Athletes, Cheerleading and Tumbling, Learning the Basics, Preparation, Skill Development, Tumbling

Tumbling: “Learning the Basics”

It is very exciting to watch athletes perform and achieve great feats of athleticism that leads to victory and success. Especially for young athletes who have a dream to reach the same status. This is what drives young athletes to pursue a path for future growth – and this path is a long one!! For young, aspiring athletes to achieve success and reach the goals they dream about, they must learn from the beginning. Learning the Basics is one of the most important factors in the pursuit of success.

It is normal for an athlete to want and learn the more exciting and difficult skills early in a career. In sports, such as gymnastics and cheerleading, many students want to learn how to “flip” or perform other similar skills. Although these skills are exciting, there carries a huge risk factor that many, including coaches, do not recognize.

The Purpose of Basics

Learning the basics of tumbling skills is imparative for positive progression and safety. It is certainly a building block process. Like so many other actions in life – for example: learning to crawl before walking; learning to add and subtract before algebra, etc. If these prerequisites are not a part of the training process, failure is almost certain. Students must learn to roll (forward and backward) before learning to flip; they must learn a great cartwheel before learning an aerial, etc.

When we see students struggling with accomplishing particular skills, it may be a lack in having accomplished fundamental basics. Learning to achieve tumbling skills entails strength, flexibility, agility, and mental awareness of body in motion. All of these factors take time to achieve. Learning fundamental elements will give students the tools necessary to accomplish the more advanced and complex skills.

Tumbling skills are complex and it takes repetition and time to achieve the desired result. If the process is rushed and the student is not fully prepared – physically and emotionally, the risk factor highly increases. When injuries occur while performing tumbling skills, much of the cause may be due to the lack of preparation. For example, when a student fails on attempting a back handspring, in many cases, the student is not prepared to attempt the skill. Another common problem is the combo pass of the “round-off, back handspring”. It is common that this pass results in a failed back handspring. In many cases, it is not the back handspring that is the problem. It may be the Hurdle and/or Round-off that is poorly executed. In this event, the student will not be in a position to perform the back handspring successfully.

Results of Basic Element Training

Learning and achieving basic elements in tumbling skills will allow the athlete to progress in a positive and safe manner. In addition, it will help the athlete in obtaining the confidence needed to perform skills as they progress. In addition, this process will highly reduce the chances of a “Mental Block” (the-mental-block-nightmare). Once this occurs in an athlete, it is very difficult and timely to overcome.

Even the most successful athletes will often resort back to basic element training as part of their training regiment. As mentioned before, basic elements are the building blocks for advanced skill training. We see this in almost every sport. The stronger the foundation, the stronger and more productive the outcome.

Don’t skip steps in skill development!! Seek out true professionals who have the knowledge in training skills with the correct technique and progressions. This will greatly increase the potential in advancement and success.

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Scott Johnson
1984 Olympic Champion
1988 Olympic Team Captain

My Beginner Tumbling Training Guide is published 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: http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B0847D3VQC

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These neoprene wrist supports are the best for gymnasts and cheerleaders experiencing wrist pain. The neoprene provides support and warmth to the joint to help relieve pain discomfort.

This is the best syle of leotards for recreational gymnastics. Get yours today!!

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Athletes, Don't Give Up, Dreams, Mental Training, Motivation, Success

Achieving Success Has Many Challenges: Don’t Give Up!!

Have you ever experienced a situation where every effort has been made to accomplish something and it just doesn’t happen? Whether it be regarding yourself or a student your working with? This can be a very frustrating experience. So what should be done? Should the person simply give up? This should be the very last option to consider. If a person has a goal to accomplish- Do Not Give Up!!

When I was a competitive athlete, I had many goals that were important for me to accomplish if I was to make my dream come true and make the Olympic Team. As all athletes know, there are always obstacles to overcome in the pursuit of success. Many of these obstacles can be severe which may create huge swings in attitude and motivation.

These obstacles can come from anywhere and at anytime. One example may be an injury. Some injuries are serious enough that it may take months to recover. The most severe may actually end a career. However, the majority of injuries can be overcome and an athlete could rehab back to a normal and healthy status. However, it may take a lot of time and aggressive rehab to recover. This certainly is not easy. The serious athlete will not give up and do what is necessary to overcome this type of obstacle.

Another challenge many athletes have relates to progress in skill development. As skills become more advanced, athletes must spend more time in development. It may take months and in some cases years to develop particular skills. In many cases, athletes that struggle learning a particular skill may become frustrated and develop feelings of giving up on it. For skills that are required, this scenario may be the cause of an end to the career.

This is the main reason why we see such a drop in participation in the sport of gymnastics and other sports as the levels get higher. Skill development not only intensifies as skills become more difficult, but the emotional effects can be extreme. Many athletes struggle with the mental toughness needed to overcome fear factors involved with the higher level skills. There are many gymnasts who may struggle with learning and accomplishing the back walkover on the balance beam – to name just one example. However, through proper and progressive skill development through drill training, these fear factors may be overcome.

