by Heidi Wiest
Coaching is very similar throughout any sport whether it be football, swimming, gymnastics, or even fitness coaching! In each and every case, coaches want to help others better themselves.
Coaching has been in my life for quite some time. I was coached in gymnastics for 13 years, then I became the gymnastics coach for 6 years and I’m still going! I am now a fitness coach. I have coached children from ages 3-18 and now adults and in many ways they similar. Here are some of the techniques I use:
Changing how you coach for different learning styles. This very important no matter the age group. As a coach, you try different ways to teach an exercise especially if a member is not understanding correctly.
The sandwich effect. The sandwich effect is how I like to give feedback whether one of my gymnasts just finished a routine or a member completed a movement. I normally like to say “good job” because hey they did it, they got through their full routine without injury or anything like that. And same with KDR members: they were able to do the movement and then I would say something for them to work on the next time they went through the workout.
For instance a floor routine should be exaggerated or toes need to be pointed or they did not sit back far enough in their squats. Then I would reiterate that hey again they did a great job or specifically say something they did great on!
Always be in a good mood! –Your mood is very contagious and if the coach is in a bad mood and chances are your gymnasts or members are not going to be in a good mood either so if I have a bad day and am going to coach just fake it till you make it! Honestly whenever I do that… I always end up in a much better mood coming out of the gym anyways!
Coaching children is very similar to coaching adults as we all still learn the same way as we did when we were little, just maybe sometimes a little less repetition is needed! I have been used to repeating myself much more than 5 times especially in the younger ages. Explaining movements is also very similar and I find it very important and helpful if I do the movement while I explain (which can be sometimes hard in gymnastics!) or I ask someone to demonstrate a movement while I explain. That way everyone can see the movement being done and there is also that verbal cueing.
A great coach is a great coach, no matter the age or subject.