benefits of our sport are tremendous.
Flexibility is another benefit of training in the sport. Flexibility increase ones ability to AVOID injury, a very important aspect to gymnastics training.
Many other important personal and social skills are learned in the gym. Goal setting, discipline, and determination are just a few.
These are the tangible aspects to the sport that are easily seen, but the most important aspects cannot be understood unless you yourself have experienced them. The excitement of learning a new skill, facing your fears and conquering them, testing you limits and understanding them are just a few very important developmental benefits of our sport. There are many others that I have not mentioned.
Gymnastics can be very frustrating but very rewarding. At every meet there is a winner and many losers. Sometimes the winner seems unbeatable, but the true gymnast who loves the sport will accept this fact and continue to pursue their own goals to better themselves. When an athlete reaches higher levels of gymnastics he is able to train and compete skills that no one has ever done before. This is very exciting, a way of expressing ones self with extreme power, ability, and execution. It is no wonder we call our sport Artistic Gymnastics.
It is very important that we encourage the younger athletes to discover themselves and the internal drive it takes to become a successful gymnast, no matter the level. There is no secret to becoming successful; all it takes is showing up to practice and working hard, day after day, year after year. The longer we can keep these athletes the better chance we give them to be successful. The athlete must love the sport to do this, but loving does not mean that he will always like it.
It is the responsibility of the coaching staff to provide excellent and professional gymnastics technique to support and guarantee the progression and safety of each gymnast.
Discipline is very important in this coaching staff’s philosophy. Talking back will not be tolerated. However, communication is very important and encouraged. It is of the utmost importance that the athlete listens and understands the instructions given by their coach. If the more difficult gymnastics skills are performed without proper supervision or if the athlete does not follow directions, serious injury can occur. If a child continuously does not listen to a coach or talks back to a coach he will be asked to “condition”, which means to perform basic physical exercises that will teach the gymnast that there are repercussions to his actions and at the same time reinforce important basic gymnastics technique. In extreme conditions the child will be asked to leave, call home, and a conference can be set at a later date.
As a parent the most important thing you can do is bring you child to all practices on time and be supportive of his choice to train gymnastics. Leave the coaching to the coaches, they are very qualified and they do this job because they love the sport and the kids.
Competition levels are determined among the coaching staff for what is best for the athlete following our philosophy. Concerns will be addressed, but parents do not get to choose the level they think their child should compete. Once again our coaching staff is very qualified to make these decisions. The workout grouping DOES NOT mean your child will compete at that level. That decision will be made closer to the competition season by our very qualified staff.
The Head Coach has many responsibilities. Many of these responsibilities do not require coaching gymnastics rather business management skills. There is much work to do to make sure the workouts run smoothly and all planning and administrative duties are met. The Head Coach will not coach every gymnast nor will he be at every meet for every level.