Gymnastics is a sport of creating; creating form, flexibility, strength, skills, confidence, discipline, sportsmanship and most importantly healthy, happy and determined young people. As a coach, I want to inspire and help shape the athletes that I coach, once the athlete has left the sport of gymnastics whether it is at age 10, 18 or 26 I want those athletes moving onto the next phase of their lives with morals, values and a skill set that not many other young people will have had developed at such a young age. I want to create leaders, people who are not afraid to set themselves apart, take risks and motivate those around them. You see this in the gym everyday, every team has that group of young athletes that separate themselves from the rest of the group. These athletes step forward to become the leader, the ones that the others look to for advice, for leadership and what to do when no one else knows.
As a young gymnast myself, I was always looking to the older girls for inspiration, advice, how to practice, persevere and compete. Once, I became one of the older ones in the gym it then became my responsibility to carry the torch in a sense and step into a leadership role. As young children and teenagers we do not fully realize the impact of our actions until we are a bit older. It is very rare for young people to have this skill set at such a young age, to become role models, leaders, teachers, and to help form the pathway for someone else, let alone for their peers. This is what gymnastics teaches us, to live, learn and inspire well beyond our years.
Every time I step into a new gym or onto a competition floor to do a filming, I can certainly tell who the leader or leaders of the teams are by the way they carry themselves and how they interact with their teammates and coaches. As a coach it is always fulfilling to know that you have helped shape these young people well beyond strength, flexibility and skills. To look out across the gym and see your athletes taking charge and responsibility not only for themselves, but for each other is something truly special.
This is what is so special about not only gymnastics, but sports in general, it gives kids the opportunity to think for themselves, to strategize, work together and take responsibility for themselves and others around them. Watching the older girls in the gym helping the younger girls with whatever they need is awe inspiring. I really pride myself on creating an environment where the kids can do it themselves, take charge of their practice time when it is necessary.
By creating such strong leaders through the sport of gymnastics, I am confident as a coach that I can leave my girls for a minute during practice or in a meet and they will know exactly what to do and who to look to for what is next. My hope is that all of these kids take these traits with them once they leave the sport of gymnastics. When they move on to college and beyond, I want to know that the sport of gymnastics helped create strong, functional adults who are not afraid to step up and become a leader in any situation.
We Want to here from YOU!
As a coach what do you look for in a group or team leader? I know many teams around the Region have team captains, how do you decide these individuals? (Comment Below)
As an athlete/team member what do you look for in a team captain/leader? How do your team captains/leaders help motivate you and keep you on track? (Comment Below)