How we get trained to train your little ones…

Gymnastics is an extremely complicated and technical sport.  I don’t know of any other 20130814-SLP_4969sport where you have to master so many things.  Let’s think about it… soccer….run, kick a ball…Basketball…run, grab a ball and throw it….Tennis….run, hit a ball with a racket…. My husband would argue that Wrestling/Martial Arts are the hardest.  I just thought about that for a second and yes, I could see how wrestling compares greatly to gymnastics.  So for Dad’s out there reading this, I would say that if you want your daughters as mentally tough and gifted as your wrestling sons, put them in gymnastics.  I guess that is why my husband and I are so perfectly matched.  (for those of you who don’t know, my husband is an incredibly gifted martial artist and wrestler as well as a talented coach)


I got a little side tracked already from my topic so I’ll get back on it.  Coach training for us is an ongoing process.  We spend our entire careers always progressing and learning.  For myself, I started with reading gymnastics training books and looking on in the internet for coaching ideas (there are thousands) so it’s a great source.  I’ve also been certified as a Professional Coach through USA Gymnastics.  USA Gymnastics is our governing body over gymnastics.  They are extremely detailed about how to coach safely and what the best practices are for our industry.  I’ve learned a lot from them.  They do background checks and require two classes to take before you may become a member and then offer many classes to add on so you may progress your education.  I have personally attended many  coaching clinics in the state as well as last years National USA Gymnastics Congress, in Los Angeles.  If you’re wondering where I am this coming week, I’ll be in Park City learning our new Junior Olympic routines.  It’s a four day clinic with the master himself, Tom Knoll.  He’s the one that sets the standards for gymnastics in the US and creates the routines with his partners.  We are so lucky to have this wealth of knowledge coming to this state.  It really helps prepare us for how to compete well.

I also learn a lot just by trial and error.  I suppose that is unfortunate to the kids that learned  my error coaching technique but eh it builds character, right

?!  Of course I would never try a new spotting technique on an untrained student.  I go to clinics that show me how to spot properly.  We’ve also invited several amazing guest coaches to visit us and help us with our technique.

It’s not just me who coaches however.  We have six other amazing coaches, who have all been gymnasts or cheerleaders themselves.  A lot of training comes from just being an athlete yourself.  I’m so lucky to have every single coach at our gym have that background.  Especially in a small town.  They too, look online for coaching techniques, learn from my own coaching clinics I have for them and can occasionally attend a clinic given by other facilities.  We were all recently CPR certified except for our new boys coach Ronnie.  He just started but he will get certified soon.  We also have a coach, Kelly, who is an ER Nurse and has so many certifications that I can’t remember them all.

So as you can see, we take our training seriously and are always looking for exciting new ways to coach.  We strive to be our best.  That is important to us.  I don’t look at these kids and say, it’s ok to be mediocre because we live a small town.  I say these kids should have every opportunity to go for it all the way.  Having an untrained coach will hold you back and I never want to be that coach.  I didn’t grow up here so I don’t understand it when people are ok with just being so so at everything.  But I do love it here because I can be my whole self.  Mostly because I have time to share, learn, create and give.  In a big city I feel rushed and unappreciated because there are so many people fighting for the same thing.  I love this small town and the people in it.  You all contribute to my life’s pursuit of happiness and that’s teaching your kids.  ~Coach Carrie


A Coaching Story

By Coach Carrie

Today I was teaching a child how to get through a fear of a trick on bars.  The trick entailed jumping from the low bar to the high bar.  This girl was pretty tiny in stature so she was very fearful and has been for many months of this skill.  Every time she came to bars she would ask, “Are we jumping to the high bar?”, with this look of agony on her face.  I finally had an extra coach helping me today and not too many kids showed up for class so it allowed me to spend some extra time with her.  Well, I learned so much.

