Special Needs Gymnastics

I love this! I’m learning more and more about different disabilities and how to adapt my coaching and I can honestly say that Jamie has unlocked an absolutely vital key – breaking things down. I’ve met a lot of children who have little confidence in their own ability and become easily upset or frustrated if they perceive that they ‘can’t’ do something and more often than not these aren’t people with whom you can explain that it won’t be perfect the first time around! Little victories working towards a bigger long term goal, even if the long term goal is one complete skill is the absolute key to keeping them keen, learning and having fun. Infinite patience and creativity when teaching little bits of skills is also required, ’cause who wants to do step 1 over and over again?

Recreational Gymnastics

special-needs-gymnasticsJamie Pacton:

Gymnastics can benefit kids tremendously, especially kids with special needs.

Liam, my 7-year-old with autism, has been working with a gymnastics coach for almost two years, and in that time, he’s made huge gains in motor skills, following directions, expressive language, and confidence. …

When he first started, he was timid, resistant, and uncoordinated; now his confidence shines through in every activity he completes. …

COACH SARAH BANCK:

My overall philosophy on children with special needs is very similar to how I approach coaching children of all abilities. Confidence comes from success, however children cannot make the distinctions between failing at a skill and being a failure. This is why progressions or deescalating a skill is so imperative in teaching. Adjusting and breaking a skill into its most minute parts assures individual success regardless of skill level and is pertinent in developing a positive sense of self and…

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Stretching: Help or Harm?

I’ve recently been taking a good look at stretching, specifically the benefits and when during a training session you should or shouldn’t be stretching. Some of my findings were new to me, so I thought I’d share a general overview and some of what I learned.

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What is stretching?

The movement of your muscles through their complete range of motion. There are two types of stretches: Dynamic and Static. Dynamic is the continuous movement of a muscle smoothly through its complete range of motion, for example leg swings. Static stretching is placing a muscle in a stretch and holding it in that position, for example if you were to raise your leg at a height and fold your body over it, holding the stretch for a fixed amount of time.

Dynamic Stretching is great at the beginning of a session because it helps to improve metabolic activity and blood flow to the muscle. This in turn helps with the muscles range of motion and power output, as well as preventing injury.

Static Stretches initially cause muscles to contract, and are proven to decrease the power available in the muscle for a short period – not what you want before a training session requiring maximum power. However when held for around 20 seconds post-workout, static stretches are effective at helping muscles to recover and heal, gently increase your flexibility and relax your muscles.

When is it best to stretch?

Based on my research, Dynamic activation stretches are great to include in your warm up. Static stretching in a fixed position for 20 seconds are most effective after exercise, during your cool down.

For a brief dynamic warm up, check out the video below from 13’07”. This video also really makes you think about the best use of a training session, especially when as Nath discusses (11′ in) the most ‘efficient use of time for optimal training’ doesn’t include static stretching, which can be done anywhere at any time, instead of getting onto the equipment you’re there to work on. He also makes a good point when it comes to young kids and the lack of ‘fun’ in stretching as opposed to using the equipment in the gym.

I hope you found this interesting and informative. I know it’s helped to inform what stretches I use in my training and coaching sessions. I’d really appreciate your thoughts below. On a side note, I was taught a warm up is for both the body and mind, do you think shortening the warm up could pose a risk to a athlete being less mentally prepared? Comment below with your opinion, I’d love to hear it!

~ Bella

10 Reasons Why I Love Aimee Boorman

I love this! You can really see Aimee’s coaching philosophy is to keep it fun, so the gymnast wants to learn more, faster and Aimee’s results speak for themselves. Maybe for our elite coaches, there are lessons to be learned there… What do you think?
~ Bella

JAG GYM Blog

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She understands what an incredible sport gymnastics is for all kids.   Aimee says, “I love watching kids grow. Gymnastics is more about life than just being a sport.  It teaches you about respect, dedication, time management, drive…I could go on and on.”

