The New Hardship Grants Ambassador – Beth Tweddle MBE

Helping ensure gymnastics remains open to all

Beth Tweddle

Beth Tweddle MBE was the sort of dedicated gymnast any club owner would have been proud to be associated with. In this sense, it came as no surprise when The British Gymnastics Foundation recently announced the three-time world champion would become an ambassador of their Hardship Grants programme.

Everyday Problems

It was deemed an excellent choice primarily because of her genuine belief that sport is for all. Unfortunately, however, this mantra is easier said than done for a great many people of all ages. Why? The answer to the question lies within two fundamental areas – namely, a personal crisis, or more often than not, financial hardship. You see, even at a basic level, participating in any sport can carry some unavoidable expense for which no-one is directly accountable.

Search for Talent

It’s crucial for coaches to match high-performance aspirations with athletes of the right nature to help those dreams come into being, according to professional gymnastics coach and consultant Nick Ruddock.

search for talent

 

Talent is in abundance, states Nick– you just need to search for it. He is often told that there’s no talent in a particular area, something he views as an excuse for not being proactive enough to seek it out. Talent doesn’t always walk through the gym doors, after all.

Far too many clubs rely on their existing membership base and the athletes that are in the recreational and pre-school performance. They concentrate on those populations when looking for high-performing talent potential. No doubt, such programmes do provide their fair share, but coaches and clubs shouldn’t miss the opportunity to search for talent within these programmes.

Updates to our Membership Software, October 2017

Improvements and Optimisation

Whilst you have been working hard to maintain your organisation run’s smoothly, we have been doing the same behind the scenes at Gymnastics Club Manager to add some new swanky features to our membership software (many of which were requested by you and we have delivered!) Here’s what we have added;

Mobile responsive member login pages

You asked for it – you got it!  The members’ online account is now mobile ‘responsive’, making navigation when accessed via a mobile phone more user-friendly.  Here’s how it looks:

Members detail page (this is where they keep their info up-to-date)

 

 

Tracy Whittaker-Smith Heading for Glory

New National Coach and the Challenges Ahead

Tracy Whittaker-Smith

 

October 2017 has delivered a double celebration for Tracy Whittaker-Smith. This most charismatic of coaches not only begins her new role as Head National Coach for Trampolining but also begins working with Britain’s recently announced World Championship Team.

The 52-year-old from Northampton has already helped turn her hometown academy into a beacon of excellence, highly regarded across the world. Now, her vast experience of 24 years will add some wisdom to the squad charged with landing more British medals in the months to come. Despite this, there’s much more to this inspirational lady than meets the eye.

Tracy is extremely well known on the elite trampoline circuit, having previously worked as the Great Britain National Support Coach which led to becoming Men and Women’s National Coach too. As a major part of our own World Class Programme, Tracy has already contributed a vast amount to the ongoing British success story as the Technical Consultant to British Gymnastics. It’s no secret how much the athletes enjoy working with her, and as a people person, her coaching style is admired by many people within the gymnastics circle.

“This appointment now enables her to really drive forward the ambitions of our trampoline programme towards Tokyo and then Paris 2024,” said British Gymnastics Performance Director, James Thomas. “Tracy has a fantastic working relationship with our gymnasts and is passionate about continuing to push on from the historic successes in Rio. Her experience within the sport at all levels means she has a great understanding of the challenges we face and the opportunities we have to make improvements. We are confident she will be a fantastic leader for trampoline gymnastics.” Let’s be honest, anyone who has coached at no less than four Olympic Games and a number of World and European Championships must command great respect from both athletes and fans alike.

Ever modest, however, Tracy is just happy to continue her involvement in the sport she loves so much. She told us: “Following the history-making achievements at the Rio Olympic Games, it is a great honour to be appointed as the Head National Coach and I relish the challenge to build upon this success in Tokyo and beyond. I look forward to working with the gymnasts, coaches, support team and everyone involved in the trampolining programme”.

