The Australian Gymnastics Coach and Competition


Who chooses to become a gymnastics coach? Why? Does the coach want the athletes under her, or his, supervision to be the best that they possibly can be?

The Australian Gymnastics Coach and Competition - The YMCA Geelong arena gymnastics club.
The YMCA Geelong arena gymnastics club.

Such a coach will take the initiative to ensure personal ongoing education, to be familiar with what is happening in other countries. Relying solely on the workshops provided by the governing body will not be enough to give the coach the knowledge to produce high performance gymnasts.

Is the coach trying to live personal dreams through a young gymnast’s achievements? Or the opposite, trying to assert how much better than the young gymnast he or she is? Either way, this is more about the coach’s ego than the gymnast.

Or does the coach subscribe to the ‘everyone’s a winner’ philosophy? All this does is ensure everyone is a loser. In the words of W.S.Gilbert, of Gilbert & Sullivan: “When everyone is somebody, then no one’s anybody.” (The Gondoliers)

The motivation for doing something has the greatest impact on the success or failure of the outcome.

Selecting a Gymnastics Coach

In Australia, many parents enrol their children in a gymnastics program because of a gymnastic club’s reputation. Yet a club is made up of people. Which of these people is delivering the kind of outcome the parent’s desire?

The parents may want a social network for their children which delivers a basic level of physical fitness. In this case an easy going club philosophy, where coaches have a basic level of knowledge to ensure physical safety, will serve the purpose. However, when a young gymnast wants to improve skills in order to achieve more personally, this kind of situation will be incredibly frustrating.

The gymnasts who want to be the best they possibly can be will have to seek out a coach who can help them achieve this.

The Coach and Competition

Competition, by definition, is about winning and losing. In gymnastics, as in all sporting competitions, it is about who has the best performance on the day. Yet for an elite athlete the driving force for achievement is to be better than the last time she or he did the activity. The competition is with oneself.

This is true for all gymnasts when they mount the apparatus in a competition. Anything that happens from that point on is entirely up to the gymnast. Any decision, any mistake or recovery is at the gymnast’s initiative.

A good, competent coach will have ensured a good preparation for the event, both physically and mentally. He or she will be on standby to assist if a skill is likely to fall short and risk injury to the gymnast. Once the performance on the apparatus is completed, both gymnast and coach look to the scoreboard. This is the time when the competition with other athletes becomes significant.

A personal best is always worth celebrating. When it is better than all the other competitors, that is the icing on the cake.