What I have learned from gymnastics – Life lessons from 12 years of coaching | Insomniac Thoughts
Twelve years is a long time to dedicate yourself to something. For over a decade I’ve committed myself to being the best coach I can be, to always continue to improve myself and my coaching strategies. As a result, there are quite a few things I’ve learned from gymnastics about the sport. Over time, I’ve realized how perfectly those lessons translate to life.
Sure, I’ve learned a lot about physics, movement, acceleration, flexibility, strength, and coordination, but coaching gymnastics has taught me a whole lot more about life than anything else. Gymnastics is a fundamental part of who I am and guides my decisions in no small way. Indeed, much of my life outlook can be attributed to what I learned from gymnastics.
I will elaborate on these over time, but for now here’s an overview of what I’ve learned through my many years of gymnastics.
Take the risk.
Choose your words carefully, others are listening.
My gymnasts hear everything. Even the things I think that they ignore, they repeat back to me down the road. That is, they hear me, even when I don’t think they’re listening. This is also true in life. Sometimes we say things, and we fail to realize who they affect.
You may have a bigger impact on somebody’s life than you’ll ever know. I’d like to think that I shape the lives of the girls I coached, but I can say for certain they most definitely shaped mine.
Do what scares you.
Fear is an incredibly powerful thing, but determination is even more so. I cannot even count the number of times I’ve seen someone face a paralyzing fear. They thought they would never be able to do it and never overcome their fear, but once they made up their mind that they were going to, they always did. Those that are determined to reach their goals conquer whatever fear may stand in their way.
Be both strong and flexible.
It is important to be strong. It is important to be flexible. But the key is to be both strong and flexible. If your too strong and set in your ways, you’ll have a hard time adapting to the crap life throws at you. If your too flexible without strength to match, you’ll mold into what others want for you.
Push your limits.
The human body is a hell of a thing. It can defy gravity and flip itself over multiple times. It is resilient and way tougher than most of us train it to be.
Pain builds strength.
Sometimes you may have a huge wound ripped right open, but stronger callouses will grow in their place that are tougher than the skin ever was.
Nothing replaces grit.
Strength, speed, and endurance are all important, but it is will that makes all the difference. Heart carries on when muscle fatigue sets in. It wins competitions and it is what takes you to your goal. Those who want it the most, that have the most heart in it, they are who find the most success.
No one size fits all.
Everybody learns differently. Everybody understands differently. Rather than trying to have everybody understand it as you know it to be, you can always find a different way to present it. Further, you can learn from others. Put yourself in their shoes, view it through their lens. Only then will you be able to see clearly.
Taking a deep breath and counting to five can be a complete game changer. It conquers fear, panic, adrenaline, disappointment, and overwhelming emotion. It’s okay to give yourself five seconds.
Learn to trust.
You have to trust. Trust yourself. Trust your role models, trust those that are looking out for you. You have to trust. But with that, you must be trustworthy.
Keep it interesting.
While routine and structure are essential, keeping things new and fresh may be even more important. Life should be fun. Don’t let yourself get bored.
Use your vision.
Know where you are, where the ground is, and which way is up. That’s the only way you can flip through life and land on your feet. In the few instances you cannot see where you are going, you must have faith.
Live in the moment, but remember your goals for the long run.
You may not win the battle but that loss might still help you win the war. It’s okay to fail today, only if you use that failure to prepare you for your next success.
Be honest with yourself and with those around you. Don’t ever try to be anything other than who you are. This is especially true with regards to those who trust you. Don’t ever present yourself as anything other than exactly what you are to the people that trust you.
Don’t feel guilty for your choices, especially when you’re choosing your passion.
Keeping a different schedule does not mean you keep a worse schedule. The people that care about you and love you will adapt.
Have a plan.
You can get by just winging it, but if you really want to achieve your goals or at least make progress towards them, you must plan ahead.
Don’t hold back.
When you decide to do something you must commit. You can’t hold back, you can’t stop halfway through. Once you’re in it, you have got to throw yourself into it. If you don’t, you’ll run full speed into the vault or only complete half of a flip and land on your head. Go all in.
Needless to say, there is so much I have learned from gymnastics
I have learned one more thing, but it’s been in the brief time I have not been coaching – I’ve learned that gymnastics means more to me than I ever knew. I can say for certain, I already miss it like crazy.