There are many articles, videos, pics and more that are designed to help athletes in skill development. The “how to’s” are posted everywhere on social media and other publications. These methods of training can be effective and is useful for many. However, what is needed more in training that is difficult to publish and define, is fixing the problem areas that athletes are challenged with.
The objective of the coach is to train the athlete in all areas of skill development. This starts with training each student from the ground up, so they can develop a strong foundation of basic elements to build upon. We see, in many cases, athletes who have missed learning the basics which results in many challenges in developing more advanced elements. Without a strong foundation of basic elements, the student will have challenges learning more advanced skills.
A common problem we see in many gyms is that there may be several members of the coaching staff that do not have the experience and knowledge to teach skills with proper technique or fix a problem area that a student is struggling with. We see this most in recreational programs where competitive gymnastics is not the major focus of the program. However, many of the students who participate in these types of programs may have a desire to move up in the sport and try a competitive program. When this occurs, the student will have challenges if they have not learned the proper basics with good technique.
I have seen many video clips posted to social media networks where coaches are requesting help in fixing a technical issue a student may be having. I have seen clips of round-offs, back handsprings, front handsprings, and many more in tumbling. There are also many clips requesting help for skills on the bars and balance beams. These video clips are a great tool to assist the coach in fixing problem areas.
I have found that on-line training is becoming more and more popular. I have begun doing lessons via Skype and they have been extremely successful. However, it does have limitations. Although Skyping a training session is beneficial in helping with teaching proper technique, it will never be as good as the “hands-on” approach. Especially if the student needs spotting to help improve the skill.
One of the biggest issues I have seen with posting video for corrective comments on group posts, is that the recipient may receive many comments from many different coaches. Although it is great that so many are responding and attempting to assist with the problem, it can be somewhat overwhelming for the coach posting the video. For example, if there are 30 responding comments on how to fix the problem, there may be 20 comments that have different views on how to fix the problem (i.e.: “too many chefs in the kitchen”).
Another concern is that many coaches have different opinions on how skills should be learned. It’s not that different opinions are wrong, but what may work for one athlete may not work for another athlete (The Technique Controversy). It is good to have several opinions to work with, but not to get overloaded.
An alternative to consider when looking for help with teaching or correcting a skill is to post and send to only a select few that you may have collaborated with previously or know has the knowledge you are seeking. There are many experts out there that can be of great assistance. Much depends on the skill you are needing help with. Is it a tumbling skill? Or a bars or beam skill? You may even want to ask for referrals.
The ultimate fix is for the coaches to become knowledgeable in the skills they are teaching. For those programs that are lacking in this knowledge, it is beneficial to participate in local clinics and seminars. If these are difficult to locate or not available in your area, you may consider bringing in a professional to run a coach’s clinic at your facility or program.
When coaches have the proper knowledge of skill development, not only will their athletes be more productive and successful, the entire program will benefit and be successful.
I hope this article is helpful for those seeking training information. I will soon be releasing a series of manuals and video’s that will be beneficial for many. These will include skill development, safety and spotting, program development, training atmospheres, and many more subjects to enhance the development of coaches and athletes.
If you have concerns or need assistance with your training program, do not hesitate to contact me. If you would like an on-line training session via Skype, please contact me for scheduling.