I’ve been posting a bit about my trip to Thailand on social media so I thought it was time to do a blog post about it. Currently I’m working with the Thai Gymnastics Federation coaching for them full time until I leave on April 7th. They’ve been incredibly welcoming, and I’m having a great time!
So, the question: what have I mostly been doing? Besides the everyday coaching of the gymnasts I’ve been doing a lot of planning in terms of workouts and future skill development.
The good that I’ve seen:
– Leg development is great (although glute strength could be improved)
– Flexibility and turns (on both beam and floor) are really good
– Single acro skills on beam are there and very polished
– The kids are incredibly respectful and hard working
What I’ve seen they need to work on:
– BARS, BARS, BARS – which admittedly is very difficult with the gym set-up but not impossible
– Beam series and connections
– Arm and core strength
Things to work around:
– THE WEATHER – It’s incredibly hot here, high 90s (and really there isn’t a cool – like we would think of in the states, time of year) – and there is no AC
– Lack of equipment – the equipment is in okay condition, there just isn’t a lot of it.
So with that being said – what have I been doing with the girls?
1. Conditioning 2x a day – beginning and end of practice. Beginning is basics – handstand holds, presses, shaping work, leg lifts etc. End is either arms and core or legs and core. When I’m doing legs I try to work all of the muscles. The girls seem to have great quads – but hamstrings, glutes and calves could use the same development. I’ve specifically been focusing on things that will help bars development as that’s the event they are having the most issues – so core gets a lot of time.
Sample Morning Conditioning:
- 3 rope climbs no legs as high as possible
- 4×10 L to L leg lifts
- 3×5 spotted presses
- 3×60 second handstand holds spotted for shaping
- 1 pass handstand walks fw, 1 pass bw
- 1 pass press walks
- 3×10 pike hs push-ups
- 3×20 overhead weight lifts focusing on round back
- 3×30 handstand hold on stomach on floor – round back, extended shoulders, flat hips
Sample Night Conditioning:
- 3×60 second hollow hold with bent knees – hands behind head
- 3×60 uppers (straight arms – feet in pike)
- 3×60 ankle touches (side to side)
- 4×60 mat jumps on resi
- 4×20 lean backs (on knees facing wall, and lean back)
- 3×50 toe raisers each leg with foot behind
- 4×20 jumping lunges
- 4×20 explosions
- 3×20 bent knee pushes each leg (lay on stomach bent one knee and flex foot, push up toward ceiling)
- 3×60 flexed foot pulses (lay out stomach feet about a foot apart, flexed, and off the floor – pulse 60x)
2. Working routine consistency – This is one of the biggest places I’ve seen them struggle. Great skills – but four falls in a routine. So we’ve gone back to if you fall on something in a routine you have to stick 5 in a row of it before moving on with the routine. The girls actually seem to really like this approach – and the amount of fight to stay on the beam has gone up exponentially (YAY!).
3. Taking more turns on bars – with only one set it’s hard. But bars and beam are next to each other so the group can easily split with two coaches.
4. Setting a plan and sticking to it – While my Thai is non-existent and the girls english isn’t fantastic, we do both understand numbers. So giving specific assignments with specific numbers that have to be done in a specific amount of time has helped accomplish a lot more than the “let’s just work for a while” approach. I also always keep my notebook out and check things off as they get done. Again, they may not be able to read my english (although they can a little) – but check marks are universal!
Overall impressions: While it’s still early days of implementing this new structure, conditioning and training plan – I’m already seeing some small improvements – just in terms of technique and grit, and wanting to get assignments done. Strength will come with time. I’m excited to see how much the girls grow before I leave. Of course with it being early days assignments, conditioning and the like are bound to change as I find holes, or things I want to add. But for now things are going swimmingly!