You know you are a gymnastics coach when you text your husband to pick up some “meet”.
So my blogging fell off the face of the earth as meet season came to its Pinnacle (pun intended). So as I venture into summertime “normal”, I thought discussing the art of meet season would be a good place to start.
Gymnastics is unlike most sports. The sport requires a year round commitment and, in most cases, a gymnast competes between 5-8 times over a 4-5 month span (most falling January through April). Gymnastics competitions involve both individual and team components. Each individual athlete competes on each event: vault, bars, beam and floor. The team score is comprised of the top 3 scores on each event.
When we build the meet schedule each season, there are a lot of factors to consider. Some of them include: length of season, proper spacing between competitions, amount of travel required, whether or not we will have to miss practice, and level of competition at the meet. The process is ongoing. Hannah and I currently have a list of competitions we want to go to next season, if not the season after that. We can’t go to every dream meet because, unfortunately, we live in reality.
Practice is a main concern for us. Our athletes get far more reps out of practice than they do at a meet. Therefore the scales must weigh in as far as value of the meet vs loss of missing practice.
Level of competition is also a big deal at the optional levels. As a compulsory or lower level Xcel athlete, there are many competitions in the area that have a good number and quality of competition. However, as the level increases, the number of athletes competing decreases. Finding quality competitions in the metro is challenging. We then look for regional meets (preferably with a Southwest Airlines direct flight) to take our athletes to.
This provides the exposure to great competition, college coaches, and in some cases the opportunity to qualify for finals.
As coaches, our meet season is long and grueling. It takes countless hours outside of the home and on top of a regular work week. We attend every session our athletes are in and there are very few weekends off. The weekends we aren’t competing, we are generally at the gym working out details, evaluating athletes for next year’s team, or planning.
I was asked the question this week, “Are you glad meet season is almost over?”. And the answer is tough. On one hand, I am ready to get back to a schedule with less travel, to be a more consistent parent for my children, to have a lower level of stress both in the gym and at home. But on the other, meet season provides adrenaline (how else would we make it through!). It is the point of being on team. Competing shows how far our athletes have come and provides insight into where they will go.
So as meet season comes to a close, I am able to reflect on the season and the highs and low that came with it and focus on off season training and skill development. All in time to do it again next year.
Congratulations to another great season at Pinnacle Gymnastics and a big thank you to all of my amazing staff, from the ones that travel and coach, to the ones that pick up the slack at home. Thank you.