Friday, September 02, 2011

35 days until World Gymnastics Championships...

There's 35 days left until the beginning of the World Gymnastics Championships in Tokyo. This competition also serves as the first Olympic qualifier. The pressure is on.

For the Canadians, they have their work cut out for them. They need to be top 8 in order to guarantee full teams to the Olympic Games. At last years Worlds in Rotterdam, the men were 14th and the women were 13th. There is no room for mistakes in Tokyo if they want to travel to the Olympic Games with their teammates.

With 35 days to go, this is the time to buckle down and start committing to excellence. Every turn needs to be done with intention. The details need to be perfected. Consistency, team building and confidence should be the priority. Every gymnast should be in a position where they know they WILL hit their routines - the big question now should be: how GREAT can I make my routine?

Each gymnast and coach should be assigned their roles. Every gymnast should know where they stand in the line up. Every coach should know who will be on the floor and what each gymnast needs them to do or say before their routine so they feel comfortable. Everyone should know how to execute their job seamlessly. Ego's should be left on the sidelines. The teams need to be teams - not just a bunch of individuals wearing the maple leaf. 

The gymnasts should be forced to come to the gym each day with a detailed plan. It should be demanded that they take ownership of excellence. Each day, they need to be a little bit better than they were the day before. 

The gymnasts should also be using a lot of mats in training to stay safe. Safety is essential at this point - everyone needs to be feeling strong and healthy. Feeling healthy leads to confidence and momentum. Fluke mistakes are the only acceptable ones at this point. Mind games are unacceptable.

The gymnasts should be put in pressure situations NOW. Olympic qualifiers are stressful and we deal with stress best when we know what kinds of thoughts and feelings will come up. Meaningful competition scenarios should be created in the gym so the athletes can stand on the podium in Tokyo and feel like it's just another routine. 

The gymnasts should be working on visualization and positive self-talk. You can't DO the perfect routine until you can see yourself doing it. That's a fact.

With 35 days to go, this is when it starts to feel like the hard work is paying off. The hard part is done. Now is the time to switch gears into warrior mode and start training like a champion, not just another competitor.

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