So I started setting up the bars.  First I pulled them close together and ask her, “are you scared?”  She said yes, then I put a mat under the bar to make it seem not so high and asked the same thing.  Still the same response.  Then I put another mat there and finally she said she wasn’t scared to try from that point.  I knew always to start a trick from a place of not having fear.  She responded ok to this but was still scared once she got up there.  I had to spot her and she still jumped to the mat before catching the bar.  So I took her down to the floor and put a bar on the floor for her to jump from to a low bar.  I made sure to put it ridiculously close so she couldn’t say she was scared.  She jumped just fine.  Then I pulled the bar on the ground farther away from the bar she was going to catch and immediately she started to get scared again.  I was stumped!  It wasn’t very far but she just wasn’t trying and still terrified.

I decided to give her control.  She knew the direction I wanted to head with progress but I then let her move the bar when she was ready and comfortable.  I was amazed!!! She moved the bar faster and farther away from the bar on her own than I did trying to push her into it.

Now here is the reason why this coaching method works so well….Kids want to learn and progress.  They know that in there DNA they need to reach out and try.  But that crazy response happens when I try “setting the bar” for them.  They instantly think the opposite thoughts of “this is scary, I’m not ready, I can’t do what she’s asking.”  Even though I think I’m being encouraging by saying, “no you can do it, just try, you’ll see it’s easy.” But only opposite thoughts race through her brain because children also want to naturally resist authority.  But when I handed over the power of making the decision on her own when to jump and how far to jump and even how many times to jump before she moved the bar she forgot all about resisting me and fear.  Now all she saw was a goal to move it farther back.  At the end of it all she was jumping to the high bar without mats underneath her and a complete look of satisfaction on her face along with a giant smile.

I’ve used this coaching method before but never saw in such concrete detail enough to say, “I’ve got it figured out.” It changed her world to be able to push her self with my expectationless support.  Once I gave her the freedom to push her self she set the goal higher than I had and progressed farther and faster.

Moral to the story is…trust your kids.  Let go of the need to have perfection right away.  If they are meant to be perfect at it, they’ll get there.  And if not, they sure did learn a lot trying and actually reap the same benefits, if not more, as the child who did get it perfect.

Our goal is not to make your child perfect at gymnastics but set goals and reach for them whatever there ability is.  Yes, some kids are destined to get great scores and take first place all the time but it’s always the kid that struggles and fights for what they have who appreciate it more.  As long as we see progress and a desire to move forward, they receive immense praise and affection from us.

Think of it like this.  When your child is a baby, is it better to give them the toy they are crawling for or have them work to crawl to it and get it themselves?

Thanks everyone for reading my blogs.  Always grateful.

~Coach Carrie




Fall Sign Ups Begin!!

Hey Everyone!!  It’s a great time to sign your child up for gymnastics.  We begin our new 20130406-SLP_6392season August 26th, 2013.  Here are some key points you’ll want to know about signing up…

1.  Registration is 25.00 per child or 50.00 per family (all current students will need to re-register as well) Please go to our website and download the registration form.  Fill out and bring back to us.

2.  Monthly tuition is due the last week of the month to pay for the new month forward.  If you pay within this time frame you get the EARLY BIRD DISCOUNT.  If after the 1st of the month please add 5.00 to your payment

3.  Please have your child dressed ready to workout.  This means Leotard, tight shorts (skirts get tied up in the bars and coaches hands so we do not prefer them), hair pulled back and jewelry off.  Street clothes are not allowed as zippers, buttons and lose fitting clothing are safety hazards.  Shorts and t-shirt for boys.


POLICIES in our gym (very important)

4.  Please do not leave an unattended child to watch their friend.  We do not allow children to stay and watch for liability reasons

5.  Parents are recommend to come watch once a month but we prefer not more than that.    The reason is it makes children less focused on learning and they feel the pressure of parents watching.  But we do want you to see what we are all about, so visit occasionally.

6.  Parents are encouraged to not coach from the bench.  It makes the child feel embarrassed, the coach feels like they aren’t doing a good enough job and it puts added pressure on everyone.  Gymnastics skills and form come when the child’s body is ready.  Muscles have to be built, stamina has to be gained, and confidence has to be earned.  These take time.  We promise to do our very best in coaching your child.  Your child will respond better knowing that you love them no matter how they perform.  Always let us know if we can do more though, just tell us after class on the side.

These policies come to us from USA Gymnastics.  They are in place to help ensure quality and safety along with the right emotional support from everyone.  We want the best for your child, so help us make everyone’s experience better.