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Gymnastics, Cheerleading and Dance

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Number Based Progressions

By James Parent
As a coach I find it difficult to keep athletes motivated to do progression drills once they finally do a skill for the first time. The thrill of being able to do the skill distracts them from wanting to do the lead-up drills. Take a back handspring for instance- an athlete will do thousands of jump backs, back handsprings over a barrel, and other shaping drills before they try a back handspring by themselves. Then, after they do the back handspring by themselves just once, they don't want to go back to the drills.

Any coach or a parent knows that doing something ONCE does not mean you have mastered this skill. In fact, in the path of skill mastery, the first is only one of many, many more before an athlete masters a skill. So how do you get those kids to understand the importance of those drills even after they have successfully accomplished the skill?

I propose you try this: make a plan with the student that they need to do 10 (or whatever number you deem safe) of the lead-drills for every one attempt of the actual skill. If they can do this without missing the skill once then challenge them the next practice to do 9 lead-up drills for every one attempt. There are a couple of things that this process accomplishes. [Read More]

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