Here we are in the final weeks preparing for the 2017 New Zealand Gymnastics Championships. Carmel Leslie, Head Coach at Dunedin Gymnastics Academy, shares with us a coaches perspective on the lead-up to the pinnacle event of our competition year…
“For a coach, this is an exciting and rewarding time but it also comes with its challenges. It’s that fine balance of intense training and keeping them injury free and with a good mindset. Knowing how hard you can push each individual athlete to ensure they are at peak physical fitness but also that their psych needs are being met. Training routines can become tedious so as a coach we need to find novel ways of keeping them motivated and fresh, so when they head to Nelson they are jumping out of their skin ready to give it their all.
It’s always great to come out of the long winter and bounce into spring training, leaving behind all the winter ailments, the layers of polyprops and the energy-sapping cold weather. The gymnasts (like the new spring lambs) are getting a bounce back in their step and are really looking forward to heading to Nelson, super proud to be representing their Otago province.
“Positivity and maximum effort” is our motto leading into the Nationals Campaign. We have a big emphasis on getting good sleep, eating well and keeping well hydrated as well as taking time to relax and stay on top of school work. Personally, I love this time of the season, where the gymnasts become more focused and purposeful and can see light at the end of the tunnel, which means fun, learning new skills and summer training. We are in the process of tapering, decreasing the duration of our workouts, increasing our intensity and getting creative with training outside of the gym – nothing like running Jacobs ladder (over 200 steps) then heading to St Clair beach for a refreshing swim lol. Lots of visualisation work is done when weary bodies need it or injuries need time to heal. We are also in the process of goal setting for this competition as it plays an important role in how the gymnasts both compete and react to their performances, assisting them to keep on-task and realistic about what they want to achieve.
So with that in mind, we look forward to our Nationals campaign, bringing great positivity and energy to the competition, supporting our fellow gymnasts from other regions, enjoying the week in Nelson both inside and outside of the gym and bringing that Otago flavour to the competition floor.
Bring on Nelson, bring on a great National Championships and bring on summer!”