The Educator

 

When I think about my role as a gymnastics coach, many thoughts and images come to mind. When people I meet for the first time ask me what I do and I tell them I’m a gymnastics coach, they ask me to tell them all about it and have many questions. I tend to give a brief outline, similar to what is written on my CV , simply because I could talk about my role as a coach all day!

 

My main role as a gymnastics coach is to teach them the core skills of the sport. Being children, they ask many questions. I do my best to answer them but I try to refrain from answering opinion questions, as I don’t feel it is my place to do so. In saying that, I do like to teach them new things outside of gymnastics but I always keep it gymnastics-related as there do need to be some lines drawn between the relationship of a gymnast and coach.  I don’t feel it is my place to tell the children what to eat and what to not eat. It is up to their parents to decide whether they are allowed to eat sweets and drink fizzy drinks, although we do not encourage it in the gym (also because of the sticky mess of clearing up a spilt drink that is anything but water!).  Part of my role as a coach is having the responsibility to educate the children I teach about their bodies. Luckily, this is fusing two of my passions in life; my gymnastics hobby and part of my college education, Anatomy & Physiology. It is extremely important that children are educated as to why they need to look after and respect their bodies. We only have one body and we should do our best to look after it.

 

 I make a point of teaching my gymnasts about posture, why they should look after themselves and how to do it.  I recently taught my 7 – 9 year olds about posture. They had already been told about standing up tall and keeping their shoulders back and head up on the beam but I wanted to give them a little more information. We had great fun with it, looking at pictures of different postures good and bad. I realised that they understood what I was hoping to get across to them as they began to call a “Lordotic” posture (arched lower back with buttocks sticking out) “Bendy Back” and a “Kyphotic” posture (curved upper back, forward head) “Banana Back”. They have even started to correct me if I slouch!

 


 

I promised my gymnasts that I would make them their own “Conditioning and Stretching” book. Since they are young and do not train as often as girls in other clubs that they would normally compete against, they still need to do some additional conditioning at home. This way with pictures and easy to follow instructions, they have no excuses for not doing their extra work at home! It had various stretching and conditioning moves, I also included a small bit at the back about posture. Their parents told me that they were delighted that I had given them this and said that they had even learnt a little bit themselves!

 

Every so often they ask questions such as “Why when I do this does this bit of my arm move” – as in when they have their arm extended and bent at the elbow and they move their clenched fist, why does their bicep move. In these cases, I give a  very simple explanation about their muscles, sometimes it goes over their head, sometimes it doesn’t .  I just hope that any information that they do retain, how ever small it is, that they benefit from it.   

One Comment

  1. Gym coach says:

    i think it’s great that you care so much about the gymnasts and that you seem to use all of your knowledge to help them! I agree that everyone should be educated about posture – it’s so important

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