Every year, Falkirk School of Gymnastics hold a competition for it’s recreational gymnasts. It’s an opportunity that is seized by the majority of those who attend classes, as it allows them to gain experience in performing in a competitive environment, before they progress onto a higher level of gymnastics.
As a coach, I’ve come to realise the pressure that’s put on you to get a child to perform at a certain high standard for this competition is huge. Of course there are the little games of “I coach them” between the coaches during the medal ceremonies, but, in reality, that’s not the thing I find completely daunting about this annual event.
Masses of children attend this competition, and with masses of children comes masses of parents.
Even though I’ve been coaching for three years now, the parents of the kids that I teach still absolutely terrify me, and the pressure of ensuring they perform to a reasonably high standard.
That’s where things become more complicated. I teach two classes, one on a Monday in a school gym hall, with bog standard mats and a vault that’s been there for years, and another on a Tuesday, down at the fully equipped gymnasium in Falkirk. You might think that the standard of the Monday pupils would be lower.
The Mondays are as good, if not in some cases, better than a few of the Tuesdays. I think that’s down to the fact that the Monday kids have a more personalised coaching session, because the classes are absolutely tiny compared to the Tuesday ones.
However, in the past year, the coaching experience has changed for us on a Tuesday, as now we have our own little groups of around nine or 10 kids to teach. I find this great, because not only can we get all of the children to the same standard of gymnastics, but the parents watching, are extremely proud watching their children compete to a relatively high standard.
That’s the best thing about being a coach. Seeing the kids do well. It’s even better though, seeing the parents proud. That’s what does it for me.