Join Me for a LIVE Reading of Gym Rats Basic Training!

To kick off the re-launch of my book Gym Rats Basic Training, I’m happy to announce that I’ll be reading the book LIVE on Facebook for all to hear!



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LIVE Facebook Reading!

First published 10 years ago, Gym Rats Basic Training is the first book in the Gym Rats children’s book series! Join me in re-launching the book with a LIVE Facebook reading!


Comparing Ourselves to Others

It is difficult to be a child and not compare yourself to the other kids around you. Of course, gymnastics inherently compares and judges gymnasts in meets, so this can be even more prevalent in our sport.

As coaches and parents, as a rule, it is our job to help our gymnast compare herself to no one, and work to improve herself rather than constantly see how she stacks up against someone else. Let’s leave that on the competition floor.

How do we do this?

Help our gymnast make goals. Goals are very individual, and should remain so. Encourage our gymnast to write them down and revisit them often.

Celebrate small successes and steps in the right direction. In our gym we have a chart where gymnasts put up a star when they have a breakthrough or do something cool. It’s amazing how motivating that can be!

Let practice focus on individual improvement. Little contests here and there are fine, but should not be the focus. Help our gymnast see how far she’s come, what she has done to step closer to her goals, and what she needs to work on to get to where she wants to be.

Be careful not to compare gymnasts to one another. As coaches and parents, we need to remember that it’s not exactly motivating to say “Allison can do it; why can’t you?”

Be sure not to only say “I’m so proud of you,” but add “You should be proud of yourself.” It is important that she understands that she did the work. Yes, it’s nice to make your coach or your parent proud, but it’s also very important that our gymnast understands that it was by her effort that she accomplished something great!


When Things Aren’t Going Well…

Of course, every gymnast would like all of her practices to go well so she feels like she’s gaining progress and that each day is building upon the last.

The reality is, though, we all have off days sometimes. You may have been able to do a skill successfully yesterday, but for some reason, it just doesn’t go well today. You feel the same. What happened? More importantly, how do you deal with it?

  1. Understand that it happens. The sooner that you accept that everyday will not be the same in the gym, the sooner that you’ll be able to deal with it.
  2. Once you understand the above point, then you will be able to start problem solving. What is it that you’re doing wrong? Are you on auto-pilot? Are you over-thinking? Are you forgetting the lead-up skills? Ask your coach to help you identify the problem.
  3. Working through a problem presents an opportunity for you to learn valuable lessons about your gymnastics, your mental attitude, your confidence, and your problem-solving skills. But you can’t get to this point without taking a deep breath, accepting the problem, and trying to change something to work through it.

Tears and frustration will not help you through this process. In fact, part of this experience is learning how to push the frustration aside so you are able to get to the problem-solving stage.

Remember that these days are not lost, if you choose not to lose them. Gymnastics sometimes is taking two steps forward and one step back. If you choose to break through the frustration point, then you will be able to learn a very valuable life lesson of solving problems. Talk to your coach. She can help.

For a gymnastics book series that helps gymnasts learn valuable life skills, go here!


Re-Launch Starts October 4th!

The re-launch of my first book, Gym Rats Basic Training, starts on October 4th! Get your FREE paperback copy here!

I am proud to be the author of a children’s gymnastics book series that focuses on the positive lessons that gymnasts can learn from our sport, when in the right environment. My goal is to help kids thrive and take what they have learned in the gym out into the world and apply it throughout their lives.

During the week of October 4th, please take a minute to download your FREE copy of the updated Kindle edition of Gym Rats Basic Training! Take advantage of the price, and download something great for your gymnast!



Do you make To-Do lists? Do you take the time to feel the satisfaction of crossing something off that list? I highly suggest doing this small thing to make you more productive.

One of the important life lessons that a gymnast can learn is how to prioritize her time. The thing is, kids aren’t just born with this ability. They must learn it, emulate it, and it must be fostered.

Help your kids stay organized. Be a leader for them to watch and imitate. Make lists, check them off, and be more productive.

