After watching Championships and Olympic Trials last weekend, I can only comment on what was shown on TV, but it did seem like the gymnasts who ended on the podium had coaches who “Did it Right!”
I don’t think it is a surprise that when coaches show respect, love, and compassion to their athletes, their athletes feel comfortable in giving it their all. From what I could see, the coaches of the top gymnasts in the country seemed to genuinely care about the wellbeing of their athletes. They seem to hurt when they saw their athletes fall, they weren’t mad, embarrassed, frustrated, or angry. They weren’t going to punish their athletes, turn their back, or yell, they did the one and only thing their athletes needed at that time…they showed love.
We can all learn from their examples. Gymnasts already have to overcome their own doubts, fears, and worries. They NEED to know their coaches will be there to catch them when they fall, trust them when they need to be brave, and love them no matter the outcome of the competition.
Gymnasts can be Olympians when they are supported, built up, instilled confidence, respected, and loved. The old days of belittling, punishing, fearing the coach, and treating the gymnasts like robots are over. The proof is in the results.
The harsh truth is that there will be phenomenal gymnasts that will not get to compete in Rio. Chances are they tried their best, trained with all their heart, and wanted their dream of Rio to come true. They will need hugs…lots of them. They will need to know that their career was spectacular, appreciated, valued, and acknowledged.
Thank you Anne, you were there, you did see the love and you did see the results.
Dear Coaches Who Comfort Their Gymnasts When They Struggle in a Meet,
I want to thank you.
I thank you for recognizing that your gymnast just gave it her all, came up short and still validating her worth as a human by giving her a hug and a kind word as she dejectedly walked off the floor.
I thank you for being the adult in the relationship by managing your disappointment so as not to make your athlete feel even worse about having a fall out there today. I appreciate that you have mastery over your emotions. I know you too have put in long hours trying to help her achieve his goal. I know you are upset as well. And I appreciate the amount of self-restraint it takes to keep that in check and instead focusing on helping your gymnast understand his error, helping him prepare for his next event and reminding him that…
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