In Coaching, Gymnastics/Tumbling

June 02, 2015

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Learning gymnastics skills can be frustrating, but Dave Durante explains why the return is well worth the investment.

Be patient and limit frustration.

These are the first two points on a list I share whenever I’m speaking about gymnastics to a new group of CrossFit athletes.

The reality of the situation is that if your goal is true mastery of gymnastics skills, the timelines are not measured in hours, days or weeks. They are measured in months, years and sometimes decades.

While this statement might be discouraging and frustrating for a lot of athletes, the primary focus should be the process itself, not the end result. Many athletes fail to realize the importance of learning and growing stronger on the road toward ultimate goals, and many stop trying because of perceived stagnation.

As athletes and coaches, always respect and take pride in the process of development. Gymnastics skills are not and should never be thought of as all or nothing. You don’t have a muscle-up or not have a muscle up. You have a work in progress somewhere between the first tentative attempt and absolute virtuosity. Every skill develops on a continuum, and small improvements have incredible value and transferability to other skills.

One of the most fundamental aspects of working on gymnastics and body-weight movements is the building of body awareness: the understanding of what the body is doing from fingertips to toes within space and time, whether the body is upright, inverted or somewhere in between. It’s about being able to control your body rather than having your body control you. Imagine what improved body awareness and control could do when applied to other CrossFit movements involving objects such as barbells and kettlebells.

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1 Comment on “Gymnastics: The Long Journey Worth Taking ”

1

Chris Sinagoga wrote …

David,

I really liked this article and it comes at the perfect time for me. I shared it with the kids at my gym because I know they get frustrated when I hold them back on not only handstand push-ups and ring stuff, but all movements (considering there are gymnastics elements in everything we do).

"These improvements are not always as obvious as a 10-lb. snatch PR..."

That is a great point. I think as a gym, we are a little weak in the area of gymnastics strength and it's harder to get people to buy in because it'snot as black and white as adding one pound to a bar. I actually wrote an editorial on our site called What is Stength? that talks about how Barbell strength is just a portion of overall Strength - along with Gymnastics strength, Athletic strength, and, of course, Country strength. Here's the link (w/f safe)

http://championsclub.squarespace.com/home/2015/3/30/what-is-strength.html

But like I said, I really like the overall message of your article. Hope there are more to come.

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