Category Archives: psychology

12 Tips About Discipline for Coaches

  There is a difference between discipline and punishment. Discipline is about fixing and learning from your mistakes.  It is corrective and instructional, focused on the child’s long-term well-being. Its goal is to teach what behavior is and is not acceptable. Punishment is about paying for those mistakes. Its goal is to inhibit a behavior […]

White Bears and Gymnasts’ Fears

On the count of three, don’t think of white bears. How did that work out for you? You thought of white bears, didn’t you? Don’t worry. It’s inevitable. The mere act of trying not to think of white bears causes you to think of them. And, if you are stressed out, tired or distracted, the […]

5 Affirmations for Gymnasts (that are actually effective!)

“Because I’m good enough, I’m smart enough, and, doggonit, people like me!” Here’s a confession: I think affirmations are kind of silly. Sure you can get yourself pumped up by repeating phrases about how great you are or how awesome you day is going to be. And maybe that will provide just enough activation energy to get you to […]

15 Ways to Motivate Your Athletes (Backed by Science)

“She’s just not motivated…” “He could be so good if he was just motivated…” “I can’t motivate her to work…” These are sentiments that I know many (if not all) coaches come up against at some point in their career: the unmotivated athlete. Too often, when a gymnast lacks motivation, the first solution the adults […]

13 Tips (plus a bonus one) for Coaching the Emotionally Volatile Athlete

Some kids are deeply emotional. It’s real. They feel the highs higher and lows lower. And some of those deeply emotional kids by nature or through practice have learned to process those big feelings internally and appropriately. But there are others for whom crying, sulking or withdrawing are the techniques of choice. At practice, these […]

What is Your Biggest Regret?

  In the middle of New York City, a black board was hung with the simple directive: WRITE YOUR BIGGEST REGRET People approached somewhat apprehensive but then began to pick up the chalk and jot down their thoughts.  Initially, the thoughts were as varied as those who were writing them.  Then, as the chalkboard became […]

Sticks and Stones May Break Gymnasts’ Bones…

It could be in said in what sounds like jest but feels like a stab: “I guess you want to repeat Level 4.” Or comment that sounds like its purpose is to motivate when it really is just an assumption of bad faith: “Maybe you could actually try next time.” Or maybe it is not […]

5 Simple Resolutions for Everyone: What Gymnasts, Coaches, Employers, Employees and Parents Can Do To Improve 2016

Resolutions. We think of them as grand experiments to change ourselves. Usually for the benefit of, well, ourselves. Sure, losing weight, getting organized, saving money or quitting bad habits are all worthy New Year’s resolutions. But turning the concept from serving ourselves to how we can better serve others might be an equally valid way […]

12 Things to Let Go Of Heading into 2016

  As we move into 2016, consider these dozen things to let go of that are no longer serving you: Let go of that voice in your head that tells you that you are not good enough, that you will never succeed or that you “suck.” Instead, remember that those voices are liars and remind […]

10 Choices You Make As a Gymnast That Will Serve You Well For the Rest of Your Life

You might think that some of the choices you make as a gymnast are pretty big ones. Choosing a gym club, which summer gym camp or even their optional floor music can feel like a monumental deal with everlasting consequences. And, these choices are significant. But there are other decisions that gymnasts learn to make […]