Not going to dance around it, the topic of changing gymnastics training culture is by far the ‘elephant in the room’ that most people are dealing with. Due to a variety of different reasons, many people are becoming more aware of the need to embrace new ideas take bold steps to change the culture of their gym’s.
This comes with some really tough moments of self-reflection, personal development, having tough conversations, and in some cases realizing that maybe the people involved in a gym’s culture aren’t the best fit. What people often don’t talk about is that it also takes a ton of time, patience, work, and honest communication between all the people who are part of the culture.
I know all too well what this process feels like, as over the last 5 years I have been in the trenches of trying to help with gymnastics culture change. I’ve experienced it in all forms through working with the gymnasts at our gym personally, working with gymnasts at Champion for medical injuries, having gymnasts start to come to do our Summer Performance Programs that involve weight lifting, or consulting with various programs around the world.
A few universal themes always seem to shake out. These include taking on more personal accountability, building a set of values that prioritizes a gymnast’s health and trying to build good humans along with developing high-level gymnastics, and also not shying away from some uncomfortable conversations.
Many times the root’s of these cultural problems revolve around coaches/gymnasts fearing the judgment of coaches/parents/other gymnasts, personal insecurities, and fear of the unknown to embrace change.
Today I have a massive podcast where I sat down with my good friend Rupert Egan to talk about the realities of trying to change a gym’s culture, and the people involved in it. 5 years ago, we both stepped into new gymnastics facilities that were in desperate need of culture change for safety, performance, and health of the athletes.
We both had great intentions of change, and the first thing we got was a harsh dose of reality that we needed to be more accountable to change ourselves first. In this podcast, we first talk about what was making the culture so tough to work in, why coaches/gymnasts were getting burnt out as well as hurt.
Then we talk about the main things we did to try and help improve the training environment, along with a whole list of mistakes that we made along the way. From there we discuss what we ended up finding was really useful, and finally, chat about the progress that people can make with a new approach to training.
Ideally, one that makes coaches happier with their careers, gymnasts happier with training, and parents also trustworthy that gymnasts are getting treated well and are moving to their goals.
I hope everyone finds this brutally honest conversation between Rupert and I helpful!
The SHIFT Show How To Change Your Gymnastics Culture
An Honest Discussion About Mistakes and Uncomfortable Conversations
Hope you have a great week!