The Northampton Trampoline Centre, Tracy’s great passion and a world-class facility (purpose-built for trampolining and used every day by the community and high-performance gymnasts) became the proud host of pre-Olympic training camps for Australian and Japanese gymnasts prior to the London Olympic Games in 2012. In fact, the British team has a great relationship with their Japanese counterparts because of this.

Having been named Outstanding Coach of The Year in 2014, it comes as no surprise to see how much her abilities are admired in the sport. Tracy was honoured for her work with the Great Britain Senior Ladies Trampoline Team, though she has an outstanding reputation in sport more generally.

Coaches, just like the athletes they help, can continue to improve with the knowledge acquired over many big events and competitions. Nothing can ever be guaranteed, but given this recent high profile appointment, it would seem success in Sofia is extremely likely. It’s another major step forward for a lady who fully deserves the plaudits coming her way. Tracy Whittaker-Smith is surely destined for further honours in the future and we wish her every success along with those she trains.

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Here at Pay Subs Online, just like the gymnasts Tracy trains, we wish you every success. Part of being successful will include the smooth administration of your club – something more easily said than done. In order to help you with this, we’ve compiled a document of Admin Tasks Which can be Done Quicker and Easier Online which you can download for free here.

Currency of Coaching

We’re all familiar with the business saying, ‘time is money’, but what is the equivalent for a coach – time is medals?

Currency of Coaching

When we talk about the currency of coaching, according to professional gymnastics coach and consultant Nick Ruddock, if time is money OR medals, how do coaches use theirs? Is the time they spend with their athletes valuable?

He uses the following business analogy; If you wanted to start up a business and you were lucky enough to have a full team of investors to support you, you’d have definite advantages over an individual who had little capital.

As a coach who has a talented athlete to train, you hold the advantage over a coach training someone less talented. But advantages do not always correlate with success – or winning, come to mention it.

Productivity – whether it’s business or coaching – will always trump activity. No matter how talented, an athlete and coach who train unproductively will not match the optimised training programme of an athlete who has a fervent work ethic – even if that athlete isn’t as talented.

Productive training is defined as making excellent use of time to get closer to your goals. Busy and productive are two different things – after all, a rocking chair keeps moving but makes no progress.

There is a straightforward formula – time + beneficial activity = progress.

Sounds commonsensical, yes? But what you will often see in practice is time + non-beneficial activity = stagnation.

When it comes to training, there are many things athletes can do in a session, but at any one time, there are only a few things an athlete SHOULD do if he or she is to improve their performance. The rest are time-filling activities – enjoyable perhaps, but fluffy rather than necessary.

When it comes to business, the best use of money is an investment that will create more wealth. When it comes to coaching, the best use of time is to invest in the kind of activities that increase the probability of an athlete increasing his or her long-term potential. This might mean sacrificing the ‘fun stuff’, the same way that a businessman or woman splashing out on a Porsche limits his or her potential for business growth by wasting money on something that doesn’t help with an end goal.

To be successful in business, you need to convert every pound to £10 – by either selling or reselling a product worth XX to make YY, or by placing the money in a long-term investment, such as property or stocks.

This is a long-term strategy – not as fun as the Porsche perhaps, but more conducive to success in the long run.

Teaching your athletes fundamental skills and movement isn’t much fun either – but it works. It’s your long-term investment strategy. If a coach can see beyond the boredom of repetitive, core competencies – this will pay off. Basic skills are a brilliant investment of time, and they prolong an athlete’s career, as well as increasing his or her chances of fulfilling their potential.

Think about it – would you say yes to £50,000 this week, instead of £100,000 in ten years’ time? Funnily enough, the human brain is set up for instant gratification, so statistics show that most people would take the £50k. The same applies to the choice of taking a holiday versus sticking money in a savings accounts. Patience is difficult when we are presented with something fun and exciting.

But while it might be more fun to teach exciting release and catches on bars to 11-year-olds, what about their handstand shapes or kip cast to handstands?

Think long-term.