She puts the child before the gymnast. According to the The Los Angeles Times Aimee she does not monitor Biles’ diet, encourages her to have a life outside of gymnastics, and wants her to spend time with friends.  “You have to avoid burnout,” Aimee said. “I believe in family vacations. I believe in taking time off. I believe if it’s your best friend’s birthday, you take the day off and go spend it with her. That’s time you can’t get back.”

She understands that the number one reason kids quit sports is that it is no longer fun—so she makes it fun. “We knew early…

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Freedom and Responsibility

Happy 4th of July to any American out there and anyone else who celebrates Freedom & Independence!

JAG GYM Blog

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With freedom, comes responsibility–the responsibility to exercise the power that your freedom brings you in a way that makes you worthy of your autonomy and demonstrates the value you place on having liberty.

Coaches, each time you have a group of children who you are instructing you have the freedom to create a lesson that matches the goals you have for the group. You also have the responsibility to create a lesson that builds your athletes in a healthy manner, both physically and psychologically.

Gymnasts each time you are given autonomy to monitor your own conditioning or complete you assignment without a coach standing over you, you have the opportunity to show that you are trustworthy by doing what was asked of you.

Freedom may mean the right to so as one pleases, but there is two very important caveats: your freedom does not give you the right to impinge…

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#RoadToRio Series: Gymnasts who made it!

The Olympic draws in Gymnastics were released on the 5th May 2016. To find out which athletes or nations will complete, check out the info below. The draws for Artistic Gymnastics, Trampoline and Rhythmic Gymnastics were held during the FIG Council meeting in Bangkok, Thailand.

Rio Olympics 2016 Gymnast by bubble-emporium

Rio Olympics 2016 Gymnast by bubble-emporium. Click the picture to purchase

Artistic

A total of 98 gymnasts (12 teams of five gymnasts and 38 individuals) will compete in the qualification round in both Men’s and Women’s Artistic Gymnastics in Rio.

Find out more about the Men’s Artistic here.

Trampoline

Sixteen men and sixteen women will take part in the qualification round in Trampoline.
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UPDATE: Great Britain have secured 2 places in the Women’s Trampoline competition and 1 Men’s place to compete in the Olympics – Go team GB! Once the team members have been confirmed, I’ll let you know with a further update. ~ Bella

Rhythmic

In Rhythmic Gymnastics, 26 gymnasts will take part in the individual competition, while 14 nations have qualified for the Group competition.

 

Do you have a favourite gymnast hoping to gain one of those precious olympic spots? Let me know in the comments below! ~ Bella 😉

#RoadToRio Series: Gymnastics at the Olympics

So ages ago on twitter I said I was thinking of doing a ‘road to rio’ series, and since there are now less that 100 Days ’til the games, I think now is clearly the time to get started on that!

Gymnastics became an Olympic sport in 1896 with the modern gymnastics movement, but for the first 32 years, only men were allowed!

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In the 1928 games in Amsterdam, women competed for the first time in Artistic Gymnastics. Artistic gymnastics is usually divided into Men’s and Women’s Gymnastics. Men compete on six events: Floor Exercise, Pommel Horse, Still Rings, Vault, Parallel Bars, and High Bar, while women compete on four: Vault, Uneven Bars, Balance Beam and Floor Exercise.

Fun Fact: Saudi Arabia proposed a bid for a men-only olympics in 2016!

Countries like Saudi Arabia must really work to allow female athletes to ‘freely participate’.
– IOC President Thomas Bach

Only women compete in rhythmic gymnastics, which was introduced into the Olympics in 1984’s Los Angeles games. Rhythmic involves the performance of separate routines with the use of five apparatus (ball, ribbon, hoop, clubs and rope) on a floor area.

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Trampoline is a relatively new discipline for both men and women, which was only introduced 3 cycles ago at the 2000 Sydney games.

So that’s a brief introduction to each of the disciplines, in the next post, we’ll take a look at Great Britain’s prospects this year which have been looking better and better!

Speak soon! ~ Bella 😉