Sunday, November 18, 2007

Back-spring gremlins???

So fear is a universally bad thing in gymnastics...right? Fear itself has proven quite useful throughout human history (and pre-history), as evidenced by the fact that we are still around. Fear prevents us from doing the really stupid things that would most likely get us killed- rational fear that is. There is also another type of fear, an irrational type that, in gymnastics, can be debilitating. It can be like a little gremlin in our heads that prevents us from doing what we know we can do. An example of this is the "beam back-spring gremlin" that sneaks into our heads when we try to do back-springs on beam. And it comes at the oddest of times- like when we know that we can already do a back-spring on beam. But, for those fearful of you out there (and here I'm talking about irrational fear (I'm certainly not advocating jumping off roofs)), you needn't fear- all is not lost. There are a few specific techniques that you can use to overcome irrational fear.

Firstly, the ideas is to concentrate on the process rather than on all of the possible outcomes. That means that you shouldn't worry about all the possible ways in which you can hurt yourself, rather, you should think about those things that your coach has been telling you. Take the back handspring on beam as an example. Rather than thinking about all the ways you can fall off, think about what you are going to see and feel as you go through the motion. Think about what your legs are supposed to be doing as you jump. Think about seeing the beam before your hands hit. Think about watching for your back foot coming back down to the beam. And lastly, think about the solid and sharp finishing position. Of course, unless you have super-human information processing power (the thing your brain does when you think), that might be too much to think about in such a short period of time. So, just pick one or two things (your coach will normally give you a cue as to what you ought to be thinking about) and concentrate on those.

The second thing you need to do is trust your coach. Your coach has been involved in the gymnastics thing for a tad bit longer than you, and therefore she (hopefully) has more information than you. As a result, she knows when you are ready to learn a new skill. She also knows when something is unsafe. All this just means that she is in a better position than you to assess whether or not your fear is rational or irrational. So, if you don't trust your coach, either get a new one or adjust your perspective. Because, without trust, you're not going to get very far.

The last critical ingredient is to believe in yourself. By and large, you are your own largest obstacle to achieving your potential in gymnastics. By staying positive and focused on your goals you can be an asset to your own progress, rather than an impediment. I am often leery in quoting the man (he was a bit of a bigot), but, as Henry Ford once said, "obstacles are those frightful things you see when you take your eyes off your goal."

So, to recap: 1) Process, not outcomes, 2) Trust your coach, and 3) Believe in yourself. Oh...and one last thing....please tell that back-spring gremlin to take a hike- he kinda creeps me out.

This is David Sykes, filling in for Becca- she said she didn't know what to write and threw the computer at kinda hurt...but I'll get over it...

Saturday, November 17, 2007

Elite Screening Results

Congrats to Laurel for making it to Elite Canada! She posted some of the highest scores among her competitors this weekend!

Friday, November 09, 2007

Positive Self-Talk

"I'm Scared"....."I Can't"...."What If"....."That's Scary!".... "Impossible!"...

Sound familiar?

In gymnastics it is vital to have a positive view on your training. When the gymnast starts to doubt that she can NOT do a skill or starts to imagine injuring herself- guess what- she possibly will! It's important to enforce positive attitudes through training and competition. Negative thoughts can lead to negative actions.Positive thoughts of course can lead to positive actions. This is why Salta has adopted the “You believe… You achieve…” attitude.
In training, if you focus on how a skill should be performed, chances are you will achieve the skill in a faster time frame than if you think of what could go wrong. Think of how much energy is perhaps wasted worrying about what could go wrong or letting a few tears slide. Or how about standing on the beam for 5 minutes trying to convince yourself that the beam perhaps will be right under you when you land? Sound familiar. Well, let’s try to see this in a different way….
When you approach that skill that you generally have a fear of, try telling yourself
"I will do this properly" or "If my coaches know I can do this by myself they have 100% confidence in me, so therefore I should have the same confidence in myself!", or even, "I can and I will".

So, test yourself. Instead of wasting time avoiding the skill, get up and just do it. Let us see what you can achieve in training tomorrow.

If you believe it, you WILL achieve it!

Coaches Clinic

For all Salta coaches interested we are having a coaches clinic on December 2nd, 2007. All coaches are encouraged to attend. We will be covering front tumbling (ie. front handspring, flyspring, front tuck, front layout's).. the list goes on. If you have any questions or drills that you can contribute, feel free to write them down and we can all discuss them as a group!
See you there!

Thursday, November 08, 2007

November 11th Training

Eva and Becca's group will be the only group training this sunday. For the rest of you, have a good Remembrance Day!

Sunday, November 04, 2007

And the Raffle Winner Is...

Congratulations go out to Ken & Peggy Lesmeister for winning the $1500.00 raffle! The 5 prizes of $100.00 went to:

Lisa Anctil
Lynne Carter
Kurtis Walter
Cindy Hopfauf
Bob Burgess

Remember, if anyone is having a hard time spending that cash, I am volunteering my services as a professional spender.

What's In Your Gym Bag?

Here is a list of things that should be in your gym bag. Having these items will prepare you for evey practice. If I have missed something please email me and I will add it!

1. Your leotard (or 2)
2. Grips and Wrist bands*
3. Socks
4. Sweat pants or stretchy pants
5. A t-shirt
6. Extra elastics and travel sized hairspray
7. Hair Clips
8. Chap Stick
9. A roll of hockey tape
10. Watered down apple juice or gatorade (replaces fluid and carbohydrates at the same time!)
11. Some simple carbohydrates to eat on break

Friday, November 02, 2007

Emailing news

If you would like to receive newletters and memos through email, please submit your address to me and I will start a list.

Thursday, November 01, 2007

Physical Testing

Throughout the season we will be regularly monitoring these 4 tests:

1. Rope Climb
2.Cast to Handstand
3. Standing Vertical Jump
4.Stalder Press To Handstand
5. Leg Lifts

These tests are considered to be correlated to performance in gymnastics. By improving in these physical components, it becomes easier to learn skills. Additionally, we are monitoring height as an injury prevention mechanism. As an athlete goes through a growth spurt, their long bones grow first and there is an 18 month lag with the muscular system....aka... it takes 18 months for the muscles to "catch up" to where the bones where. During that time, many athletes lose specific skill and it becomes unsafe to perform some of their more difficult elements (due to the fact that they are tall and relatively weaker).