Gymnastics

What do you want to get out of gymnastics?

Besides the obvious answer of learning how to do gymnastics, what do you want your gymnast to get out of gymnastics?

As a gymnastics coach, I have always had a coaching philosophy, something that acts as an underlying guide to everything I do in the gym and in the sport. Here is a screenshot of my gym’s philosophy:

As a former gymnast, I know that gymnastics had more to offer me than just a scholarship to a Division I college. I learned many, many life lessons through my participation in the sport. This wasn’t by osmosis; my coaches actually helped develop these things in me. My coaches had an underlying philosophy to develop the person, not just the athlete.

As a gym mom, I want my daughter to be able to be a well-adjusted and confident person. I want gymnastics to be a source to build up her confidence and help her develop a high self-esteem. I want her to learn time management skills, be disciplined, and work hard – not out of fear of her coach or the fear of failure, but because she has goals that she wants to accomplish for herself.

I believe that every gymnastics parent and every gymnastics coach needs to think about what it is that they want their gymnasts to get out of the sport. Develop a philosophy that matches, or find a coach whose philosophy matches, and consistently work to match and develop it. If you are in a spot where the philosophy doesn’t match up to what you want to teach or what you want your daughter to learn, then it’s time to stand up and do what it takes to find something that does. Consistency and integrity are key.

Your gymnast will thank you.

coaching, everyday gymnast, goals, Gymnastics, High School, Life Lessons

To Any Athlete

There are little eyes upon you

And they’re watching night and day:

There are little ears that quickly

Take in every word you say:

There are little hands,

All eager to do anything you do!

And a little child who’s dreaming

Of that day they’ll be like you.

You’re the little child’s idol:

You’re the wisest of the wise.

In their little minds about you

no suspicions ever rise:

they believe in you fervently,

hold all you say and do,

they’ll say and do it your way

when they’re grown up like you.

There’s a wide-eyed little child,

Who believes you’re always right,

And their ears are always open,

And they watch you day and night.

You are setting an example

everyday in all you do,

for the little child who’s

waiting to grow up to be like you.

–Anonymous

coaching, everyday gymnast, Gymnastics, Life Lessons, success saturday

Changing the Culture of Gymnastics One Gymnast at a Time

Plenty of people in the gymnastics community believe that the culture of gymnastics needs to change. However, it seems that no one knows how to do it. I was talking to a friend and colleague the other day about how we can go about this change. I had an idea of how it needed to change, but it seemed like a long shot. Neither of us came up with a good plan, but we did have a relatively good discussion about it.

The next day I saw a quote from Elon Musk. It said, “When something is important enough, you do it even if the odds are not in your favor.”

At that moment, it became clear; I knew the answer. It came back to my basic premise that gymnastics is an individual sport, and each gymnast must be treated and trained as an individual. This idea may be controversial to some, especially to those coaches and gym owners who believe that the team’s success is the most important focus.

Let me challenge that belief: without strong individual gymnasts, there would not be a strong team. It is as simple as that. By simply changing our focus to the individual rather than the team overall, we can open our eyes to what is best for each child.

We teach children. These children are forming into adults as we interact with them on a daily basis. As coaches, we are major influences in each of their lives. If we can show them that we value them as individuals, and not merely as cogs in a larger team (what can they do for the team?), then we can truly teach them how to believe in themselves, teach them about how the lessons they learn in gymnastics apply to life, and give them a safe place that builds them up, rather than something that they need to recover from later.

It comes down to this: Change the culture of gymnastics one gymnast at a time. This is what I intend to do.

basic training, books, everyday gymnast, Fiction, gym rats, Gymnastics

Get your FREE all-new Kindle edition of Gym Rats Toe Jam today!

Today is Launch Day for Gym Rats Toe Jam! Grab your FREE all-new Kindle copy from Amazon!👈🏼👈🏼👈🏼

👉🏼👉🏼👉🏼To celebrate, join me for a LIVE reading on Facebook!

Thank you to all who are making my first book, Gym Rats Basic Training a HUGE success! It is #1 in Amazon’s Hot New Releases! Let’s do the same for Toe Jam!

basic training, books, everyday gymnast, Fiction, gym rats, Gymnastics, Life Lessons

Gym Rats Toe Jam – All New Kindle Edition Launches on Sunday!

This upcoming Sunday, November 1st is the day – we re-launch Gym Rats Toe Jam! I am so proud to offer this valuable and realistic book series that teaches important life lessons!

Here are some things going on leading up to and through Launch Week:

  • The matching Notebook for Toe Jam is available on Amazon. (Now there are two – one to match Basic Training, and one to match Toe Jam!) It’s a great way for gymnasts to share their motivation for the sport with their BFF in the gym. Of course, the Notebook can also be used to write down goals and quotes for any gymnast’s personal use!
  • Volume 1, Issue 4 of the Gym Rats Magazine will be out on Saturday! Get your annual subscription now!
  • I will be hosting a LIVE Facebook reading on Sunday!
  • There is a new program to help gyms earn some extra money. It’s so simple – just sign up on the website, and direct your parents to purchase the series here. IrisBlu Publishing takes care of the shipping and taxes. We will ship the copies to your gym, and all you have to do is hand them out! All orders in before December 1st will be there for Christmas!
  • Gym Rats Toe Jam will be FREE on Amazon to download the all-new Kindle edition starting on Sunday, November 1st! Be sure to download your copy and post an honest review!

