12 Powerful Things to Say to Your Gymnasts
“Straighten your legs.”
“Hit the board harder.”
“Point your toes.”
“Drive your heels.”
These are just a handful of things coaches say on a daily basis at the gym.
But what are the things that we can say to the kids we teach that have nothing to do with correcting their gymnastics?
Here are a dozen ideas:
- I’m glad to see you. Everyone likes to feel like they matter. Greeting your athletes warmly sets the right tone for practice.
- How are you today? More than just a throw away formality, asking how your athlete is feeling is important in gauging what intensity of a workout you can do that day.
- Thank you. Showing gratitude is both good modeling and makes athletes feel respected.
- I’m sorry. If you mess up it builds your credibility (not reduces it) when you show your accountability.
- I believe in you. Believing in your athletes and their ability to learn and improve is essential in teaching or coaching.
- I am here for you. Sometimes that is what our athletes need to know, that we are here from them when they don’t feel they can get through things alone.
- It’s okay, try again. Normalizing failure and asking the athlete to preserve in the face of it not only creates great gymnast, but resilient kids.
- All I am asking for is your best effort. While athletes may not be able to control the outcome, they can always control the effort they put forth.
- I need you to… When you really need an instruction to be followed, tell your athlete that in clear and simple terms.
- It’s just one workout (or meet)… Helping an athlete reframe a rough day at the gym or at a competition by reminding them that it is just a snapshot not the whole picture places a bad day in perspective.
- I care about you as a person more than as a gymnast. We all want to be cared about for who we are, not what we do.
- Nothing. Sometimes just listening is better than saying anything.
What else would you add to this list?