Stay Ready So You Don’t Have To Get Ready.
Hey, Gymnastics Dad Nation, and welcome back to another blog. First and foremost, I want to give a big shoutout to all our frontline workers. You guys are the most amazing people on the planet, bar none! GD Nation and I genuinely appreciate everything you have done and are continuing to do for us. Since the world seems currently on house arrest due to the Coronavirus, I figured I’d write a quick blog to give GD Nation something to do besides vegging out on Netflix’s. As a blogger, you realize how much your daily interactions in life impact your blogging. When something like a pandemic takes out your daily routine and communications, so too goes what you blog about. Being a blogger during a pandemic in the area of youth gymnastics is not easy. I try to strike a balance between providing interesting material to read yet, avoiding being a painful reminder that sports have been temporarily stripped from us. Fortunately, the idea of this blog came after having a conversation with the fam while having breakfast.
Before we get started, I want to send a shoutout to Connor Preston. He is the first athlete selected in our new monthly feature at GDN Apparel called Gymnast Spotlight. He was actually the gymnast for March and was slotted to be featured in March’s blogs, but then the Coronavirus blew everything up. Moving forward, every month, we will spotlight a different gymnast for their accomplishments in and outside the sport of gymnastics. To learn more about Connor, please visit here. Now on to our regularly scheduled programming.
~The Scene (Picture this….)~
It’s a Sunday morning, and I finally decide to get motivated to cook breakfast around 11:30 am. I mean, the family has to eat, right? After surviving a mental flogging from my wife over the fact that I continue to wash clothes but never fold or put them away, can we sit down to eat. The minute my wife says, “would you mind…” I know sh$t is about to go all the way left. fellas, FYI, “would you mind” is code for “I have told his ass about this a million times, and he keeps doing it.” But, I did manage to talk my way out by leveraging an”ole skool” strategy of “if you can’t dazzle them with brilliance, then baffle them with bullcrap.” After munching down a few pieces of bacon, I looked over to my daughter and said to her, “Hey, girly, you ready to head back to practice yet.” Her response was “kinda, but I am not feeling that double back on the beam yet.” At that point, I realize her statement gave me an opening to satisfy my coaching fix. Still, I needed to do a balancing act between being a coach and a dad. I figure this is an excellent time to dip into coaching mode and explain to her the benefits of preparation and reducing the amount of rust when getting back in gymnastics shape. For the last 3 weeks, her gymnastics coaches have been doing a virtual practice, which is fantastic. In conjunction with the coach’s practices, we have had a conditioning plan in place since they shut down the state. Still, even with that, my internal coaching clock is starting to tell me that we need to kick it up a notch.
~The Convo ~
Our conversation that morning was about preparation. In a nutshell, I was trying to express to my daughter the importance of staying ready, so she doesn’t have to get ready when she returns to gymnastics. This pandemic has created a situation where young athletes have to rely heavily on household discipline and dedication to maintain focus on training. Continuing to train outside of the purview of coaches can be difficult for anybody. If you come from a household where general fitness is not typically a priority, it is almost impossible to maintain. In sports, it is not always about the training ability of a coach. In many instances, parents are looking for someone who can motivate their children. They are looking for someone who can have those hard conversations with their kids. In a nutshell, parents are quite honestly looking for someone who can get in their “kiddos” asses and motivate them to be better athletes and people. Being able to manage training during this pandemic will give athletes a considerable advantage when returning.
The game is simple, reduce the amount of time it takes to get back into prime gymnastics training shape. The faster an athlete can get back in shape, the quicker they can get back to sport-specific training. At breakfast, I told my daughter that most people don’t consider how condensed their timeline to competition season will be when they return back to the gym. I told her to factor in the traditional schedule to the first competition and then decrease time due to the pandemic. For every one week that an athlete eats terrible and doesn’t exercise, then that is additional two weeks of work to get back in shape. The negative impact of lack of training can be exponential, depending on the athlete and the family situation. For my daughter, who is moving to Level 9, her first meet is typically around the first week of December. If the meet time frame doesn’t change, that means currently, if they return back to training in June, we will lose approximately two months of training time that need to be accounted for. This pandemic is condensing every sport’s training schedule. With that being said, it would behoove both athletes and parents to reduce the conditioning curve as much as possible. The goal is to expedite and reduce the time that needs to be allocated for general conditioning.
~The Top Athletes Are Training~
The second item I bought to her attention is that the top athletes are still training. There is one thing that is always universal when situations like this occur. The beasts will always train. Winners figure out how to get training regardless of the conditions, remember Rocky, the Russian, and running in the snow? Let’s not act like I am the only one that watched Rocky movies back in the day. Old heads, this is the point in the blog you start humming the words “there’s no easy way out, there’s no short cut home…” from the Rocky soundtrack. Since this pandemic, there have been hundreds of youtube videos posting with people creating homemade strength equipment. Depending on your craftsman skills, I am not necessarily advocating building your own vault or bars. What I am saying is that “winners figure it out.” If you have read my blog, Talented vs. Hardworking, then you know I believe hard work will always outweigh talent in the long run. This pandemic has created an environment that is ideal for any athlete who values working hard. This pandemic will give hard-working athletes a chance to separate themselves from the pack. The more innovative and creative you can be to overcome training challenges, the further ahead you will be of your competition.
Lastly, this is a tough time for everyone, but as the old adage goes….. This Too Shall Pass. Until this passes, set up a routine with your athlete and stick to it. Challenge your athlete to keep that mental and physical edge by focusing on the basics. Remember, hard work doesn’t require equipment, effort doesn’t require a building and dedication doesn’t require a coach.
In closing, once this pandemic is over, gymnasts will want to show up to practice like it is the first day of school. Might as well let them show up in style! Check out our new Beauty and the Beast collection at our GDN Apparel Swag Shop.