What gets measured, gets mastered (as the saying goes). 

Your successful business person will know how every penny of their pound is spent – and what they intend to get from it. Having worked out the strategy they need to ensure their plan works. They keep a watchful eye on spending to make sure they stick to the budget and do not overspend on areas of their business that aren’t as important. They look at 10p spent on something unnecessary as costing the business £10 in another field.

As a coach, do you know how much time you’re spending on physical preparation of your athletes? Are they doing their vault drills and their routines? In addition to the actual time spent training, do you know what is being achieved in that time?

Most people check their online banking at least once a week to make sure their accounts are in the black and that they stay that way.

But what about those training programmes? Are they subjected to the same scrutiny? Time isn’t a renewable resource (unlike money), and it, therefore, needs to be taken far more seriously when it comes to coaching.

The collective sum of small amounts of daily time adds up to significance – what Nick terms the accumulation effect. It’s the same kind of thing as the saying, ‘Look after the pennies, and the pounds will take care of themselves’.

If every day, an athlete spends five minutes refining a handstand, this accumulates to about 20 hours of handstand work over a year (based on an athlete training five times a week). You read that right. Twenty hours! Accumulation is powerful.

Imagine increasing your physical preparation from 20 minutes a day to 40… That adds up another 80 hours a year. Coaches who value time spent on physical development have higher-performing athletes, and that is why.

Shave off the ‘fluffy’ time and prioritise critical activities. Scrutinise and deconstruct your programme so that you know every minute is being spent wisely. Remember, you don’t get time back.

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Nick Ruddock is a coach, consultant, clinician and speaker. He has been the junior national coach for British Gymnastics, and his GBR junior team made history in 2014 with the first-ever junior team medal at the European Championships. He formed Nick Ruddock Gymnastics in 2015 and has consulted for more than a dozen international gymnastics federations including Australia, Germany, Japan and Switzerland, and provided services to professional sports teams such as Manchester United and Manchester City Football Clubs. You can connect with Nick through his Facebook page or email him at nick@nickruddock.com

The Why of Gymnastics Coaching

'Why' – one of the most powerful words in the English language, according to professional gymnastics coach and consultant, Nick Ruddock.

The Why of Coaching

He has plenty of great advice about how to use the word correctly and efficiently when it comes to gymnastics coaching. Asking why can give you the answers to questions you think you don’t want the answer to – the reason it’s so powerful – but it’s also a confrontational, aggressive word. Something that isn’t useful in relation to coaching.

Nick runs through the occasions where ‘why’ is used poorly. If you’re a gymnastics coach and you use it when giving feedback or questioning one of your athletes, it can come across as particularly threatening.

Take questions such as ‘why are you bending your legs?’, or, worse, ‘why are you doing it like that?’. ‘Why aren’t you concentrating?’ is another poor example of its use.

You’ll want to know why it’s so threatening. Such blunt questions mean that anyone responding can immediately come across as argumentative. ‘Why are you doing it like that’ is something of a rhetorical question, and rhetorical questions do not belong in gymnastics coaching.

An exchange where a gymnastics coach asks, ‘Why are you bending your legs’ and the athlete replies, ‘Because I wasn’t tight enough on the springboard’ might lead to a confrontational situation where the coach thinks the athlete is answering back or regards him or herself as smarter than the coach.

There are better ways to phrase a question – ways that engage and empower the person, you coach. Instead of saying, ‘Why did you land on your back?’, ask instead ‘Any idea what made you fall on your back there?’

This is a much more encouraging question. Small tweaks to language help build the rapport between coach and athlete, helping you to get more from people. It also makes it more likely for the athlete to become independently aware of their mistakes, and understand the corrections needed.

Where can ‘Why?’ be used to good effect, however?

Children are avid fans of the question ‘Why?’ as anyone who’s ever had or looked after a toddler will agree. It’s part of the who, what, where, when, how philosophy we pick up at a young age – giving us the framework for asking questions and gaining an understanding of the world around us. It’s a strategy that works well going forward – if you want to succeed in anything in life, always ask lots of questions. The qualifier to that being, the better your question, the better the answer.

