Challenging Behaviour 1

Challenging behaviour and it’s effect/ my response as a coach.

father and son conflict

Today I was on the receiving end of challenging behaviour. It was the individuals way of telling me they didn’t feel comfortable with the situation they were in. Because it was a behaviour and as a direct response of something I asked that person to do it left me questioning myself. As a coach I always try to be the best I can be and when it seems I fall short of that standard for whatever reason I start to doubt myself; did I ask too much of them? Did I move a skill forward before they were ready? Was my support of that skill incompetent, therefore leaving that person feeling unsafe? Is progressing a skill what that individual needs or wants?!

I think sometimes as coaches we can sometimes lose sight of a participants reason for taking part and allow ourselves to make decisions for them. Are we doing things for the right reasons? Have we become so preoccupied with the big picture or long term goal that we’ve lost sight of the individual and what they want.

Thanks a blog is so full of questions I guess it does show exactly where I am in the thought process here- I’ve not yet made my mind up about the scenario today and I think it needs a) further thought from me but also b) another perspective. I’m going to speak to the participants old coach and find out how they used this progression and see if they can shine some light on the matter and help me to feel better and more confident about what I do going forward. My personal goal is to prevent any further behaviours as to me this is a clear indication by the individual that we’ve not quite met their needs at the time. If the reason for that turns out to be me failing at the support, then I’ll have to rethink whether I should be doing that progression. If I picked the wrong day/ time to use the progression then I think I need to get to know the participant better and pay more attention to them and less attention to what progress I want to see out of a session. Ultimately the #lessonlearned here is that it’s really important as coaches that we always have the individuals needs front and centre of our mind and place them ahead of our own and ahead of any of our goals. I don’t think there’s ever a time when the goal for the individual comes before their present needs.

There was another situation that occurred recently that I felt bad about and have already vowed to change, and that is when another coach and I became too involved in a discussion for our own benefit during a session; so much so that the client we were working with received very little feedback or engagement from either of us. That wasn’t fair on them, so I’ve already made a mental note to stay client focussed and always ensure that the client’s needs come first.
I hope this is at least food for thought, and relatable to other aspects of coaching and life despite perhaps not offering much of a solution! If you have any suggestions let me know in the comments below! In the meantime…

Keep bouncing! ~Bella


Leotard Suppliers

Last updated: March 2017
For anything and everything you need to know about leotards, companies and some stuff you didn’t think you needed to know. I hope this will soon become the best resource for locating leotards out there!

I don’t know about you but one of the most exciting aspects of our sport (probably more so for the girls than the boys) is the fact that we all wear leotards. Leotard (window) shopping is one of my favourite pastimes and so every time I come across a new website selling leotards or a new supplier, naturally I’m on it browsing for the prettiest leotards and latest leotards trends (TrendTip: Netting is so in this season, and so is aqua blue-green colouring!)

I thought I’d help us all out by collecting up all those wonderful links to the websites and Facebook pages etc. Of suppliers, starting with some of the big most common big brands/ suppliers and including some of the smaller single-man (or woman) companies that are producing beautiful well-made leotards.

If I’ve missed one off the list, let me know and I’ll be sure to add it!


Possibly a new favourite of mine, Aspire have some great designs and an excellent care label for their leotards! Created in 2012, Aspire researched what gymnasts want from a leotard, the fabrics, manufactured technology and quality and I certainly agree! They also have the cheapest recreational leotard I’ve ever seen, as well as reductions on some trendy designs making these guys affordable for everyone.


The custom kings of leotards, A star specialise in custom fabric and design combinations at reasonable prices. Based in Devon these guys are proud to be 100% British.

BK’s Gymnastics Wear

They don’t have a swanky expensive website that walks, talks and flies but they do have a selection of lovely girly leotards and some cutting edge designs. They also have the opportunity to model for them so go check that out!

Gees Active

With leotards for practice and competition wear, this company supply attire for gymnastics, dance, ice skating and more. Could this mean they are a jack of all trade but a master of none? I don’t think so, but the verdict’s out, have you bought or owned one of these leotards? Let me know how you would rate them in the comments below.

Elite Gymwear- GK & Christian Moreau

Well known American brand GK are a popular leotard for their comfortable fabrics and fit. Cut a bit wider in the body these leotards are great for training and performance wear.
Elite are also supplies of Christian Moreau leotards and have a range of beautiful designs for girls and some cutting edge leotards for boys. These American apparel leotards both come with a matching price tag; though many can be found for a bargain in sales or second hand and make long lasting leotards.
The UK supplier for GK, Adidas and Christian Moreau is below.