When an athlete is struggling with skill development or experiencing a sense of disappointment or failure, it is the position of the coaches, parents, and peers to help lift the person out of that train of thought. This is a common experience and effects most every athlete. It could be related to burn-out or some other factor as mentioned above. Regardless of the reason, every effort should be made to re-motivate the athlete so they can proceed to achieve their goals.

Scott Johnson – 1984 Olympic Gold Medalist

We, as coaches, will hear the words “I want to quit” or “I give up”. I have had these feeling several times throughout my career. If it wasn’t for the support of my coaches and peers, I may have done just that. However, I was able to overcome these emotions which allowed me to achieve the dreams and goals I had from early childhood. We need to support the attitude: Don’t Give Up!! It is amazing how this simple approach can motivate an athlete. This is how champions are created.

Scott Johnson

f you are interested in a personal training session or consultation with me, we can Skype a lesson. Private message me or email me at: scottjohnsongymnastics@gmail.com

My new Beginner Tumbling Training Guide is published 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: http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B0847D3VQC

I recommend these wrist supports for pain relief and discomfort due to aggressive training. The neoprene material provides warmth and support with the obstruction of a buckle or thumb hole. It really works!!

The best leotards for recreational gymnastics!!

Athletes, Dreams, Motivation, Sports, Success

The Path to Olympic Success: What Was My Motivation?

All aspiring athletes have goals they want to achieve. And to achieve those goals, the athlete must be very motivated. How an athlete gains that motivation is a personal experience. So what motivated me to achieve my goals and become a National and Olympic champion? There were many things, as with all successful athletes, and it can come from anywhere.

For me personally, there were many things that motivated me throughout my life. Here, I will share some of those moments and factors that steered me toward success in sports. This is the first post of a series I would like to share.

The Beginning: For as long as I can remember from my childhood, I always had a desire to be the best. I was very competitive in everything I did and I wanted to win – always!! I think I was just made to be that way. As a child (and still as an adult:), I was very small. I was the smallest kid in school, even through High School. I was often made fun of and it gave me a complex. Maybe this was one reason I had the desire to be great one day.

I was certainly a very hyper-active child and sports was a great release. I loved most all sports and began playing competitively at an early age. Baseball was my first experience. I don’t remember much about it and think I only played one season. I was also on a swimming team. Although I learned to swim well, I actually did not love this experience. I remember it being an outdoor pool, and growing up in Ohio, the water was freezing. I used to hide during practice so I didn’t have to get in. This certainly wasn’t the sport for me!!

My favorite sport? It was football!! I loved the game and still do. It was active, exciting, and aggressive – all the things I loved. I played on a pee-wee league team when I was in the 4th grade – and I was good too!! It was full tackle football and my position was safety. I was fast and wasn’t afraid to tackle, or get hit. One problem – I was tiny!! My father had to glue 2″ thick pads in my helmet so it would fit my tiny head ( no one can say I had a big head:).

This idea of wanting to win was my motivation. At an early age, I wasn’t quite sure what I wanted to become, I just knew I wanted to be successful. Then, on one day, I discovered Gymnastics!!

It became obvious from the start that I had a natural ability for this sport. This is such an important factor when one is trying to decide what they want to become. First, one must have a strong desire for something. Secondly, having some type of natural ability is certainly favorable for success. I had both and it was the beginning of a great adventure.

The next post in this series will focus on the things that motivated me on my early start to gymnastics success. Stay tuned…

Scott Johnson – 1984 Olympic Gold Medalist

If you are interested in a personal training session or consultation with me, we can Skype a lesson. Private message me or email me at: scottjohnsongymnastics@gmail.com

My new Beginner Tumbling Training Guide is published 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: http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B0847D3VQC

The best wrist supports for those suffering from pain while tumbling training. This neoprene style is non-obstructive and comfortable

For recreational gymnastics, this is the best leotard for your little one.

Athletes, Confidence, Mental Block, Safety, Skill Development, Uncategorized

The Mental Block Nightmare

There are times in an athletes career where they may experience a Mental Block that prevents them from moving forward in a positive direction. No matter what the sport may be, Mental Blocks can occur without notice or incident. In most cases, however, the block is due to a negative experience that occurred in the athletes life. When these blocks occur, it can be very difficult to overcome. So, can Mental Blocks be prevented? The answer is “Yes”!! How? through Prevention!!

Gymnastics and tumbling skills entail very complex body movements that require consistent training to achieve. As the skills become more difficult so does the time it takes to achieve them. In addition, the risk factors begin to come into play. This is the most common reason that Mental Blocks occur. Students often become “scared” when they are introduced to new skills, especially if there is a higher risk factor.

If a student is introduced to new skills through consistent drill training, it will create a better understanding of the skill in a non-threatening way. In addition, and most important, the student should have mastered all prerequisite skills before being introduced to more difficult skills. For example, we would not introduce a student to a back handspring before they learn a bridge kick-over and back limber. These prerequisite skills teach the student the feeling of flipping backwards.

