How You Should React to Falls and Bad Landings

It has been a while since I have written here because of technical difficulties I have now conquered. And I come to you today to share content from our social media platforms that attempt to answer questions about how I react to falls and bad landings.

How You Should React to Falls and Bad Landings

The following is from the description and caption sections of two of our Instagram posts. 

November 9th, 2022

The Caption

The question of why I ask my athletes to stay down after they fall reoccurs on social media.

There are two reasons for this. First, it’s important to take time to assess the accident and ensure that no injury has occurred. I have witnessed injuries made much worse by pressure exerted on the affected part of the body.

Second, falling can be scary for the best of us and often has strong psychological effects on the athlete’s emotional state. It’s essential to mitigate the adverse impact of falling on a person’s well-being and future performance.

We need to make this approach the norm in gymnastics and all sports. As coaches, our main concerns should be our athletes’ progress and safety.

November 11th, 2022

The Caption

Once again, I find myself replying to questions about how I react to falls and bad landings. Apparently, I’m too soft, and at my worst of times, I’m glorifying failure.

My detractors have called me weak, too soft, and that I’m “raising the next generation of snowflakes” – whatever that means. To those who oppose my athlete-first approach, I say: if any of the labels you throw at me imply caring for my athletes’ well-being and showing compassion for them, I wear those labels proudly.

In this case, the athlete landed her double-back wrongly. She didn’t open in time and landed on her knees. Keep in mind that this athlete has mastered her double-backs on other surfaces like the trampoline and fast track. It was her first day doing them on the floor.

I went down to her level first, and as I’ve explained in previous reels, to keep her from moving too fast. Landing on the knees from such a height and with so much speed can put pressure on the lower back and cause injuries. Getting close to her face allowed me to gauge how she felt, and to ensure that she was okay.

I’ll finish with this. If you need to yell at an athlete after they fall, or your reaction is any other than genuine concern for the athlete – you don’t belong in the gym – or in any position of caring for people.

Reply from a respected colleague about bad falls and landings

All I require is effort. I would never get upset with a kid for making a mistake or messing up. You have to, you can’t learn anything without making mistakes..

Only time I genuinely get upset is when an athlete is mad because they make mistakes, just keep trying you’ll get it..

Now Coaches who get mad because an athlete messes up or fails should not be Coaching, their only inducing trauma.

— Coach Fred

Coach Fred is absolutely correct. I wish we lived in a world where we never have to contend with questions about this, but we don’t, so we continue moving forward with the athlete-first mission. 

Thank you for reading

Coach José

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