So as promised today I’m going to tell you the 5 things that are absolutely essential when starting an elite track program.
Talent identification – Elite programs are not for anyone so talent is of course a must. The earlier you can do this, the better. If you can get a group of 4 year olds in the gym twice a week – that’s GOLD. Talk to your rec coaches, tell them what you want. Tell them what the requirements for your program are and who may have natural abilities. Ie. the kids who have natural chin-ups or leg lifts. Getting other coaches to help you help in that 1) everyone in the gym is invested 2) you’ll get a bigger group to pull from.
Parental support – The parents need to be on board with the time commitment that the program will be. For the super talented 7 or maybe 8 year old testers an extra 2-4 hours a week may be enough. But truly if you want the gymnasts to eventually be on a hopes or elite path you’re talking about training upwards of 20 hours a week in order to get the skills and drills ready. So you need to communicate with the parents that the hours will scale up probably much more quickly than in a normal JO program if this is something they want to pursue.
Time – YOU and the gymnasts need to be ready to put in the time. This may mean practices before school, or starting a homeschool program. But an elite path especially leading into as gymnasts get older requires a time commitment that’s hard to manage without a lot of time in the gym. Be ready for it, make the parents ready for it.
Requirements – Be crystal clear about your requirements for taking kids to testing. It can be something like “they need to max out 3 of their physical abilities.” But tell parents and gymnasts what it is, and track it, and stick to it.
Perseverance – Some years are going to be great, some years aren’t. Don’t pin all your hopes on one kid, and don’t get discouraged if your kids don’t make national testing or teams the first few years. Be patient. See what works and what doesn’t. But most of all, know that this program works, and trust it and your coaching.
Building an elite path athlete #2: You can order the full guide (for instant download) – that has 90 minutes of drills and videos and a 100 page ebook HERE.
Last year level 4s and 5s:
These things will give you a solid start to building an elite track program. If you want even more help, The Guide to Building an Elite Track Gymnast is now out! You can order it HERE to get your hands on 90 minutes of video, physical ability progressions and a 100+ page ebook to help you on your journey.