We ask a lot of our gymnast children. Let’s help them develop the tools they need in order to be successful, not only in the gym, but throughout their lives.

Get a FREE copy of the Gym Rats Basic Training paperback here!


Never Stop Setting Goals

As you know, I am re-launching my Gym Rats gymnastics book series. (Get your FREE paperback here!) With this re-launch has come many new goals, which means many new responsibilities, and, as a result, many new skills that I am adding to my repertoire.

One important life skill that we need to teach our kids is that with goals comes responsibility. In order to meet those responsibilities, we must learn new skills. This is true all throughout life.

A student may have a goal of getting an A on an exam. With that goal, she has the responsibility to work diligently to do her homework and to study hard. Along with the work and the studying comes new skills (i.e. math skills, map skills, writing skills, studying skills) that she didn’t posses before.

A gymnast may have the goal of reaching the next level of competition. With that goal comes the responsibility of pushing herself in conditioning to get stronger so that it is safe to try her new routines. She will likely need to spend more time in the gym working at those new new routines. In the journey of being able to compete at a higher level, she will acquire new strength and skills that she never had before.

A writer and publisher may have the goal of re-launching her previously published book series. With that goal comes the responsibility of committing to a launch date, updating the books, creating an audio book, marketing, and the list goes on. With those responsibilities come new skills: learning and understanding new programs and platforms, understanding and utilizing new marketing strategies, etc.

With goals comes responsibility. With added responsibility comes the acquisition of new skills. And it so happens that the moment one acquires a new skill, new and more exciting goals present themselves!

We must push our children to always make goals and to work hard to achieve them. The moment a person stops setting goals, is the moment he stops taking responsibility for himself and his life, and is the moment he stops learning new skills. This is when he will stagnate. We want more for our kids. They deserve more.


Why I loved Mulan – the Short Version

Our family watched Disney’s new Mulan last weekend. I loved it. We all did. (If anyone knows me, they know I don’t spend my extra time watching Disney movies.) But this was different. I will let my daughter watch this inspiring movie as many times as she wants. Here’s why:

The movie recognizes and celebrates the good for being the good.

Mulan is good. She is not “good for a woman.” She is good, pure and simple. She is the best. She just happens to be a woman.

When I was growing up, I wasn’t “strong for a girl.” I was strong. I was muscular. I beat all the boys at pull-ups. And I just happened to be a girl.

In the gym, when my girls climb the rope, they climb it with seeming ease and without using their legs. They are not “strong for girls.” They are strong, pure and simple. And they just happen to be girls.

This mindset opens the world up to everyone – no pigeon holes, no categories, no restrictions. This is the mindset that I want all my gymnasts to have. The world is open to them, and they can conquer anything – no pigeon holes, no categories, no restrictions.

“The world that you desire can be won. It exists… it is real… it is possible… it’s yours.” — Ayn Rand


Gym Rats Books for the Everyday Gymnast

Elite gymnasts are in the spotlight. They are in newspaper articles. We recognize them in magazines and on cereal boxes. We also now know what they truly have given up to achieve their notoriety. In 2016, 103 of all 125,216 USA Gymnastics members (.08%) trained in USAG’s Women’s Elite Program. They are a special breed and generally come from a handful of gyms and coaches from across the country.

The rest, ninety-nine plus percent, of gymnasts who compete represent the Everyday Gymnast. Tens of thousands of Everyday Gymnasts in this country are willing to do what it takes to make their dreams, whatever they are, come true. They condition, work out with sore muscles, stretch to increase their flexibility, and do bars with rips on their hands. They push themselves to their limits, whatever they may be for them, and they push through pain on a daily basis.

The Everyday Gymnast dedicates her young life to the sport. Her extracurricular time is devoted to going to the gym. Her Saturdays are eaten up by practice. Meals are eaten and homework is done in the car. But she doesn’t mind; she just wants to be in the gym. It’s what she does.

