4 Steps to Maximize Gymnastics Class TimeGymnastics classes and practices always seem to fly by. As a coach, it seems like there is never enough time to teach everything you want to teach. Between water breaks, bathroom breaks, transitions from event to event and station to station the time just seems to disappear. Here are a few quick tips to make the most of the class time you have.
Establish Clear Expectations
Children like to know what to expect. Establishing clear routines and procedures benefits everyone, the gymnast and coach. Children need to know where to go when they arrive. They also need to know where to go and what to do at each event as well as how to transition from one event to the next. They also like to know the schedule of events and how each class will end.
Be PreparedNothing can replace being prepared for class. Being prepared for a gymnastics class includes:
- Having a well written lesson plan.
- Familiarizing yourself with the lesson plan.
- Setting up your equipment and gathering your props.
- Starting class on time.
Transitions from both event to event and from station to station need to be planned. Without a plan, transitioning from one activity to another can cause chaos. Even if you have an amazing lesson plan, if you haven't determined how students will rotate between stations or the time that should be spent at each station then you will be met with many questions and concerns. "What are we doing now?" "Which station do I go to now? "She's not in my group!" In can be beneficial to use a timer to help students realize that it's time to move to another activity. You can also try using "callbacks" or signal words as another technique to remind or alert students about transitions. Examples include:
- “Stop! Collaborate!" "And listen!"
- "One, two, three." "Eyes on me".
- ”Hocus Pocus” ”Everybody focus”
- ”Freeze." "Hands on your knees”
Consider the pace of your class. As you make your lesson plans, be realistic about how long each activity will take to set up and complete. Write down the estimated time for activities in your lesson plans so you will be able to determine what to cover in each class. Keep in mind, activities often do not take the amount of time you expect (even when you do your best to make realistic predictions), be prepared to either fill in a few minutes at the end of class or cut an activity out of your plans and shift it to your next practice. When planning the pace of your class consider the following question:
- What will your students be doing?
- How long will it take them to complete a task?
- How long will each station take?
- How many times can they complete a circuit in a set amount of time?
Don't forget ...
Attendance has a big effect on teaching and learning time. Impress upon parents and students the importance of good attendance, especially on Competitive Team. At the end of each day, tell kid something exciting that will happen next practice - emphasize the kinds of activities they look forward to and always leave kids wanting more!
Hannah Thomas, Program Director
More Ideas for Coaches Here: