The 4 Most Common Issues in Coaching and Learning Gymnastics:
1) Lack of Motivation:
2) Lack of Discipline:
3) Lack of Knowledge:
4) Poor Communication Skills:
Motivation is a big issue when it comes to coaching. Some coaches don’t have any motivation at all, while others just lack the desire to do their job properly. A lack of motivation can lead to poor decisions being made during training sessions. If you’re not motivated then your efforts will be wasted because you won’t want to put in the extra effort required to get better. You’ll just give up and move onto another sport or activity which is much easier than trying to improve yourself as a gymnast.
Discipline is something that’s very difficult for some coaches to manage due to their own personal issues with discipline themselves. When you’re disciplined, you’re able to focus on what needs to be done rather than worrying about other things. You may have a hard time keeping track of everything but if you keep focused, it doesn’t matter how many times you’ve missed practice or competitions.
Knowledge is something that’s very important when it comes to learning new skills and techniques. You need to know the basics of gymnastics before attempting advanced moves such as tumbling or balance beam routines.
However, if the coach doesn’t have a good understanding of these basic skills then how are you supposed to learn what you’re supposed to do?
Poor communication skills are detrimental to a coach.
If you don’t understand what the coach is saying or they fail to get their message across properly then how are you meant to know what they’re talking about or what you should be doing?
A lack of communication skills can lead to you doing the wrong techniques and practicing these techniques which will only be detrimental to your abilities in the long run.
In order to solve these issues, you need to first identify what the issues are in order to find a suitable solution to the problem. If there’s a lack of motivation, you need to find a way to fix the coach’s motivation.
Are they lacking something which is taking the fun out of the sport?
If it’s discipline, you need to find a way of getting your coach to be more disciplined in their work.
Would it help if they had another person working with them who is more disciplined and can keep them in line?
If the coach doesn’t have the knowledge to train you properly, you’ll have to find a way of getting them up to scratch with their knowledge.
Is there a knowledgeable coach you could get to help out?
The coach should also be willing to listen to criticism. Nobody’s perfect and everyone has room to improve, this is especially true when it comes to being a coach.
2) Not Having a Plan:
Sometimes coaches can fall into the trap of not having a proper routine or plan in place. This leads to inefficiency as the coach is just making things up as they go along rather than having an organized approach towards training
Planning and organization are essential when it comes to successful coaching. Coaches need to develop a series of goals and plans which they’re going to use in order to train their athletes towards getting better at their sport. Without these plans, the coach will struggle to effectively improve the performance of the athlete and may even get burnt out from trying to keep themselves motivated if they’re not used to doing this sort of thing.
This comes back to the importance of communication skills. As a coach, it’s your responsibility to clearly explain what you want the athlete to do. The more specific you are about what needs to be done, the more likely it is that the athlete is going to listen to what you have to say and be willing to put in the work required to improve.
3) Not Knowing the Athlete:
As a coach, it’s important to know everything there is to know about your athletes if you want to get the best out of them. Before you start training an athlete, it’s your job to learn about them as a person.
What are their dreams and aspirations in life? What gets them fired up? What are their weaknesses and fears? And most importantly, how do you best support them to reach their goals?
One of the most important things about being a good coach is learning how to communicate effectively with the people you’re coaching. This means you need to get to know them on a personal level in order to be able to create a bond with them. Once you’ve created this bond, the athlete will be more likely to respect and trust in what you have to say because they’re going to feel comfortable opening up to you. The better you get to know your athletes, the more likely it is that you’ll be able to pick the right motivational strategy for each of them which will help each person improve at their own pace.
If you don’t have a good relationship with your athletes, they’re going to feel disrespected, misjudged and undervalued. None of these things are going to help them improve as athletes so it’s important that you take the time to get to know them before you start working with them.
While I’ve only listed three common mistakes that coaches make, these are the main ones that I feel cause the most issues. That doesn’t mean there aren’t other mistakes out there which could be made, but if you avoid these three then you should be well on your way to becoming a good coach.
Just because you’re a coach it doesn’t mean you know everything there is to know about your athletes.
Sources & references used in this article:
The organizational tasks of high-performance gymnastic coaches by J Côté, JH Salmela – The sport psychologist, 1996 – journals.humankinetics.com
The coaching model: A grounded assessment of expert gymnastic coaches’ knowledge by J Coté, J Saimela, P Trudel… – Journal of sport and …, 1995 – journals.humankinetics.com
The knowledge of high-performance gymnastic coaches: Methodological framework by J Côté, JH Salmela, S Russell – The sport psychologist, 1995 – journals.humankinetics.com
Injury prevention in women’s gymnastics by WA Sands – Sports medicine, 2000 – Springer