I was recently asked a question on a gymnastics community group; how do you stay motivated during these difficult times?
The whole gymnastics community is facing testing times, from the financial pressures that the consequences of repeated lockdowns have had on clubs, to the uncertainty of whether the Tokyo Olympics will actually go ahead.
I returned to training back in September and was able to train for two months before the November lockdown, and then a few weeks training before Christmas. This wasn’t at my original club – unfortunately, that never re-opened for adults post-lockdown. I know that there are many adult gymnasts in the same position, despite British Gymnastics giving the green light for us to train before lockdown. It has been a frustrating time and the uncertainty of not knowing when this next lockdown will end is very demoralising.
I mentioned in my previous blog that I was fortunate to be able to sign-up for various online training sessions, some hosted by national squad members and also coaches too. That’s been extremely helpful for keeping me motivated, not least because the sessions are pretty hard going so if I made it through, that in itself felt like an achievement!
I’ve started to see a few clubs are running adult focussed Zoom sessions over February. Please do continue to share these as there may be times that they are suitable for one person but not for another. My experience of attending these kinds of sessions has been really positive. You don’t need to have a home gym, loads of fitness equipment, or even loads of space. The coaches leading these sessions design the sessions so that each activity can be adapted. A really great example is bars conditioning to build strength for bars. You don’t need to have a floor bar or anything that resembles this. You can roll up a tea towel or use a broom handle to help with the arm positioning and you’ll spend time working on dish and arch rocks as well as core strength. You can also go at your own pace, so if the set is 20 but you can only manage 10, that’s fine!
One of my other tips for staying motivated has been to set myself personal goals, such as skills I want to accomplish. Can you do a full spin already and perhaps work to increase that into a double spin? Or maybe you could work to get more back and shoulder flexibility so that when you’re back in the gym you could get that back handspring or walkover? Sometimes it’s also helpful to have small, medium and big goals that you can work towards, so you can feel like you are ticking off achievements as you go along.
I finally got around to buying myself a phone tripod the other day (rather than trying to angle it unsuccessfully on stacks of books), so expect to see lots more video content on my Instagram page (kat.pugh7) over the coming weeks! Being able to film myself is also helpful because I can see how much progress I’m making. The height I’m getting on my switch leap has really improved, including on my dodgy back leg. It’s also meant I’ve been able to work on getting it a lot straighter quicker, although that is still a work in progress.
Finally, it’s worth using this time to really work on conditioning. I heard someone say the other day that conditioning was 80-90% of gymnastics. It might seem like forever before you can throw a tumble again, but if you do the hard work now it’ll feel easier when you can.
Stay safe everyone!