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

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Improve Weaknesses, Skill Development, Success, Training

Improving Your Weaknesses

Achieving success is not an easy task, at least for most of us. For the athlete to achieve success, it may take many years of hard work and dedication. If the goal is to become competitive and achieve success at the highest levels of competition, like the Olympic Games, the time it takes may be much longer. However, even at the elementary stages of participation, success is accomplished by focusing on one major factor: Improving Your Weaknesses.

Most successful athletes have some type of natural talent which allows them to progress quickly. However, although some parts of the sport may come easy, there are other parts of the sport that may be very challenging.

For many sports that entail several or many different physical attributes to accomplish, this is a common scenario.  For example, the sport of gymnastics has different apparatus which requires totally different physical attributes to achieve.  Tumbling, for example, has no physical relation to pommel horse in men’s gymnastics.  The same may apply to bars vs beam in women’s gymnastics or hip hop vs ballet in the  dance industry. Athlete’s may be strong in one aspect or event of the sport, but is challenged by others.

For an athlete to excel in all parts of the sport, it is imperative that a major focus should be on training and improving the weaknesses. Although this may not be as fun as working your strengths, it is necessary to achieve success. In my own personal experience with competitive gymnastics, my strengths were tumbling and the rings. Skill development was easier and more comfortable to achieve. However, my challenges were the pommel horse and high bar.

Early in my competitive career, I realized that in order to achieve my dreams and goals, I needed to excel in these challenging events. I would spend almost twice as much time training on my weak events than my stronger events. The philosophy I developed is that one must maintain their strengths and improve their weaknesses. This certainly worked for me as I was able to achieve the goals I had set and become successful in the sport.

Each athlete and coach should find the perfect training schedule designed for each athlete that maximizes their potential. There needs to be a balance within the training environment where the athlete can continue to be motivated and enjoy their experience. https://scottjohnsonsgymexperience.com/2018/05/04/setting-goals-the-path-to-success/ Please note, focusing only on weak and challenging areas can quickly create negative emotions within the athlete. This can certainly effect a person’s motivation and cause consistent frustration. The result will be a decrease in effort and could cause the athlete to quit the sport.

I always stress that training environments need to be positive. Even in challenging area’s, the training atmosphere should maintain a positive experience. It’s not easy to become a champion. It takes a lot of hard work and consistent motivation. Maintain Your Strengths and Improve Your Weaknesses.

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


Athletes, Communication, Parent, Sports, Stress, Success

Parent and Coach Influence on an Athlete's Success: To Push or Not Push

Happy child athletes

It is always great to see parents involved with their children’s activities. Not only do the children (younger children) love it when their parents watch and support their activities, many depend on it. However, there may come a time in an athlete’s development when the parent should take a step back and allow their child to develop more freely.

One challenge the parent may have in the development of their child’s sports activity, is not understanding the true emotional desires or feelings of the child. There are many cases where the child may not have the desire to participate in the activity. It is important that parents attempt to introduce several different activities, throughout the early years, to allow the child to determine what they like best.

As an athlete becomes more serious and involved with their sport, training will become more consistent and serious. They will learn many things that are important and pertinent to that sport which will allow them to grow both physically and emotionally. They will learn the specifics of every aspect of the sport – things that the parent may not be aware of or have knowledge of since they are not actively involved with the day to day training atmosphere.

There are many aspects of development in an athlete’s pursuit to succeed. The physical aspect is only one part of development. The emotional aspect is another part of development and can be considered the most important and sensitive. As an athlete grows in their sport and begins to participate in competitions, the emotional aspect intensifies. For many athletes, the competitive arena can be a scary one and it may take time for the athlete to understand how to deal with and control the stress in those environments.

parent with child athlete

I have many conversations with parents regarding their child’s development. One of the most common question and concern is the issue of ” to push or not to push”. This issue is different for every athlete but most common for athletes in early development. The parent should be able to recognize if their child is serious about the sport or activity and this will help guide whether to push the athlete for greater achievement.

