This is the part of the year that I can't wait to get back into meet season. Some time around March I am going to be hating gymnastics and just want to stay home and sleep in my own bed. But right now I want the world to see all the hard work my coaches', athlete's, and I have put in this summer. In a few weeks region 4 (Missouri, Iowa, Wisconsin, Minnesota, Nebraska, and North and South Dakota) will be coming together at our annual training camp. There are two camps each year to help clubs from the north and south have a camp closer to home. This year Al Fong will be opening up his gym and hosting the rest of our region. I am really excited to go this year and see his gym and maybe learn something from him or another coach there. I am always trying to learn and there are going to be some great coaches and athletes there.
Things in the gym seem to be going in the right direction. Athletes are starting to put routines together, we are starting to get injured athletes back on their feet. I feel like we are getting better and better at getting athletes ready to compete. It has taken years to get to this point and I am starting to feel like I am starting to get some real momentum and I am feeling confident. I need to always try to keep my feet on the ground and not think that I am too good. Obviously I am not. I have no national champions and even a lot of the great coaches I see out there that I have don't appear to be "too good". Most of the guys, gals, I look up to in the coaching world are more that willing to help a young coach out. I don't know if I count any more as a young coach since I have been around for over a decade now. But if you know the right questions to ask, most of the time people want to tell you how they got to where they are. The hard part is knowing how to take what they say and use it to improve yourself and your athletes.
I have had plenty of coaches throughout my life ask me how I coach one skill or another. Then after taking sometimes hours to teach these people they go right back to what they did before they asked me.There is that and I feel that a lot of coaches have no imagination. I know I was stuck in a rut last year. I was so happy to just have kids competing routines that they hit 90% of the time I didn't notice that they all had the same freakin routines.Most of the time though I am trying to think of how I can be different. I don't want to be strange different, I want to be wow different. There are plenty of skills in the code that are goofy, like fly aways from the low bar to the high bar. Yeah I have only seen that once but no matter what it looks like shit. The hardest event to be inventive is vault. There just aren't that many high level vaults out there and there are even fewer of the "easy" high level vaults. Last year I would hear vault judges often complaining about the lack of variety on vault and they would give higher scores to vaults not often seen. In my opinion these vault weren't actually any better they just don't see them often enough to pick them apart like they do the normal vaults.
This year I think I have done a better job of mixing it up a bit. All the kids have just about the same level of skills and number. But each one has maybe one skill that is going to make them different than the rest. Also I am doing my best to come up with different sequences or changing up the order of the skills to keep everything fresh. Over the next few years I hope to keep adding to my portfolio of skills for my athletes to compete and being able to get those skills ready in time for season and while the athlete is still young enough.
Well there is still some work to do but everything is fast approaching and I can't wait!