So, what counts as a good why question – especially when it comes to life and our path through it? These examples are ones that you should ask yourself regularly, no matter where you are.

  • Why do I deserve success?
  • Why do I coach people?
  • Why did my athletes not perform as well as usual today?
  • Why were my team so successful (or unsuccessful) this season?
  • Why is that coach repeatedly producing fantastic results?
  • Why am I not achieving my goals?
  • Why am I not making healthy food choices?
  • Why should an athlete want to work with me?

Another useful way to use the question ‘why?’ is to ask it repeatedly, as this will help you get to the root of the problem. How does this work? Take this example.

Why am I not making healthy food choices?

Because I can’t find time to shop and prepare my meals.

Why?

Because I’m so busy with training and doing other things.

Why?

Because the training takes up so much of my time and I need to relax.

Why?

I’m tired and lacking energy, so I put my feet up and watch television.

Doesn’t it sound to you as if more sleep is needed, and that by prioritising a healthy diet and food prep that you might give yourself energy?

As coaches, we need to think carefully about how we use the word ‘why’ and make sure we optimise this to get the responses and engagement we want.

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Nick Ruddock is a coach, consultant, clinician and speaker. He has been the junior national coach for British Gymnastics, and his GBR junior team made history in 2014 with the first-ever junior team medal at the European Championships. He formed Nick Ruddock Gymnastics in 2015 and has consulted for more than a dozen international gymnastics federations including Australia, Germany, Japan and Switzerland, and provided services to professional sports teams such as Manchester United and Manchester City Football Clubs. You can connect with Nick through his Facebook page.

 

World Championship Gymnastics

A quick round up on those who were the standout performers on Canadian soil...

World Gymnastics Championship

 

As this year’s World Gymnastics Championships come to a close in Montreal there are many Brits who performed well and won Medals on the other side of the pond.

Men from Team GB;

The returning Max Whitlock (Pommel-Horse) was one of the main talking points when he became the first British gymnast to retain a Gold medal on Saturday. It also leaves Whitlock as Team GB’s most decorated athlete on this stage, with six Gold medals.

Courtney Tulloch (Rings), was hoping to make GB Gymnastics history by winning a World Ring’s final – unfortunately, he could only manage an eighth-placed finish.

Eight months after snapping his ankle ligaments, Nile Wilson returned to the elite level of competition in Montreal. He may not have managed to reach the podium this time around, with a sixth-place finish, but his return alone will be enough to encourage the 21-year-old that there is definitely more to come.

Despite it being his first competitive outing, Wilson admitted to holding back in qualifiers, before going all out for it in the later rounds. It is a testament to his talent though that he still managed to finish the competition just over 1 point short of a podium finish, and the All-Round winner, China’s Xiao Routeng.

Women from Team GB;

Olympic, Floor Bronze medallist Amy Tinkler, looked in good form only seven weeks after having had surgery. But the 17-year-old was unable to maintain the form that saw her through the final, producing a low score. Overall, she ended 13th, which despite being worse than was expected from her qualifying score means that her world ranking has jumped ten places since 2015 (where she placed 23rd).

Another member of Team GB who made history was 19-year-old, Claudia Fragapane, who won the Bronze medal in the floor event. The four-time Commonwealth Gold winner is the first British woman to win an individual Gold medal since 2010.

There were some worrying moments for Fragapane, however, when she dropped marks for a few untidy landings. Luckily, she had the composure to get back on track and finish under half a point behind the winner.

16-year-olds Kinsella and Fenton both gave confident displays in their senior World Championships debuts. Alice Kinsella, 16, had earlier pulled out of the All-Around final after hurting her ankle in qualifying.

Looking further afield it has been confirmed the Birmingham Arena will host the British leg of the 2018 World Cup in March. The World Cup consists of four competitions with the United States and Germany also hosting legs before the finale in Japan.

