The mention of my coaching is a good conversation piece. I love the praise and attention this part of my professional career gets me. And though there are more, I want to share a funny question I often have to answer when I talk about my coaching.
As I said, there are more, and they come in many forms. Most of my interlocutors’ questions relate to the sport’s technical aspect.
How do you learn this? How do you do that? Do you have any tips to improve this? and so on.
Of course, I must be careful when answering questions of this type. Giving gymnastics or tumbling instruction outside the safe confines of the gym is unadvisable.
And then, there are the questions I look forward to because they have to do with weird habits coaches develop throughout our careers. Habits that often confuse people who aren’t coaches.
One of them is like this.
How Many Kids Do You Have?
One of those coaching habits is linguistic. As coaches, we tend to refer to our athletes as our kids, which, as you can imagine, is interpreted differently by regular folks.
We call them our kids because most of our athletes are young. At least in gymnastics, the vast majority of the members are below the age of sixteen.
Make no mistake, even those who are older are still my kids and will continue to be for the rest of their lives. Or mine.
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There is a common sentiment in our field that we raise our athletes in the sport, as we are responsible for their safety, progress, and the consequences of behaviour in the gym.
Communication with parents and guardians is constant to establish and maintain proper expectations. At least it should be. And those of us who are sensitive to the psychological complexity of the young humans in our charge are open to regular communication.
It’s an endearing habit. It reflects a sense of profound responsibility for our athletes’ well-being.
Answering The Question
The adorable or frightening reactions of those who hear me say that “one of my kids did something new,” could fill pages of stories. And I might share some of those anecdotes in time.
My reply to these inquiries is as I described above. Mostly, it is accepted and followed by adoration for my position as a teacher. However, scepticism about my story sometimes results in messages left on read and unfulfilled romantic possibilities.
Their loss, of course. I have countless entertaining stories about what my kids do and say daily.
I’ll definitely share them here soon.
— Coach José