Many times, the Mental Block is created when a student experiences an accident while training skills. This can happen to even the most experienced athletes. Accidents happen, but many can be prevented through proper training practices. Spotting is a critical method in preventing accidents and helping the athlete gain confidence in skill training https://scottjohnsonsgymexperience.com/2018/04/10/the-art-of-spotting/ . If a student is forced or attempts to perform a skill they are not completely ready for (both physically /or emotionally), an accident is much more likely to occur.

Following a progressive training program can certainly reduce the risks of mental blocks. Having a strong foundation of basic elements is important for the athlete to progress comfortably to more difficult skills. In addition, training should remain as consistent as possible. If a student takes an extended break from training, they may develop some apprehension in getting their skills back. Especially if the student has had an aggressive growth spurt while taking that break. As the body grows, everything changes: height, weight, center of gravity, all of which are important factors in skill development.

If a student gets a mental block on a particular skill, it is important for the coaches to be patient and work towards eliminating the block. One way is to reteach the skill from the beginning. Using drills and spotting helps the athlete to regain their confidence. What should not be done is to force the student to attempt performing the skill. This will most likely intensify the block. I have seen many athletes quit the sport due to blocks that couldn’t be overcome. This doesn’t have to be the case.

Mental Blocks are common and they certainly interrupt growth in an athlete. We need to do our best to “prevent” the blocks from happening. If the proper training progressions are followed, it will highly reduce the probability of a block from occuring.

My new Beginner Tumbling Training Guide is published 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: http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B0847D3VQC

In addition, if you would like a personal training session or consultation with me, we can Skype a lesson. Email me at: scottjohnsongymnastics@gmail.com

Athletes, Mobility, Parent, Preparation, Skill Development, Transition

Should Your Student or Child be Promoted?

In every youth sports program, there comes a time when the coaches need to make the decision of when to move a child up to the next level. This can be a very sensitive issue in many cases and a decision which can make or break a students’ confidence and morale. Not only does this decision effect the student, it has an important effect on the parent as well. There are many factors to consider when deciding to move a child to the next level.

Many programs have strict requirements which need to be met in order to qualify for mobility. This may be a scoring requirement or a skill requirement. In these cases, it is clearly identified when a student can qualify for mobility and no argument can be made. However, in other cases, mobility is a grey area and many programs use only discretion when considering to move a student up. In this scenario, it could cause conflict.

For many competitive team programs, mobility can only happen at the end or beginning of a season. Once an athlete is placed on a team, their position may require them to fulfill the entire season for the success of the team. In some sports that are considered more individualized, an athlete may be moved up if they meet the programs requirements.

The dynamics are similar in recreational programs as well, but the decision to move a student to the next level has a varied effect on the total program. Since there is not a competitive edge to this environment, the decision to move a child up is based primarily on availability and skill requirement.

Parents and students need to understand that it is to their benefit to excel at their current level before any mobility occurs. Coaches do not want to place a student in an environment where they will struggle and possibly be intimidated. There is a risk factor as well since the skills become more advanced. This is usually not a positive environment when a student is placed in a group where the students are much more advanced. It is always good to challenge an athlete but not to extremes where intimidation occurs.

However, It can be very frustrating for a student and parent when they are “held back” for reasons that only benefit the program. It is a common practice for some programs to hold back students for the benefit of creating a successful team environment. Although holding back students who have clearly met the skill requirements to move up, will certainly make the team stronger and more competitive.

So, is this a bad thing? Much depends on the program itself and how the dynamics work within the program. Some programs have such a large team program that there may be no spots available for new students to join. Mobility may not occur as quickly in these circumstances. In some cases, however, a student is held back for the sole purpose of a program wanting to win.

In these cases, the student will not be able to fulfill their own goals and ultimate potential. When a student is held back and not permitted to experience higher levels of sport, they are not able to exercise their growth in development. One result of this scenario may be the student becoming bored with their training environment and losing all motivation. https://scottjohnsonsgymexperience.com/2018/04/17/the-motivating-factor/ This may result in the student quitting the sport altogether or moving to another gym in hopes of getting placed in a higher level.

It can be a difficult situation for the coaching staff when discussing mobility to higher levels to the parents. Especially for those students who see teammates move up when they cannot follow. Parents need to understand that coaches are experienced and will make decisions that best benefit the student and the program. I have always believed that a student should be promoted if their skill level meets the requirements of the next level. Serious athletes want to progress, so let’s help them.

Scott Johnson – Olympic Champion

I am in the process of publishing my first training manual: “Beginner Tumbling Training” .  This will be a useful tool in training for all and any needing to learn proper technique and safety. Great for gymnastics, cheerleading, dance, martial arts, and more. I will keep you posted on that progress.

In addition, if you would like a personal training session or consultation with me, we can Skype a lesson. Private message me or email me at: scottjohnsongymnastics@gmail.com