The World of Gymnastics Coaching: Lovers, Haters, Critics and Fans – Part 1

gymnastics coaching

One of the great things about our world is that no two people see things the same; we all view the world through a different lens, one which has developed through our own life experiences, opinions and circumstances.

If we all viewed the world the same, life would surely be much duller. After all, where would we find the room for creativity, flair or uniqueness?

We’d be little more than mindless automatons, with nothing to differentiate our lives, loves or passions.

Obviously, differing views mean debate often becomes inevitable, including disagreement and maybe even conflict. And, alongside different opinions, comes different values.

What is important to you could be less important to me. What you may love, I may hate.

Where there is passion, conflict can often be found – a sign that people care perhaps, which can only be a good thing …

Consider for a moment, the reality TV competition Masterchef. I often find it comical that even among their ‘expert’ panel of food critics and restaurateurs, feedback ranges from ‘world class’ to ‘I can’t even finish it it’s that bad.’

This is funny because they all taste the same dish, yet some hate it, whilst others love it. Fancy that!

It begs the question, how can the average restaurant hope to get rave reviews from critics if even top food critics can’t decide.

Thinking about gymnastics in this context, what hope is there for your gymnasts to meet the expectations of the entire world with their routines and performances?

There isn’t, and you shouldn’t try either.

The only thing that matters is the judge’s score, and even in gymnastics, there is a little room for subjectivity in that. It’s simply impossible to please EVERYBODY.

Do you think Ricky Gervais is concerned if the audience doesn’t enjoy his stage show? Absolutely not. He’s more interested in the segment of the market that does.

I’m not worried about people who don’t enjoy reading my posts, attending my events or clinics, or watching my videos. If they are not my target audience, they are not my concern.

I work for a community which loves my content and gets great value from it. Anyone else doesn’t matter. But when they are ready or willing to engage in it, the door is wide open, come on in.

Subjectivity and opinion in life is welcome, but problems arise when this becomes direct criticism or hate towards gymnasts and coaches who take an alternative path or vision, one which doesn’t align with their thoughts and views of the world.

This doesn’t just apply to gymnastics coaching of course, it applies to all aspects of our lives.

FEAR

We’re not born with fear, but it doesn’t take long for it to become ingrained in our daily thoughts and habits. By the time we’re teenagers, we become subject to a host of newly found fears, and the associated mental disruption and anxiety. These fears can increase further into adulthood.

Watch children play for a few minutes and witness an untainted mind in action. Young children believe they can conquer the world (and one day they might too!), they are not limited by beliefs, fears or destructive thought patterns.  

Adults are nothing more than deteriorated children, tainted by a combination of fear, society and the suppression of others’ opinions …

Does she like me?

What did he say about me?

What if this happens?

What will they say?

Did they see me fall over?

Did they like my routine?

What are they saying about my athletes?

Why are they laughing at me?

What if I fail?

What happens if he is successful?

What if she beats me?

Fear is probably our most common emotion, and certainly a great suppressor. As with other emotions, fear isn’t based on fact, but on fictional stories, circumstances and worries created in our heads.

To be clear, fear is FICTIONAL, not FACTUAL. It creates a host of limiting beliefs that either stops us from pursuing our dreams OR influence the way we see the world.

Leonni (my much, much better half) and I booked a holiday to Turkey last year, which coincided with the coup that was taking place back in July. I lost count of all the people that tried to instil fear into our minds, giving us a whole host of reasons why we shouldn’t, couldn’t, mustn’t go.

We went. We also had one of the best holidays we’ve been on.

I’ve recently returned from my third trip to Tel Aviv. It’s a beautiful place, I love taking a stroll along the beach at 6am to get my head together and to do some of my daily rituals. I could be forgiven for thinking I was in Miami, but rarely is Miami the picture painted by those who try to instil fear into me for visiting the Middle East.

Fear is fictional, not factual.

None of us is perfect. We’re all flawed in many ways. We all have demons, ‘skeletons in our closets,’ emotional baggage we’d rather forget, moments we are ashamed of and times we wish could be erased from history forever.

Whether gymnastics coaching related or not. I certainly have many.

Everybody has a story and has faced some form of adversity (some on a far greater level than others in comparison.) I’m frequently reminded of the importance of not judging people, especially after discovering the difficulties they have faced and by understanding more about why people are they way they are.

All coaches and gymnasts have bad days, bad seasons even, but it shouldn’t and doesn’t have to define somebody and become who they are.

The 10-year-old gymnast that just failed her grade may be being brought up by a single mum, struggling to support her, get her to her classes on time and look after the rest of her family. Her life is a country mile from high performance, yet she’s there everyday ready to train and commit to her cause and goals. That’s impressive, even if her level of performance isn’t.

Then there’s the 12-year old that just fell 5 times in competition, she recently lost her mother to illness but has shown immense strength by continuing to train and compete, albeit at a diluted level.

All too often we are quick to judge and criticise. This reminds me of the iceberg principle: the snapshot we see of a gymnast in training, competition or on the television, is a mere drop in the ocean of what they commit to (the tip of the iceberg). But we are oblivious to the conditions or circumstances that they are training in (the remaining part of the iceberg, which accounts for around 90% of it, and that is never seen.)

It’s human nature. At any one time, we’re only acting in the best way we know how. I don’t know anybody who is intentionally reckless or destructive to their own lives or performance. Mistakes come often through an error in judgement, simply because we didn’t know any better.

Can you think of any one coach who wouldn’t provide a better service, better level of support, or coach to a higher standard if they knew how?

Criticism of others is often a bi-product of insecurity, which is a by-product of fear, and all of this creates one thing …HATERS

Part 2 of this post will be published soon…

Please note: I reserve the right to delete comments that are offensive or off-topic.

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