It’s brilliant to see that a portion of the Gymnastics World Cup will be featured on our own shores, and with that in mind, it’s a brilliant time for our Gymnastics clubs across the country.

If you’ve got a Gymnastics club and are expecting some more members pre/during/post-British leg of the World Cup next year, make sure you have a look at the ways our Gymnastics Club Manager software can help you.

We can provide you with a much easier and quicker way to manage the admin side to your club leaving you with much more free time – and no hassle – even if you do have an expected rise in numbers. Furthermore, if your club is under 2,000 members, you can sign up for Gymnastics Club Manager for free!

All of those boring admin tasks will be a thing of the past. If you don’t believe us, you can trial the software now, all you need to do is get in contact.

If you are interested to find out more about how we can help your Gymnastics club, book a free consultation here, or get in touch by giving us a call on +44 (0)1892 771 276.

Gymnastics Coach – Talent Transfer

Transferring talent – it isn’t poaching talent, promises professional gymnastics coach and consultant Nick Ruddock.

Gymnastics Coach

 

Nick Ruddock, our resident International Gymnastics Coach, wants to strengthen the link between clubs and their coaches and offer solutions to coaches who need support and mentoring for athletes. Perhaps they feel themselves out of their depth. They have someone who is elite.

If you’re training someone and you don’t think you can give them what they need, should you transfer them to an environment where they will flourish? Yes.

Any true gymnastics coach who is athlete-centered will want to do everything they can to ensure the athlete reaches their full potential – even if that means they do it away from you. It’s still natural to worry about the repercussions on your career and how this makes you look as a coach.

As coaches, we have many opportunities, while this young athlete might only have one. This applies particularly to young gymnasts who have a very short window of opportunity to show their competence. This is a huge responsibility – coaches hold the keys to people’s futures.

That future might include medals – but it’s also about travel, teamwork, life experience, goals, self-belief, opportunity and much more. Can you as a coach justify not letting this happen?

Many things might run through a coach’s mind, preventing him or her from picking up the phone to a club that can offer more for an athlete.

What will the other parents/athletes think? I’d miss this person. How can I progress as a coach? What if my gymnast makes the national squad and I miss out on out being part of that?

Nick urges coaches to become better at collaborating between clubs and supporting one another. Athlete transitions should incentivise coaches with high-performance coach education support and mentoring programmes.

Take these two scenarios:

The current situation
Sarah coaches nine-year-old Millie. The child has won her first national level competition and shows tremendous potential for the future. She’s Sarah’s first national champion, but Sarah doesn’t have a track record of previous results at this level or above. She has no mentor, personal development plan or experiential learning to help her achieve better results in the future.

Sarah keeps trying, working hard to keep Millie at a high level for her age. In time, though, lack of preparation and poor habits exceed her potential. By the age of 11, Millie starts to plateau. Her performance declines. She doesn’t reach her performance potential.

Sarah hasn’t developed much as a coach either. The same will happen the next time an athlete of Millie’s calibre comes along. And the time after that. And the next time too.

A better solution?
Sarah recognises that Millie is an extraordinary gymnast. Sarah also has the self-awareness to know that as a gymnastics coach, she isn’t yet good enough to help Millie reach her potential. Following consultation with Millie’s parents, she contacts some of the high-performance clubs to ask if Millie can transfer there.

The new club has an education and mentorship programme, which incentivises Sarah to transfer Millie. Sarah gets regular ‘coaching’ from the gymnastics coaches in this club, she gets to watch her prodigy train (and helps too) and receives one to one mentoring designed to improve her own coaching skills.

The next time an athlete as good as Millie walks into Sarah’s club, she has the expertise and support to coach them competently.

Scenario two is the best of both worlds. It gives both coach and athlete a better shot of fulfilling their potential, as they are supported and coached by experienced people. It takes humility and vulnerability to admit that you aren’t the right gymnastics coach for an athlete, but both are essential qualities for the very best gymnastics coaches.

