Last week I wrote about setting goals to help you accomplish your gymnastics dreams. For those of you that have gymnastics goals that involve improving and being the best gymnast you can be, I want to help you achieve those goals!
If your goals are more about having fun, and enjoying gymnastics (and that is great!) this article isn’t for you.
After hosting the last two challenges, it has become so clear to me that the real key to success in gymnastics is….consistency!
I know this might seem obvious, and it might be ridiculous for me to try to “convince” you that consistency is the key. You might be thinking “duh, Jessica!”.
But the challenges have made me see it so clearly, that I feel like I need to tell you about it and how you can apply these principles to your own routine.
Consistency is the Key to Success
I think all of us, as gymnasts, can agree that gymnastics is a pretty tough sport. In what other sport do you have to flip over a 4 inch beam? Or run as hard as you can to launch yourself over a table.
Well another very tough sport to compete is triathlons, specifically the Ironman. An Ironman triathlon consists of a 2.4 mile swim, a 112 mile bicycle ride and a marathon 26.2 mile run. Any athlete that excels at Ironman triathlons, knows how to train.
In an interview, 6-time IRONMAN champion Heather Wurtele says,
“consistency is probably the most important aspect of her training, and is responsible for her consistent improvement over the years.”
She also says,
“I think people assume that they have to have these epic sessions—and of course there is a time and place for high-intensity sessions or long rides and runs—but the bulk of the work is just getting your four-plus k’s done in the pool every day, or heading out the door for another 50 minute aerobic run…In my experience, it takes years of consistent work to make big gains in the sport, so you have to learn to embrace the process.”
So basically (in gymnastics terms) what Wurtele is saying is that it’s not the marathon weekend practices that make the difference, it’s showing up to all the weeknight workouts, and putting in time daily.
With this thought in mind, how consistent are you?
How much time do you work on honing your gymnastics skills?
I’ve written before about the power of repetition, and how it helps you learn and master new gymnastics skills. Consistency of effort is a similar thought.
How much time each week do you work on improving your gymnastics skills? Take a look at the chart above. Let’s look at the middle example. Do you spend 6 hours/ week at practice, maybe 3 practices that are each 2 hours long ? Over the course of a month that is 24 hours spent working on your gymnastics skills.
If you add in a 20 min/day home mini-workout session, over the course of a month you will have added 9.3 hours of time spent honing your skills. That’s like having an extra week and half worth of practices every month. Who do you think will improve more over the course of the month–a gymnast that spends 24 hours in the month or one that spends 33.3?
The answer is a no-brainer, the second gymnast.
I’ve seen this principle of consistency in practice with the challenges. The winner of the Press Handstand Challenge, Lily, started the challenge not being able to do any part of a press handstand. You can see in the video below, her first “press handstand” where she is on her head.
And then in the second one, even though she hasn’t completely learned a press handstand yet, she is able to do the handstand from her feet and then the second half of a press handstand–lower to straddle sit.
With just 20-ish minutes a day, over the course of 30 days she made HUGE improvement! There are so many other examples like this from the two challenges. (You can see them on instagram under the #skilltrakker and #gymhqhandstands)
Think about what you can accomplish with 20 minutes a day over the course of a month? and in a year?
How can you be consistent in your effort?
So, how can you be consistent in your effort? Here are some tips to help you become consistent with your practice and training.
Find a Training Partner
Finding a training or accountability partner is one of the tips that many articles mentioned in order to help you be consistent with your efforts. You can pair up with one of your teammates, or a sibling and motivate each other and hold each other accountable to putting in the effort each day.
One of the great things about participating in one of the challenges that I put on through SkillTrakker and Instagram, is that by posting videos every day of your workouts you are holding yourself accountable to the GymnasticsHQ community. And everyone is there to help encourage you to keep going!
Set Short Term Goals and Work to Hit Them
Another tip to help you put in consistent effort, is to set short term goals and then work to hit them. If your goal is just to improve your gymnastics, that won’t be very motivating every day. But if your goal is to improve your handstand, or your splits over the course of a few weeks or a month, that will be a much easier goal to work towards.
According to this article, when Michael Jordan first came to the NBA in 1984, his outside shooting wasn’t as good as other professional basketball players’. He put in gym time in the off-season, shooting hundreds of shots each day. He improved a ton and became an excellent 3-point shooter. Michael Jordan was working towards a specific goal, he put in extra time towards that goal, and crushed it.
This is another reason why the challenges really help it’s participants get results. The goal is very clear– every day for 30 days you work towards improving one gymnastics skill. At the end of the two challenges run so far, everyone that has put in the work has gotten results.
Hang out with Successful People with Positive Energy
One last tip I have for putting in consistent effort is to hang out with successful people that have positive energy.
Motivational speaker Jim Rohn famously said,
“You are the average of the five people you spend the most time with.”
I definitely believe this is true, and think about this when I’m making life decisions. If you want to be a successful, motivated person then it helps to hang out with others that are hard working and have a positive attitude.
If you want to get better at gymnastics (or anything in life), then make sure when you are at the gym or in at school that you are spending time with people that also want to improve. This is another reason that the challenges have been great. You are virtually “hanging out” with other gymnasts that want to improve as much as you do!
Applying the Consistency Principle
Hopefully after hearing an anecdote about Michael Jordan’s effort and that 6 time Ironman champion Heather Wurtele believes consistency is the key to success, you are now a believer!
How will you apply the consistency principle in your life ? Will you get an accountability partner? Will you work on setting short-term goals and then working daily towards them? Or will you join the next challenge I host ?
I hope the answer is that you will be joining the next SkillTrakker challenge, and then the accountability partner and setting short-term goals will be taken care of for you!
But either way, I hope you take the consistency principle, and use it to help you get incredible results like I have been seeing in the challenges!