Milano image

Probably one of the most well known leotard brands out there, Milano has been producing leotards for any years. They were also the headline sponsor for Great Britain and the Home Nations supplying the iconic ‘Britannia’ back design that we’ve seen in many of the 2015/16 designs.


A relative newcomer to the stage, Quattro have just announced they are the new leotard supplier for Team GB. With comfort and cutting edge fabric and designs their ethos these guys are a definitely one not to miss!

Shape Gymwear

A brand new boutique leotard company hailing from Cardiff, Wales this is an exciting newcomer. Aimee is hand making leotards for considerably less than the big retailers and many of the designs on Shape’s Facebook shop are custom yet affordable.

Stretchy Saturdays

Billed for recreational use, Stretchy Saturdays have a large number of brightly coloured short sleeved leotards idea for any gymnastics class.

The Zone

Often seen as the more affordable option for leotards, The Zone have over the years branched out to using more creative fabrics and designs. For recreational leotards on a sensible budget, this is the place to go.

Happy shopping everyone! Hopefully this’ll help you find exactly what you’re looking for! ~Bella


So those of you that follow my new Twitter account, (Hint Hint!) will already be aware that yesterday brought a difficult choice to make between coaching and training myself. I’m at the age now where there are loads of kids coming through better than me (well, currently the same as me, but they’re nearly half my age…) So I often debate with myself whether now is the time to give up doing Trampoline myself and start focussing on my coaching. Certainly if I gave one up I’d have a lot more time to focus on the other! But I always said I’d carry on until I stopped learning stuff/ progressing…

In hindsight, I don’t know if that was a realistic goalpost, because technically you can never stop improving if you work at it, so maybe I just wasn’t ready to stop when I said that. Although there is this one kid, Claire we’ll call her: she and I were training together last week, and I know she has potential and natural ability by the bucket load. It was abundantly clear when the two of us were working on the same drills and skills. What she grasped fairly quickly with control and awareness, I was still only just grasping with some control and very little awareness. I shouldn’t compare but, it’s tough to literally watch someone overtake you. Don’t get me wrong, I don’t begrudge her that at all, she’s a talented kid and I love watching her work at this kind of thing and celebrate the moment when it all ‘clicks’, it just begs the question whether I’d have just as much fun coaching as I do training. I might even find it more rewarding. Or maybe I’d just miss it and regret the sacrifice.

That brings me back to my sacrifice. I made one today when I decided to switch the leotard for the coaching Tee. It’s a great opportunity to work with kids that I don’t often work with, and a fantastic opportunity to develop as a coach in a different environment. I’ve been itching to work more with kids that are already somersaulting, ’cause I actually enjoy teaching line-outs and improving technique beyond a basic front and back somersault. There’s also the added bonus that as a newer/ less regular coach to them, I’m a bit of a novelty at the moment and they’re behaving like sponges, really trying to impress.

So today, it’s a sacrifice I’m willing to make, and I’ll catch up on my own training later on in the week. What sacrifices do you make in life? Do you regret them, or relish the new opportunities that come with that? I’d love to hear from you, so feel free to comment below. Meantime, keep bouncing! ~Bella 😉

Ps if I give up, my blog name doesn’t work as well!

Do Hard Things

The Tough stuff…

1. Things that are outside your comfort zone.

bento box

Does it count that I tried Japanese food last week? I was definitely outside of my comfort zone, but I ordered a ‘Bento box’ of different things to try, including sushi, which I have so far pretty much avoided and was pleasantly surprised to discover I enjoyed pretty much all of it!

2. Things that go beyond what is expected or required.

3. Things that are too big to accomplish alone.

4. Things that don’t earn an immediate payoff…

Source: Do Hard Things

Hi guys! So I saw this and thought it would make a great challenge, so if you have any suggestions for any of these 4 things, please suggest them for me in the comments?  ~ Bella 😉

Lost Move Syndrome: First hand…

So after I shared this Guest Post on Lost Move Syndrome in July 2015, I now have first hand experience of what it feels like to have an “inability to perform a skill previously performed with ease”. For me, it started two days after I’d competed my “B” routine. I’m going to try to explain the order of things that happened as best I can, but as all recommendations on this go, I’m trying not to dwell on it at the moment, and we’re just taking a break from what I’m struggling with.