I truly believe that a person will only be successful at something they love and desire. This comes from the heart, which is internal motivation The Motivation Factor. Athletes that have this type of attitude will usually have the motivation to push themselves without much outside influence. Throughout an athlete’s career, there will be ups and downs – there will be success and failure. There will be injuries and burn-out. All of which are factors that can influence an athletes drive to succeed. Patience is important to allow the athlete to work through all challenges. Achievement is a process that takes time, experience, and consistency.

woman stressed

When an athlete is pushed hard to train for success, it may result in the athlete having a negative attitude. Especially if there has been a series of failures. This could result in continued failure and eventually and end to a career. As an athlete grows in their sport and reaches higher levels of competition, pushing the athlete can be beneficial. All great athletes need a good push periodically. It is the younger, more inexperienced athlete that may be more sensitive to being “pushed” to succeed.

However, not pushing your athlete may result in a lack of motivation or cause a lack of interest. Younger students do not understand the process of commitment and sacrifice, so they must be guided through the process. It can be a sensitive issue and one that must be properly determined by the parent.

parents cheering runners

I believe that athletes should be pushed and encouraged in their pursuit of success. But how hard to push and when to push is the issue. Every child is different and what may be beneficial to one may not work for another. The parents and coaches need to recognize this in their children and students in order to positively affect the pursuit of their goals. We want the best for all children. Some will become Champions, and many will not, but every one of them are Stars!!

I am in the process of developing manuals and videos on tumbling skill development that will be useful in training. 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

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Athletes, Coaching, Communication, Evaluation, Skill Development, Training

Problem Solver vs Text Book Instruction

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It is great and rewarding to be a coach and know that I can have a positive impact on a person’s life. I had a passion for the sport of gymnastics as a competitor and now the same passion as a gymnastics and tumbling coach. Where does this passion come from? I honestly believe it is due to the challenges of succeeding in this sport – and I have always thrived on accomplishing challenges.

Learning new skills was always a thrill and even more so when they are accomplished successfully. Now, as a coach, I understand what the athletes go through as they work through their training sessions. I also get the same thrill when I see the excitement of my students when they accomplish their skills successfully.

coach spotting dancer    When introducing and training skills, there are typically a series of progressions and drills that are useful in skill development. However, the challenge for the athlete and coach is finding the proper methods for fixing problems and/or bad habits the student has created.

Problem solving for skills gone bad is not a text book fix. Since every athlete is different in so many ways, what may work to help one student may not work for another student. Many times, the coach may need to try many methods to find what works best for the specific element needing fixed.

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Fixing bad habits not only takes physical effort but it is a psychological game as well. You may have heard that great coaches are great psychologists as well (Confidence and the Mental Block). This is certainly true!! Especially in sports like gymnastics, tumbling, and cheer that carries with them a high degree of difficulty and risk.

When I get a new student, who has not learned proper technique in their skills, it can be frustrating for the student to focus and work on elements they do not think is important. Some students respond well to this change,especially if they see quick results, but others do not adjust well to this new focus.

For example, if a student enrolls specifically for the purpose of learning a back handspring, but do not have a strong foundation to build upon, it is imperative the student learn and accomplish the prerequisites first. This may include bridge kick-overs, handstands, round-off, etc.

It is this scenario that reinforces the fact that the student and parent become educated on how these skills are developed and learned (Coaching the Parents). Not only for the skill to be learned with good technique but more importantly, safely!!

It takes a lot of time and consistency to develop new skills and the same goes for fixing bad habits on already developed skills. If the student is serious about their development, then a strong effort to fix their problems will be taken. One-on-one lessons (private lessons) is a great way to isolate and train only on the problem areas. These lessons will certainly shorten the time it takes to fix the habit(s). Most importantly, however, for bad habits to be fixed, the coach needs to have the knowledge and experience in all issues of skill development and technique to find the best method of training for each individual.

