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Bring A Stuffy To Train With You!

Training Log #9:

This may sound like a weird concept, but in reality a stuffed animal is one of the best training tools out there. #FreestyleFreddy, the official FTA mascot and our training assistant, is many things; including: a motivator, a distraction, a visual stimulus, a training tool that visually demonstrates biomechanics, a measuring stick and a great training buddy all wrapped into one cute stuffed animal. When I use Freddy to coach, he always brings a smile to an athletes face just because he looks so darn cute and is fun. Where most coaches try to be serious, I try to be fun instead, even with Olympic athletes. Andre Hoeflich, from Snowboard Germany, has trained with Freddy for several years on the trampoline.

A stuffed animal is a distraction in the best possible way. When an athlete is bored, tired or just frustrated with a skill or drill, ‘randomly’ popping up a stuffed animal to play with can distract the athlete from those negative thoughts. Research shows that just the presence of a stuffed animal in a room will make children less stressed and even make adults more ethical.

A stuffed animal is also a visual stimulus when used in a drill. It provides athletes a place to look that is more emotionally engaging than just a chalk mark on the ground. It also allows the coach to give tactile cues to the athlete which solidifies the circuits, better than arbitrary visual or verbal cues. Try having athletes catch a stuffed animal after a quarter turn during a back flip to force their brain to think about the cause and effect relationship of their body and the way it has to move in order to catch a stuffed animal.

Stuffed animals can easily show basic movements to athletes and become a measuring stick. If I need an athlete to go ‘farther,’ I can easily have the athlete move the stuffed animals to specific locations to have the athlete jump father, turn more or try harder. It is also a play toy that kids and adults all love and can destress a tough drill by changing up the stimuli. It is also a great tool to create confidence through confirmation. If the athlete sees the affect on the stuffed animal, they are creating cause and effect relationships, which is really what gymnastics is all about. When they drop the stuffed animal, it was not the coach’s fault. The athlete failed something and it is very obvious. For all of these reasons, I suggest a coach encourages athletes to bring in their own stuffed animals or get a range for access in the gym. I use stuffed animals about 25% of all my trainings.

Follow @FreestyleFreddy_official for more fun drills and skills and for your daily dose of fun! And of course, as Freddy says, "Start every day with a #FreestyleSMILE! :)

~ Greg Roe

For more learning tutorial videos, please visit the FTA Online Training Page or become a member to access our full library of over 100 videos on proper progressions Freestyle Trampoline Association


Stuffed Animals Make Adults More Ethical:

Stuffed Animals To De-stress:


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