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Don’t Be Scared To Start At 100%

Training Log #11:

Most students in University are taught that you must start your training with a nice warm up that warms up the body and gets the blood flowing. However what isn’t taught is that sometimes a shock to the system is the best training modality. I have seen athletes come into training half asleep because they just do the same warm up over and over again, which we have previously discussed, so it does not actually wake-up the athlete's brain.

Once every few weeks or so I like to have my athletes start their training with their hardest tricks without a long or standard WARM UP! I expect my athletes to arrive for training with some amount of warm-up and they should all be doing their conditioning outside of training. So to mix things up and get that 'fight or flight' circuit going I ask them to get up from a cold body and throw down a routine. You might think this is impractical, but in reality it is a great measure of how prepared the athletes are to go from "Zero to Hero" with no warning. The best athletes are the ones who can adapt and turn it on 100% in a moments notice and still perform.

When you are travelling the world and competing for your club or country, it is easy to lull yourself into a false sense of security and assume you will have adequate warm-up time, that the equipment will be perfect and that everything will feel the way it did last training. However, by looking outside of gymnastics, you realize many sports require the athletes to think quick and be able to adapt in a seconds notice, even when their body is not feeling 100%

For this reason I suggest coaches ‘spring’ unique concepts at their athletes such as:

(1) No Warm Up And Do An Optional After 3 “one-touch”

(2) Throw Your Hardest Trick Into The Pit With NO Warm Up At All

(3) Wake Up At 5am For Special Training At The Gym

Many coaches and athletes get into a rhythm and the ease of this rhythm, makes them forget that in life and in sport things can go wrong, so this forces the athlete to be in a position where they have to mentally force their body to work even if the body is not 100% willing. Every 5 am hockey practice felt this way to me and eventually I became accustomed to it. Now, many years later, waking up at 4 am for overseas meetings, or to finish up a proposal before my in-box becomes full, is no big task.

When you compete, you may miss the bus to the venue, forcing you to take less turns. Your Federation may mess up their accreditation forcing you to wait while you miss precious warm-up time. At one of my Internatinal competitions, Team Canada forgot to pick me up from the airport so I arrived at training an hour late and only had time for a few bounces before competing the next day.

Prepare your athletes to activate instantly long before they figure out that they can’t on competition day!

Greg Roe


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