It will be forward-thinking clubs that will be the first to adopt such mentoring and coaching programmes. They will incentivise and provide support for club coaches who want to ‘up their game’ and do the best they can for the athletes they coach. Are there coaches out there who have the self-awareness and vulnerability to facilitate such a move?

As a club, you might think it would be easier to employ another coach who does have the experience to ensure an athlete can reach their potential on the home turf. A great solution – but only if the club has the money and there is a good enough coach who is nearby/can relocate. The organisation’s leadership and current coaches also need to be happy to accept a new gymnastics coach, who might well be ‘above’ them. Can the collective coaching ego take it? This isn’t really an easy solution at all.

An incentive programme, on the other hand, could have an incredible impact on the national and international results. And think what it would do to the lives of those athletes who get to achieve their real potential.

There IS an abundance of talent out there – the problem isn’t finding it, it’s nurturing it and ensuring it is in the right place.

Nick Ruddock is a coach, consultant, clinician and speaker. He has been the junior national coach for British Gymnastics, and his GBR junior team made history in 2014 with the first ever junior team medal at the European Championships. He formed Nick Ruddock Gymnastics in 2015 and has consulted for more than a dozen international gymnastics federations including Australia, Germany, Japan and Switzerland, and provided services to professional sports teams such as Manchester United and Manchester City Football Clubs. You can connect with Nick through his Facebook page or email him at nick@nickruddock.com

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Looking to improve your gymnastics club further? Visit here for a free trial of Gymnastics Club Manager. Troublesome admin will be a thing of the past, allowing you to spend more time coaching and less time worrying.

Dancing To Gymnastics Glory

Claudia Fragapane is strictly focussed

Strictly speaking, Claudia Fragapane can demonstrate quite a few eye-catching moves to rival the flexibility of the GymnasticsClubManager.com software.

But as we all know now, of course, this effervescent lady can also produce an impressive turn of foot on the dance floor. In doing so, she’s also proved dancing can seriously help improve gymnastic capabilities, and the whole television experience is making a difference to her own athletic preparations. She said “After Rio, being on Strictly helped me with different dancing techniques which is why I wanted to do the show. It was nice to have a bit of a break and have that time off and to do something different. I loved it and I do feel much fresher now having a bit of a rest. I think my past experiences and strictly have helped me feel less nervous, I don’t feel as much pressure as I know I can do my routines, I just need to perform.”

Claudia of course, came to prominence at the 2014 Commonwealth Games, becoming the first English woman to win four artistic gold medals since 1930. The 19-year-old from Bristol, also helped the British women’s gymnastics team win its first-ever team medal, a bronze, at the World Artistic Gymnastics Championships.

The athlete teamed up with A.J. Pritchard in the last series of Strictly, and can be very pleased with reaching the semi-finals before finishing in 4th place overall. Her performances kept the weekly audiences engrossed and did much to promote the sport. Aged 18 at the time, Fragapane was the second youngest celebrity ever to take part.

There’s little doubt the series itself is very competitive, something Claudia is well used to. But sometimes, taking a step or two back and doing something slightly different can really help freshen up the approach to training. It’s naturally easy to be slightly less committed having achieved a goal like Rio, but her dance journey has succeeded in creating a fresh drive as we all look to Tokyo. She explained: “At Europeans back in April, I was really happy with my performance overall. Qualification went well and then when it came to the floor final I stepped out of the area on my double Arabian, so I was a little bit disappointed because I could have medalled there and maybe even clinched gold.”

Claudia then decided to have a short holiday in Portugal simply to chill out and try and build herself back up. Floor fitness isn’t easy to attain, as it involves so much stamina work. She was working hard on her flexibility, and it was important to take a closer look at her floor routine. As the former baby of the British team, she’s picked up so much from the people around her adding: “We decided to change my tumbles around to make it harder for myself, which seems odd but I was just too bouncy! Therefore, we made my double Arabian the third tumble in my routine and the double straight the second.” Claudia recently took part in the World Cup Challenge held in Paris, being reasonably happy with her overall performance.

