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A gymnastics coach trains a gymnastics team or gymnast. A person with this title is often responsible for assessing the gymnasts in his charge and discovering their strengths and weaknesses. He may then use this assessment to figure out how the athletes can further develop their skills as well as to choose events that allow them to demonstrate their talents, challenge themselves, and move closer to their full potential. A gymnastics coach has the job of motivating and encouraging the gymnasts for which he is responsible while also providing feedback and constructive criticism.
One of the jobs a gymnastics coach typically has is helping the gymnasts in his charge work on various types of gymnastics movements and exercises. For example, a coach may lead gymnasts through exercises that help them build their strength and improve their conditioning. These exercises may not only help ensure their ability to perform well as gymnasts, but may also help them avoid injuries. A gymnastics coach may also lead the gymnasts through a variety of moves they may perform at events and exhibitions, helping them hone their skills and further develop their ability.
A gymnastics coach may also seek out and select events at which his gymnasts will perform and compete. When doing so, he typically takes into account the demands of their current schedules in order to avoid overtaxing them. This is important, as breaks between events may help gymnasts to be at their best and avoid injuries and poor performance caused by fatigue. Additionally, he may try to balance events that are relatively easy for the gymnasts with those that present more of a challenge.
Often, a gymnastics coach also videotapes performances. He may then review the tapes, along with the gymnasts, in order to provide constructive criticism and feedback. These reviews may help the athletes to pinpoint issues and become better gymnasts. A gymnastics coach may sometimes tape practices for this purpose as well.
A person may prepare to become a gymnastics coach by gaining experience in the field. For example, he may start out as a gymnast himself and go on to become a coach. Some people, however, start out by assisting with various types of gymnastics training classes or becoming assistants to head coaches. There are also special training programs a person may take to prepare to become a coach or instructor. An individual may even seek certification as a coach, which may involve paying a fee and passing an exam.
A good gymnastics coach should always be primarily concerned about student safety. When I see gymnastics teams that have spectacular leotards and do all these difficult routines, but do them in an unsafe way, I worry about the students' safety.
I'm afraid there are a lot of coaches out there who, to satisfy stage moms, are giving students routines they're not ready for. I would always want to check on the number of serious injuries in a particular gym before allowing my child to take classes there. Too many injuries may mean the coach is pushing too hard. It's a matter of their long-term health!
Any good gymnastics coach should also make it his or her business to know the students and to be able to spot problems like anorexia before they take root.
Good coaches bring in nutritionists to talk to students about the importance of healthy eating as well as the dangers of anorexia. The nutritionist can also sit down with students and help them develop a healthy, individualized eating plan to keep them strong without putting on extra weight.
A coach looks for opportunities to counsel with students also, and may even hire a staff counselor to help students with self-esteem issues and the stress of doing competitive gymnastics.
In short, a gymnastics coach should concern him or herself with the students' mental and emotional fitness, as well as physical fitness.
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