I am so excited to be re-launching my book series. I truly believe that these books are great ways to help motivate your gymnast, help guide her, and help reinforce the important life lessons that our great sport of gymnastics has to offer!

coaching, everyday gymnast, goals, Gymnastics, Life Lessons, success saturday

What is Success Saturday?

In my gym, we have what I call “Success Saturday.” I take the opportunity to sit down with my team groups and talk about the mental side of gymnastics. Sessions can take anywhere from 10 to 30 minutes, depending on the topic. Some topics we cover are goal-setting, motivation, time management, and self-esteem. But the list goes on.

I find that these sessions are helpful to my gymnasts. The normal behavior of a child is to come to the gym because she loves it, loves flipping, swinging, loves her friends, and loves her coaches. This is great, but, not too much thought is given to the mental side of gymnastics, even though almost everyone who knows gymnastics will say that “gymnastics is 90% mental.”

If anything, these Success Saturday sessions introduce my gymnasts to the idea that they can set their own goals, create good habits, and be more aware of what they are doing everyday in the gym. I find that just becoming aware of the mental side of the sport can help them in the gym, and ultimately, reach their goals.

I have heard many elite gymnasts say that they had never been asked what their goals are, what they want, or what they want to accomplish. Instead, paths are set for them, and they are pushed along, until they stumble and are no longer able to keep up. Only a handful are able to live up to the expectations set of them. I do not want this for my kids. They spend way too much time in the gym for them not to be the owners of their gymnastics.

This ownership leads to a feeling of control, and knowing that they have choices. This feeling can be translated to the rest of their lives, especially as they grow older and their biggest problems no longer involve whether or not they will make their cartwheel on beam today.

Success Saturdays are a great addition to our training program, and I find that the kids who take it to heart are the ones who reach their goals more quickly and are more successful in and out of the gym.

books, coaching, everyday gymnast, goals, gym rats, Gymnastics, Life Lessons, parents, success saturday

In Becoming a Better Coach

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.

books, coaching, everyday gymnast, Fiction, gym rats, Gymnastics, Life Lessons, parents

Sneak Peek! Gym Rats Toe Jam, Chapter 1

– Hanging By My Toes –

I was in the dining room reading Madison’s notebook entry between bites of cottage cheese.

Dear Rat (AKA Morgan),

Tomorrow starts the last week of school! WOOT WOOT – No more school! And I can’t WAIT to start going the optional days. I’m so glad Coach Deb invited us to come in extra. Do you know who else gets to come in on the optional days? I hope we get to work out with the girls in the next level up – and what if we worked out with the girls in even higher levels? That would be awesome!

I can’t believe that DAKOTA is coming to The Gym Club in 1 WEEK to try out! If she’s anything like us GYM RATS, she’s really going to like it here! I hope everyone is nice to her. Did you hear Amber tell Leslie the other day at practice that Tina’s back handspring is ugly? I think Tina heard her, too. Geez. Give her a break. Tina just got it! And she’s still in Devos! That wasn’t cool. I wish there was something we could do to get back at Amber for saying that. Okay, I have to cut it short cuz I need to study for my last social studies test tomorrow!

CU2morrow! –Gym (AKA Madison)

“Morgan, get back to your homework! It’s 8:30!” my mom hollered from the kitchen. I don’t know how Mom knew that I was reading the notebook, but she did. I was supposed to be studying for my last math test before the end of the school year.

“Okay! I was just taking a quick break!” I didn’t have time to write back to Gym since I also had to start studying for my spelling test. I brought my empty dish to the kitchen. “I’m so tired of school! I can’t wait till it’s over,” I complained.

“Four days left. You can hang by your toes for that long,” Mom answered. “Let me know when you’re ready for me to go over your spelling words with you.”

“All right,” I sighed and sauntered back to my math book. We had practice until 7 o’clock on Mondays, so I had just a little time to do all of my homework and finish studying for tomorrow’s school day. It was already 8:30, and my eyelids were getting heavy…

“Morgan, wake up,” my mom lightly touched my shoulder. “Get ready for bed. I’ll quiz you on your spelling words tomorrow while you’re eating breakfast.”

I rubbed my eyes. “Okay,” I said as I climbed the stairs to my bedroom. I could see the light to my older sister Allison’s room under her door. She just got home from gym – she just finished competing in her first season as an upper-level optional and was getting ready for the next level. No doubt she was doing her homework. How can she stay up so late? I wondered. I got ready for bed and before I knew it, the sun was shining through my window.

Get your FREE Autographed copy here! Just pay shipping!

The all-new Kindle edition of Gym Rats Toe Jam is coming out on November 1st!

Gymnastics

Do you have an exceptional gymnast? Tell me about her!

I am looking for nominations for the “Everyday Gymnast of the Season” for the next issue of Gym Rats Magazine!

Please tell me your gymnast’s name and why you believe she would be a good addition to our Gymnast of the Season group.