Guest Post – Justin Laury

Hi All,

I am very excited to share today’s post which is a phenomenal guest post by Justin Laury.

Justin coaches at Splitz Gymnastics in Michigan.

Without further adieu here it is:
Thank you Zari for the opportunity to participate in your blog. Swing Big is a very informative site! I absolutely enjoy and appreciate the work you have done!

Today I’d like to share a few philosophical points that have been taught to me and that I use now as a coach. During my 20+ year gymnastics career, I’ve had over 14 coaches who have helped shape me as a gymnast, person, and now coach. Each coach has individually imparted something valuable into my life, which has helped shape my own personal coaching philosophies. I am truly grateful and honored to have had such positive role models and examples in my life.

Here are a few things I have learned over the years, both as an athlete and coach…..

Like in life, gymnastics is a process. This is a lesson I learned during the latter part of my career, while training at Houston Gymnastics Academy, under the guidance and coaching of Kevin Mazeika. Everything we do has a process. It’s during the process that we are shaped and developed into the individual we are striving to become. I’m soliloquizing here, but often times as coaches and athletes we encounter unnecessary frustration and stress when we expect immediate results. Success takes time, often times years upon years! It’s a process!

Another lesson I learned, and now stress to our athletes, is that if you want to achieve something in life, the only person responsible for that is you. This was very foreign to me earlier in my career, but I later adopted this principle and now encourage and challenge our athletes to do the same. I think this is one of the most empowering philosophical ideologies because it reveals where the true power of success lies. When the athlete learns how to line up their thoughts, words, choices, and actions with what they truly want, coaching becomes more of directing and less of dictating.

For young athletes this can be a hard lesson to learn because they are, by nature, accustomed to doing things that feel good. They often times haven’t yet developed the resiliency and toughness or even the understanding that doing things that are hard is a crucial part of the process. This however, is very important because it teaches commitment, integrity, and self value. It may be hard, it may not come easy, but I will not give up. It’s just where I am in the process. We like to encourage our kids to think this way! If it’s easy, it’s not worth it.

Gymnastics, like life, is a journey where the outcome isn’t revealed to you until the end. It’s not what you become, but rather who you become through the process, all the way to the end of the journey, that matters. It is important that our kids not only know that, but feel that. The extrinsic rewards are what every athlete chases after. Paradoxically, it’s the intrinsic rewards that bring true value in the end.

I’ve been coached by all different types of coaching styles and personalities. What I’ve learned is that as long as you stay true to yourself and coach from the heart, athletes will respond. When you love compassionately, it inspires those around you to be better. It helps you to look at things with a positive set of eyes. It allows you to connect on a much deeper level that goes beyond just gymnastics. It enables you to discern when to push, when to empathize. It allows everyone to open up their hearts and collaborate in a more meaningful and reciprocal way. Love together learn together, grow together.

Thank you,

Photo Credit: Region 5 Insider

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