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Tumbl Talk

Positive Coaching by Doug Davis

Posted on 2/6/2018
Some of you may remember the Choose Your Habits Clinics we offered a few years back.  They were a series of free educational sessions held across the country, hosted by Tumbl Trak in celebration of our 25th Anniversary.  Much of the vision for these clinics came from our founder, Doug Davis, whose philosophy of positive coaching, safe progressions and valuable education has been the cornerstone of the work we do at Tumbl Trak.

It seems timely, as the nation begins to rebuild, redefine and strengthen our sport that we revisit these valuable concepts we hold true to our mission.


  • Be the kind of teacher that helps students to learn and the kind of coach who prepares athletes well for competition.

  • Deconstructing skills is essential for safe progression - break skills down into the smallest steps and be patient with the process.

  • Early in the history of gymnastics coaching, spotting was essential for athlete safety.  Today, with access to education/knowledge, use of progressions, and advances in equipment, athletes can gain confidence and good habits in their skills to do on their own.

  • Practice sincerity in choices of words used in positive coaching.  “Good Job” and “Way to GO” can be used excessively. Earned praise can be impactful when timed with desired improvements and corrections.

  • Use conditioning is a privilege; not as a punishment.

  • Gymnastics is a venue for teaching life lessons such as discipline, courage, perseverance and work-ethic.

  • Respect is a two way street to be earned by coaches and athletes alike.

  • Gymnastics skills are unnatural to humans.  Misshapes will happen again and again as the body learns new habits. Be patient with the process.

  • When a student says I can't, challenge yourself to hear that as a signal they are not ready and back up a few steps until they ARE ready.