Athletes, Coaching, Motivation, Program Development, Success, Training

The Perfect Training Environment

There are many factors that are important and must take place for an athlete to succeed. Not only must an athlete have a burning desire to succeed, but also all supporting people involved, ie. parents, coaches, etc. I have always believed that a person must love what they are doing in order to be successful. Creating the Perfect Training Environment is essential to ensure the athlete remains motivated as they pursue their goals.

Since every athlete is different and their own style of self-motivating, creating a great training environment for everyone in the gym may be tricky. Not every athlete responds the same to a particular coaching style or training schedule. What may work positively for one athlete may not work for another.

All coaches experience students who may be very motivated and have a lot of determination, but unfortunately, some will struggle with learning even the most basic elements. Every person is built differently both physically and mentally.

Many sports dictate what type of person is made to succeed in that sport. For example, to excel as a basketball player, the person will usually need to be tall; to excel in gymnastics, the person usually will be smaller and lighter. There are always exceptions to this dynamic but true in most cases. Thus, genetics play a major role in how successful one may be at sports.

The objective of the coach is to train their athletes to improve their abilities and performance level. For many coaches, and programs, this objective becomes extreme. It becomes an objective to not just improve the athlete but to create champions.

But what about the athlete who doesn’t have what it takes to succeed in the sport? Are they tossed aside – forgotten, humiliated? This diversity in athlete motivation creates the challenges coaches may have in creating the perfect training environment – one that benefits all.

There are many different coaching styles and all have there successes. Some athletes are motivated through extreme pushing by their coaches, some are motivated through incentives, and many are motivated through positive reinforcement. One method I do not agree with and, one that can have long lasting negative effects, is motivating through fear and negative consequences.

Although there are coaches who create great athletes with this type of training, most do not respond well. I have heard many stories where retired athletes have bouts with depression or other health issues that stem from their training experiences. Structure and a results-driven training environment is important, but it can be done in a positive and constructive manner.

When teaching classes, whether it is a recreational program or a competitive program, the coach needs to consistently communicate with their athletes. It is important to motivate them to put forth a good effort and perform at a strong level. I have always believed that positive feedback and reinforcement creates a stronger desire to perform at a better or higher level. Criticism needs to be constant but in a positive manner.

We want every child to have a great experience with their participation. It is important that children have hopes and dreams and set high goals for themselves. We should always support and encourage this attitude. It’s not all about winning or losing or becoming a champion. It is participation that is important to recognize. Every student should be regarded special and treated like a champion!

Scott Johnson
1984 Olympic Gold Medalist 1988 Olympic Team Captain

My Beginner Tumbling Training Guide is available and ready for all to use. This is a great training aid for any and all programs who offer tumbling training. If you would like to order your copy, follow this link:

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