Do Zoom Practice Sessions Really Work?
Welcome back parents to another installment of Gymnastics Dad. In this blog, I am going to answer the question do Zoom(virtual) practices really work, and should you pay for them? For those that don’t know what Zoom is. Zoom is a software used for video conferencing. Since this pandemic has taken off, Zoom has become the premier software for teachers. Zoom is the reason why most parents are going to end up in summer school with their child. Zoom must be the luckiest of the lucky as far as companies go. I mean damn, January 30th Zoom was just another tech company barely hanging on….90 days later this is the founder.
Before I get started, I want to send a big shoutout to all our frontline workers. You guys are the best people on the planet, bar none! GD Nation and I genuinely appreciate everything you have done and are continuing to do for us
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This is a topic I received from a reader because their coach is beginning to charge for virtual practice over Zoom. Her question was, “does the amount of training and the quality of training justify the cost.” She was apprehensive because she felt that since she paid $275.00 monthly when her daughter was going to the gym four times a week, four hours a day, but now the coach is charging $175.00 for three days a week and 2 hours a day. Initially, when she gave me the price tag, my first response was “hell-to-the-no” because, from a straight numbers standpoint, the math didn’t make cents( get it C-E-N-T-S). After sitting back and weighing the pros vs. cons, I persuaded myself to go in the other direction. This was one of those situations that will be different depending on the family and training situations at home. Before I get started with why I changed my view on the question, Let’s set the mood “ole skool” rap appropriate for this blog. “Yeah, All I wanna do is zoom-zoom-zoom-zoom and a boom-boom.”
In a nutshell
Let me say at the onset that I am a firm believer in Zoom meetings and not because I am a coach who does them. In truth, with my track team’s Zoom sessions, we don’t charge the parents for them. That is not to say coaches who do charge are in the wrong. I just don’t because, for me, coaching track and field is a past time and truly “voluntary.” Basically, I don’t view it as a business, but if I did, I’d “shonuff” would charge. I do pay for my daughter’s gymnastics practices over Zoom with no reservations. When moving from what we call “Brick and Mortar” training to virtual training, there isn’t going to be a one-to-one relationship in regards to cost. By design, the goal of technology is to increase efficiencies and value while reducing costs(Geek Talk). So it should be expected that there won’t be a one-to-one relationship when comparing pricing for Brick and Mortar and Virtual. If you look at Zoom Practice sessions from a value standpoint as opposed to a cost standpoint, then it may make more “cents” (I did it again).
If you read and agree with my last blog, Stay Ready So You Don’t Have To Get Ready. Then you understand that it can be challenging for an athlete to maintain focus outside of the purview of the coach. This pandemic has created a situation where athletes have been left to their own devices in regards to staying motivated. Over the past couple months of having been apart of virtual practices, I have begun to see some added benefits that I initially didn’t consider in regards to virtual training.
Keeps consistency for the athletes
One of the most important aspects of training and development is consistency. The fastest way to get written off by a coach is to be inconsistent. Inconsistency applies to both being inconsistent with practice and inconsistent with focus. Inconsistency is one of the biggest killers of athlete potential. What this pandemic has created is fertile ground for the diseases of inconsistency and laziness to flourish. Having virtual practice establishes a way for an athlete to develop consistent training routines. When coaches establish a routine even if it is virtual, they are establishing consistency for the athletes. The routine helps to get athletes back in the mode of a standardized training regimen.
Coaches still have influence.
Can you relate to this? “I have been fussing and fussing at my athlete for the last couple of weeks, and it has had no effect. Then her coach does a zoom session, and now she is all involved.” Well, if you can relate, don’t feel bad. This is actually pretty common amongst all sports. Keep in mind to most of our children our role is mom and dad, not a coach. The term coach carries a special meaning with it. The term “coach” can strike fear in the soul of an athlete. Coaches have the ability to flex muscles that parents don’t have. In my last blog, Stay Ready So You Don’t Have To Get Ready, I talk about how many times a coach’s ability to teach a sport is not the overriding factor when determining a good coach. In many situations, a coach’s value is in their ability to motivate and bring out the best in an athlete. Even though I am a coach, it is difficult for me to garner the same reaction from my daughter that I do from my athletes in regards to training. To my athletes, I am Coach Mike, the monster, but to my daughter, I am “this dude.”
Can’t do as much but can focus on details
Want to keep laziness in check, get called out by your coach in a Zoom session. On Zoom, you don’t have to worry about who is around when you get chewed out because EVERYONE IS AROUND. One of the good things about Zoom meetings is that as a coach, you can see everything. My daughter has been called out many times for straight legs; it is ridiculous. Virtual session has allowed coaches to focus their view on one area instead of having to keep an eye on multiple events.
Do you have other options
Lastly, the real question is, do you have another option to reliably get your athlete the training they need? If the answer to that question is “no,” then you need to pony up the money to get the training done correctly(assuming you have it to spare). If you haven’t been consistent with training your athlete thus far, then it is unrealistic that you will maintain the level of training provided in the virtual practice. I was asked why I decided to pay for my daughter’s virtual training seeing that I was a coach and understood general fitness and how to train young athletes. My answer was that after observing my daughter’s training session, I realized that they were doing a lot of sport-specific training that I wasn’t familiar with. At that point, I knew it would behoove me to pay for the training and make sure my daughter got the training she needed. With my daughter being in Level 9, I couldn’t afford to “muck this up.” So I had to know when to fold ’em. Basically, my daughter’s coach had her doing all types of drills that I had no idea needed to be done. As much money as this expensive ass sport has cost me over the years you think I am going to complain now over $150.00, sheeeeeeeeeiiiiiiiiiittttttttt!!!
In the words of the late great Kenny Rogers….
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