My Gym Rats brand and I stand for the Everyday Gymnast: the gymnast who loves gymnastics because it’s where she fits in, where she can try new things, where she can shine, and where she can have fun. The Everyday Gymnast won’t make it to the Olympics, may not get a college scholarship, might not get to level 10, or even do a giant, but will probably compete through the beginning levels of competition.

This doesn’t change her dedication to the sport; the Everyday Gymnast loves gymnastics. She eats, breathes, and sleeps gymnastics. She does it in the living room, on curbs, in her mind during the day, and in her dreams as she sleeps. It seems that all she can to do is be upside down.

The Gym Rats book series, starting with Gym Rats Basic Training, is made for the Everyday Gymnast, and with the Everyday Gymnast in mind. I was the Everyday Gymnast, I coach the Everyday Gymnast, and I relate to her. Grab your FREE, autographed copy of Gym Rats Basic Training today, and see what it’s all about!


Addressing Fear with Reason

Gymnastics can be scary. Flipping through the air, swinging 10 feet off the floor, running at top speed toward an immovable object, balancing on four inches, four feet off the floor… As a result of all these crazy things we ask gymnasts to do, fear is ever-present in this sport. It is sometimes warranted, but oftentimes it is quite irrational, especially because we are dealing with children; they do not yet know how to handle it. 

Children must be taught how to employ rational thought in their lives as their brains and personalities develop. They spend the first few years of their lives reacting emotionally — their brains and language skills are not yet equipped to handle anything more. They must learn how to use their mental faculties to handle life’s situations, good and bad. Every coach has the opportunity to help gymnasts develop this life skill. 

Regardless of the source of the fear, it is certainly real to the gymnast. Many times, young (and old) gymnasts will assume that they are going to fail before they even try something new. Sometimes it is because they have seen a teammate fall or get hurt on the exact same skill, and they believe that they will do the same thing. Perhaps they have hurt themselves before. Maybe they’re scared of going for a skill alone because they think the coach is “saving their life” every time. Perhaps they just don’t have confidence in their ability. Whatever the source of their fear, reality-based self-confidence is what must be taught and reinforced in order to begin to conquer fear. Providing young gymnasts with the skills to be self-confident will help them to overcome unwarranted fear. 

Gymnasts need to be reminded that they are in control of their bodies and their minds. We must help them base their gymnastics in reality, step back, and look at their fears and skills in an objective manner. So, how is this accomplished? 

Teach them to look at their gymnastics based on facts. Help your gymnasts see the tangible truths around them. The floor is blue. The mat is soft. A springboard is bouncy. The trampoline is bouncier. Using chalk can help dry sweaty hands. I’ve done lots of drills for this skill. I can do a cartwheel. I can do a cartwheel on the beam, etc. In reciting the facts of the situation, there is no emotionality. Even so, in recognizing the facts surrounding her situation and ability, a gymnast can feel more in control. This will help her be more confident in her gymnastics. 

Periodically, coaches should monitor their gymnasts’ realities. Are they actual realities (I can do 10 pull-ups)? Or are they perceived realities (I’m going to land on my head if I jump to the high bar)? Gymnasts need help in learning the difference. Sometimes an actual reality might be negative (for instance, “I don’t have my kip”). This is okay because it can help shape goals, because reality isn’t always positive, and it certainly is not perfect. What does need to happen in this instance, however, is to recognize the traits that might lead to why this negative reality exists, (i.e. lack of physical strength, confidence, speed, drills, experience, etc.). Then, a goal needs to be set for the gymnast to attain. 

A good coach will not only be able to help her gymnast learn how to think rationally about gymnastics, but will also lead by example. A good coach will react to reality and not base coaching decisions on emotion (reacting with emotion makes us human, but making decisions based on emotion is not rational). Gymnasts will see, internalize, and emulate any coach’s behavior. Coaches must be aware of their own behavior and expectations. 

Learning to think and approaching gymnastics rationally does not happen overnight. However, if coaches are consistent, then gymnasts will learn to apply rational thinking to gymnastics over time. It will become habit and permeate into the rest of their lives, giving them a rational basis on which to live and thrive.