Especially after everything that has happened, and is still happening within USAG, with coaches coming under scrutiny for child abuse – emotional and physical – and with the seemingly unending Covid-19 crisis, I find myself more than ever examining why it is that I coach, and what I want my gymnasts to get out of being under my tutelage.
I want to help them develop a strong sense of self-worth. I want them to be confident in their minds and in their abilities.
I want to help them develop a high self-esteem. I want them to know that their goals are possible.
I want to help them develop their individual character. I want them to be comfortable with who they are and to know that each of them matters, regardless of what anyone else says about them.
I want to help them develop a sense of control over their lives. I want them to be confident to know that they can make goals, set a path, and reach their goals.
I want to help them develop the belief that life is full of possibilities. I want them to believe that anything is possible with productive action.
I want to help them develop a belief that they are more than just gymnasts. I want them to know that I am a trusted advisor for life, not just for life in the gym.
I want to help them develop a love for gymnastics. I want them to look back on their days in the gym and believe that it was worth the time, the hard work, and dedication that they put in.
This is not an exhaustive list, but it is a good start. In order to do all of these important above things, I must be present with my coaching, and do everything I can to be consistent in trying to develop these goals in my gymnasts. I must draw on my experiences, remember what it was to be a gymnast, and apply what I have learned through that and my years as a coach. But more than that, I must continue to study and apply what I learn to help develop my gymnasts even further. I enjoy reading and applying what I read to daily practices and Success Saturday. I will continue to do so, and will also develop training tools for gymnasts, coaches, and parents to use to help them apply what I have learned to gymnastics training.
I will be building off the Gym Rats book series by creating a series of workbooks and workshops for gymnasts to learn and reinforce more of the valuable life lessons that gymnastics has to offer.