The whole team then moved on to the Lilleshall National Sports Centre for a full week’s training ahead of leaving for Canada. She said: “It’s great to have the camps before we go, as we get that team bond and we do miss each other when we are away. We are always texting each other to see what everyone is up to. For the worlds, we have been putting a lot of work into not just doing the routines but doing them well. I know I can do them but I want to get good execution too.”

In terms of both her gymnastics exploits and those memorable routines on the dance-floor, it would have to be a 10 from Len.

 

The Self-Fulfilling Prophecy

What is a self-fulfilling prophecy and how does it affect coaching?

Professional gymnastics coach and consultant Nick Ruddock has plenty of experience of self-fulfilling prophecies and their limitations. If you tell someone something often enough, they might just end up believing it. True.

As someone who regularly travels the UK and the world teaching, coaching and consulting, coaches often introduce athletes to Nick in a certain way – ‘This is Ella, she’s nine years old, and she has the worst legs in the world’. Or, ‘This is Caitlin, and she’s the one I told you about who can’t jump’. Another alternative might be ‘Meet Sarah, she doesn’t like to straighten her legs at all’.

URGH. Talk about naming athletes by their poorer qualities. And what the heck are such statements doing to their self-belief and esteem?

How often must a coach repeat such statements – the ‘worst legs’, the ‘can’t jump’ – until the gymnast or athlete starts to believe it’s true? I have the worst legs in the world. I can’t jump. I can’t straighten my legs. What might also happen is that the gymnast or athlete will choose to become powerless to those weaker qualities, and develop a mindset that is fixed – instead of a growth mindset.

Is there anything at all to be gained from a nine-year-old believing that her legs aren’t designed to jump? (Clue – it’s the opposite of ‘yes’.)

When you coach, you will be aware of everyone’s weaknesses. But as a coach, it is your job to frame them properly in the mindset of your young athletes. This isn’t just about sporting performance. It covers life skills too.

Nick’s up front that he’s been guilty of this in the past too. Years ago, he’d worked with a fantastic athlete – a very talented girl, who did everything else at a snail’s pace. She went to the bathroom, moved between apparatus, fetched her equipment and read her programmes super slowly.

He took to calling her ‘Sloth’ – and now wonders if that made her even slower and if she carried that belief into her adult life.

It’s incredibly easy to influence young athletes, and coaches play a crucial role in forming their unconscious and conscious thought patterns and beliefs. These will become embedded in their behaviours and habits as they go through life. The mind hears much more than we think – and it stores all that information for later use.

You should use this opportunity to reflect on the ‘stories’ you have told your athletes. And what have you heard about yourself that has defined your current thoughts, behaviours and habits?

A good place to start is to make sure you introduce your athletes by focusing on their better qualities such as hard work. Let’s take nine-year-old Ella. Next time, present her this way:

“Meet Ella – she’s working on her superhuman legs that will one day let her do a Yurchenko double twist.”

Can you imagine how magically that will work on her self-esteem and beliefs?

One final point… We want to make sure you can devote as much time as possible to your athletes, and not waste time on activities such as club administration. If you use GymnasticsClubManager, for instance, this membership software tool will do all the hard work for you, saving you time, increasing membership numbers and engagement. Why not contact us today on help@paysubsonline.com or book a demo to find out more?

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Nick Ruddock contributed to historic medal winning performances on the international stage throughout his four-year term with British Gymnastics as National Coach. A former personal coach to Amy Tinkler; European, World and Olympic Medallist, Nick has been mentored by some of the world’s most experienced and accomplished coaches throughout several influential countries.

Nick has lectured as a Technical Expert for the UEG (Union of European Gymnastics) for 7 years, and has consulted for over a dozen international gymnastics federations and a variety of performance sports, with a mission of optimizing athlete and coach performance for the world stage.

For more information on Nick’s services, including online courses, conferences, events and coaching programmes, visit www.nickruddock.com