Monday, March 30, 2015

Hide and seek

For some reason, this is a classic for ALL ages.  We play it in camp with team kids, and they get more creative with climbing and hiding.  With the younger ones, they love having an obstacle to hide in or under.

 I use panel mats and parachutes as little forts.  Those big donut mats work great as a fast hiding spots for your group.  These pictures are actually of a big easel that we were using.  Those girls would go in and out and in and out for a long long time,

Hiding not only creates fun for the class and athletes, but you can create fun hiding spots that work on skills.  I use things like sit in the fort and count your toes in a pike, do 10 v-ups, hold a plank, try a split, etc.  Kids find it fun, and you can work in the basic drills and conditioning that can be boring.

One last tidbit, as a coach, one of the best ways to get a hold of you class again is to grab all your kiddos attention by saying "come on!  let's go sneak over hear and hide!"  They immediately jump in every single time.  It's a super easy way to get those distracted kids back engaged in class. 

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Adding Fun!

When I set up circuits, whether it be for parent-tot, or team, I always try to work in one fun station.  For team, I try to add something that might be a station trying a new skill, or a contest.  For preschool, I try to sneak in a fun skill training station with some of the "trickier" skills we will be working on that day.   The fun station is always one that the kids can do without me there spotting.  

You would be surprised at how many kids don't use slides these days.  Slides are great for all the following reasons:
  • They are great for conquering fears for little ones with the height and speed that they can go.  
  • It is also good for teaching safety (always go down the slide not up, and always go down toes first!)
  • Slides also work on body control and core strength!  They have to hold their bodies upright.
  • Safe landing positions.  I use a target at the end of a slide to teach our "stick it" position as they finish their turn.  Slide down to stick for "one gymnastics two gymnastics".
Not only all these, but another reason why you should have a slide is that they are super easy to clean in your gym!  I am all about things that are easy to sanitize for the little ones.  Birthday parties, camps and field trips love them too!

Sunday, March 22, 2015


I have seen kids who have terrifying fears of going backwards.  I think that all stems from not going backwards enough as a little one.  From those frogs legs from fears of going backwards in back handsprings, to doing back flips, it all is from an original fear of going backwards.

I like to do a lot of drills of going backwards, especially small drills they can do by themselves.  I start normally with just backing up walking backwards (I have them pretend like they are in a car of truck and make the beep beep beep beep noises as they back up).  Walking backwards leads to jumping backwards, to hopping backwards, skipping backwards, crawling backwards, crab walks backwards, etc.  

Saturday, March 21, 2015


Sometimes, everyone needs a rest. Some kids won't need a rest, but if a kid needs a break, please let them. They'll be back up and ready to go in less than a minute. No worries needed :)

Now before you think about kids getting lazy in class, just know this tip is for your beginners and parent tot kiddos. I see parents who want to get all their kids energy out...but they don't seem to realize that kids tend to be marathon runners when it comes to class. 

Rest time is a good singing/stretching time to reinforce learning during class. Then they'll be up a hundred miles an hour with better gymnastics afterwards. 

Friday, March 13, 2015

Row, row row your boat

Songs are the greatest!  Pardon my not so great voice, but preschoolers don't care, so don't be afraid to sing yourself.  This is a student that I do private lessons with and one of his favorite gym songs!  Songs grab preschooler's attention.  They also give you a leadership role in the class if you need to grab the focus back to you, especially if you are the one singing and it is not just a cd.    

Now, not ideal for stretching, so please don't use this to teach preschoolers to stretch pikes.  But I have found this is perfect for teaching the pike position!  Before we sing the song, we go over what that position is called and what it should look like.

Notice that his pike is not perfect when we sing.  That is OKAY.  He will learn.  It will take a couple times practicing it.  

As a bonus, I throw in a rough teach of the tuck and roll position at the end of the song.  

Thursday, March 12, 2015


Here's another one of my favorite props but this one most everyone already has around their home!  Even if you don't have a Frisbee, you can use paper or plastic plates instead.  

This first video is a drill I use to teach skating/gliding skills.  One foot in each Frisbee and slide from one place to another.

This next one is a great one to really work ab and arm muscles in little ones.  Older ones can do this one non-inch work style.  They can hold the push up position and pull the Frisbee with their feet.

And the last one for this segment will be one of my favorites with older kids for relay races.  Little ones love it too because it is just plain old fun!  You can do it crawling or on your feet to work more pike flexibility. 

Thursday, March 5, 2015


Kids love fun colors to play with!  These are some of my new favorite props at my gym.  Fun colors, soft, and easy to clean and sanitize!

Building blocks are a fun coordination station to help kids to slow down and think about what they are doing.  It is also a safe, independent station that they can work on while you are busy helping another child or setting up the next station.  

For older kids, having them pick up blocks with their feet and stack them makes it more challenging!  It is fun for the kids and helps build their core strength (try having them hang from a bar and do it).  

These blocks I ordered from Target.  Right now they are priced at about $65 for a package of 12.  One kid doesn't need 12, but maybe going in with a couple other families or buying a set for your gym will work for you.  

Monday, March 2, 2015


Little did you know that the crawling that gymnastics teachers are having your child do is helping their development!  All those tunnels, sneaking through the gym, pretending to be a snake will build them in a way that walking does not.  

Here are five simple ways how:

1)  Teaches eye tracking with hand placement- Eye tracking has been proven to lead to better reading and cognitive skills

2) Strengthens arms

3) Strengthens torso

4) Increased hand-eye coordination

5) Decreased Tonic Neck Syndrome (head is better able to be supported upright)

What can you do to help?  Find ways to encourage crawling!  Here are a couple of my favorites that I use in class: pretend to be different animals, crawl up and down surfaces, crawl under things or through things, crawl to sneak away from the bad guys and using their hands to touch or hit different props as they crawl.

Even as they get more advanced and older, crawling leads to knee scales and balance skills on the beam, table drops on trampolines and towards handstands, cartwheels, and hand grips on the bars!

Happy Crawling!