So we’d changed our warm up drills to include routines at the end, so that we can keep the routines ‘ticking over’ until the next time we need them for competition, as it won’t be for a while. I took off for a 3/4 back (the first skill) and suddenly bailed, tucking round to feet instead of landing on my front. After a second failed attempt, I skipped the skill in an endeavour to move on with the routine and complete what was only supposed to be a ‘warm up’.

At first I couldn’t do anything in the Pike shape. I had a pike back (SS) followed by a Pike Barani, and after several really hairy SSs I went from a back SS to a barani. The barani travelled the entire length of the trampoline, landing on the end deck. Now for some people, when they go wrong, landing on the end deck is pretty standard… for me- it is incredibly rare. So much so that even my coach was baffled! “You’ve never done that before, it’s only been 2 days since the competition…” I was confused, and if I’m honest, being so out of control that I landed on the end deck did give me a bit of a fright.

We decided we’d leave it there and go back to these after the warm up. Anyway, I stumbled my way through an easier routine, feeling like I had to psych myself up for all the back SSs and decided to go back to doing my harder B routine later on in the week – it was probably just a blip right?

Not so much… Thursday at training I worked through the routine backwards, like I’m used to, working the newest skills into the mat first, which landed fine and gave me confidence. So after working back from 4-10, I went for the first move, the 3/4 back. Same take off as always, and I bailed again, tucking to feet and falling to H&K at the last minute. Bummer. Not just a one off blip then…

The 3/4 back is something I’m good at (one judges feedback at a comp was that I got zero deductions on all my ‘straight’ somersaults – this included), so okay, take it back a step – I learnt all the progressions for this one… I did a back pullover to front- or at least tried to, that was scary, and I pulled it to feet (just). I couldn’t even manage that from a standstill, another thing I pride myself on, because it’s great to show kids they’re not going to land on their heads if they don’t go high enough when learning a back pullover.

So we’ve started a new week, and I now have all of my somersaults working, bar the 3/4 front. Humph! I’ll keep you posted on my progress… meantime, if you missed it last time, here’s some info I posted about Lost Move Syndrome previously.

TTFN ~ Bella x

Bella Bounces

Originally posted here, what this blog calls a ‘mental block in gymnastics’ is now well documented as Lost Move Syndrome, or LMS in Trampoline and can affect any performance athlete. Here’s a bit more information about it.

Mustafina LMS

Virtually 70% of high level gymnasts have experienced psychological blocking – the inability to perform a skill previously performed with ease. Only a small percentage of these athletes experience blocking to the point that it disrupts their performance. Nonetheless, for those who do, the experience is devastating.

Research shows that blocking has a number of predictable characteristics (Feigley, Robbins & Berger, 1989):

It generalises backwards within a sequence of skills. For example, blocking on the back somersault phase of the roundoff, back handspring, back somersault sequence quickly spreads to the back handspring and frequently to the round-off itself.
It generalises across skills. For example, a problem on the back salto on the beam…

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Why I’ve been so quiet (yes, me: quiet… I know!)

Don’t be alarmed… But I’ve been away learning a lot of stuff. I could even make a list… You see I went on a course for ‘Future Club Leaders’ in Gymnastics. I’m not sure how they figure out who is and isn’t going to be a leader, but they figured that I was one of the 21 accepted this year! (Thanks for that honour BG.)


Anyway, the list of things I learnt…

  1. Club Management (got a certificate an’ all!)
  2. RISK! Sounds dull? The speaker made it interesting, don’t worry!
  3. It’s not as impossible or as expensive as you think to start a club…
  4. There’s a lot of really great people out there who can help you.
  5. You can fundraise pretty much anywhere (doing pretty much anything- I have a list long as your tibia)
  6. You’d be surprised how many people will volunteer, if you just ask.

Now I’ve just got to figure out how I’m going to all of these things and make a plan! It’s been exhausting doing all this alongside a day job, I assure you so I’ll be the first to admit that doing this is going to take a long while and a fair amount of trial and error. Anyone want to volunteer to do some admin/ leg work stuff for me? Everything seems to take so much time to get done, and I seems to so little time to do it all! SO here you go followers, one of you write me a blog about how to utilise the little time I have, that would probably be a godsend.

Until I figure out how to duplicate myself and therefore double the time I have, that’s all from me for now. Happy Bouncing! – Bella 😉