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I am in the process of developing videos on skill development that will be useful in training. I will keep you posted on that progress. In addition, if you would like a personal training session with me, we can Skype a lesson. Private message me or email me at: scottjohnsongymnastics@gmail.com

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Athletes, Benefits, Competition, Evaluation, Lifestyle, Preparation, Sports, Success

Choices A Parent Should Consider for Their Child's Development: Sports: Choosing the Right Path for Your Child

youth baseball player

Which direction should I go in?

How do I get there?

Am I making the right decision?

So many choices
So many influences
Mixed messages from coaches and friends

These are just a few of the questions that many parents and students ask themselves in the pursuit of success in a sports career. The truth is, there is no clear path to anyone’s success. A major question to consider is, what is the objective? Where is the motivation coming from? This is key in determining which path to take. Is it coming from the parent or is it coming from the child? This is an important factor in determining the strength of the motivation (The Motivation Factor).

The age of an athlete is very important in determining which direction to go in. For example, a student at the age of 5, 6, or 7 years old typically will not have the maturity or understanding to know how to make these types of decisions. For children of this age, it is important that they experience as many activities as possible, so they can determine what they like best. This may take several years to determine. It is not uncommon for a child to have a passion for one activity and in several month’s make a change to participate in a different activity. This can be frustrating for the parent if they are trying to persuade their child to pick one solid destination.

multi sports youth         I often tell parents that are clients in my own program that it is important that their children experience different activities, so they can experience as much as possible while they are young. We have many students in our program attend classes periodically throughout the year because they are involved in different sports activities which conflict with our schedule. I believe this is a positive way to approach where the children are going with their lives.

As a child gets older, these decisions become more defined. They begin to figure out who they are, and in many cases, determine what their likes and dislikes are. The preteen ages, especially for the boys, is a great time to start figuring out which direction they may want to go into. For girls, this decision may come earlier as girls tend to mature at a much earlier age.

baseball player hurt

Another factor to consider is the burnout and injury factor associated with students starting a sport at an early stage in life. Sports can be aggressive and physically demanding. If you are involved with sports, you are going to have injuries. It comes with the territory (Injuries: Prevention and Repair). The body, with all its complex physical anatomy, can only take so much wear and tear. The earlier the student begins to participate in sports the earlier the body begins to experience the impact of physical demands. At the higher levels of sport, the greater the impact of stress on the body (.

I often tell parents when they are considering whether their child should pursue a competitive atmosphere, I let them know that the earlier the children get started, the earlier their career may end. It is important not to rush this decision and I personally believe that starting a child in the competitive atmosphere at the age of 6 or earlier is not necessary for them to reach success. Not only is the competitive atmosphere physically demanding but it is also emotionally demanding.  Most young children do not understand how to cope with this demand.

vollyball girl serious look

Okay, so the goal has been set and the child has determined what direction they want to go in. Now the decision needs to be made on what it’s going to take to achieve that goal (Setting Goals: The Path to Success). There are so many factors that go into play here. Is the sport offered by the school, or is it a club scenario? If the program is offered by the local school system, the child can participate with much lower costs and easy accessibility. However, if the program is a club system, the costs could potentially be much higher and accessibility more difficult.

In addition, the club programs may offer a higher level of coaching and instruction. These programs, in most cases, are for-profit organizations which make it more appealing for high level coaches. However, if your child is not at a particularly high level of sport, the club program could wait until the level of sport requires this type of training. Much like the High School football and basketball player who excels in their sport. These athletes may get the opportunity to progress at a higher level with a successful collegiate program.

A life in sports can be a great life.  It can be very rewarding and teach lessons that can be applied in all aspects of life.  Many successful athletes have become successful in their professional lives as well.  Sports teaches discipline, focus, and an understanding of hard work to achieve goals.  Whether a sports career ends with great success or not, the experience is enough to make all participants Champions.

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