Hey everybody, it’s Coach Rebecca here! Today I want to talk to you about summer training. It’s May at the time of this post and what that means, for gymnasts at least, is that competition season is over and so is some of the pressure. You don’t have to focus so much on perfecting that routine, but your coaches might have other plans for you.
Through a coach’s eyes, summer is the perfect time to bear down and focus on getting you in the best shape. It’s the perfect time to build those bigger, better muscles. It’s also a good time to start thinking about upgrades to your routines and skills. That way by the end of summer, you are stronger, your skills are stronger, and they can better decide what level you will be competing at.
Three things in the summer offseason to set you up for competition season
In the gymnastics world, November is often referred to as “Nervous November” and for good reason. Getting ready to go into winter competitions athletes tend to be comparison factories. Compare themselves to other gymnasts, the gymnast they were last season, and even comparing themselves to who they “thought” they were going to be this season.
That’s why it is so important to start working on your mental toughness right now, that way when November rolls around you are ready to rock those winter competitions!
If you combine my three tips with working on your mental toughness, this winter you are going to be unstoppable!
Taking care of your body
The first thing you should focus on this summer is taking care of your body! No matter what your school schedule may look like, you will probably be amping up your training hours.
We have to remember how important sleep is for our bodies and brains. Between the ages of 12 and 17, you need nine plus hours of sleep per night. Really 10 hours a night is better for a body that is training so hard.
One of the first questions I like to ask an athlete that is struggling with mental blocks, is how much sleep are you getting every night? Typically, the athletes getting less sleep are struggling more often with mental blocks and fear.
The kids who get more sleep tend to have better control of not only their bodies but also their minds.
Along those same lines, what we are putting into our bodies is so important. If you are like me, you could live off of bagels and goldfish. But our bodies need more than that. We need to give our bodies protein and vitamins, making sure that you’re fueling enough to keep up with the things you are asking your body and brain to do!
When we give our bodies what they need when we are fueling our machines the right way we can perform the way we want them to. This allows your body to recover and heal from all of those hard pounding vaults or all of those big routines.
Aches and pains
be fiercely protective of your body this summer. If you find that you’re injured or you’re hurting, don’t let it slide. Be vocal about “my back kind of hurts”, “my ankle hurts”.
Now I am not saying to get in the habit of whining all the time, I am saying to get comfortable communicating when you are feeling pain so that you can be fiercely protective of your body this summer.
Finding your joy
The second thing I want you to focus on this summer is finding your joy. I think this is such an important and underrated part of youth sports. There is a whole bunch of sports coaches and parents who are like “it’s not about having fun, it’s about working hard”.
One of the quickest ways to find joy is to regularly practice gratitude. Every time you pull into the gym parking lot, remind yourself that you love gymnastics. Remind yourself why you started doing all of this in the first place. The coaches, the teammates, the way it makes your body strong. There are so many things to be grateful for, take a moment each day to remind yourself of those.
One Pleasent Thing
Over here at PerformHappy, we use what we call OPT, One Pleasent Thing. We use OPT as a way to keep ourselves present and in a good place. It’s easy to use, you just take a deep breath and take a moment to notice something pleasant around you. It doesn’t have to be some big grand thing, it can be as simple as you enjoy the color of the flowers in the parking lot, you like the color of the drink you have, or maybe you like the way the trees smell in the summer air. OPT allows you to ground yourself and keep your outlook on the positive side.
Building better relationships
Another way to find your joy is to continuously be building better relationships with everyone around you. Those relationships include your coaches, your teammates, and your parents. With your coaches, it can be as simple as “you look great today coach”, or “I really liked that workout today”. Now you don’t have to go and become a brown noser, but there isn’t any reason that you can’t be kind and build a better relationship with your coaches.
With your teammates, it might be reaching out and trying to become closer and friendlier with that one girl you just don’t mesh with at practice.
Training your mind this summer
The third thing to work on this summer to avoid a terrible Nervous November is to train your mind. If you can train your mind and your body at the SAME time, that is how you unlock your inner champion.
Don’t wait until Nervous November hits you, to start working on your mental strength. Having a growth mindset, means letting go of the idea of perfectionism. Let go of perfectionism and instead focus on progress. If there is a skill you aren’t great at, instead of focusing on not being perfect instead focus on the little improvements you have made in the right direction in the last week. Focus on the things you are getting better at. Every little step is a step in the right direction.
Do you need some help to beat the November nerves?
We are always ready to help at PerformHappy, you just have to reach out! We are always offering a FREE one-on-one consultation with one of our amazing coaches. At PerformHappy we offer an array of different programs for all athletes and we cannot wait to hear from you! Don’t let this summer pass without making it worthwhile!