Tag Archives: gymnastics

Selling out (100th Post)

Freshman Year

I thought it would fun to go back in time for my 100th post.

Yes, in high school I was a gymnast and then a diver in my junior and senior year. One thing I learned from the two sports was to “Sell Out.”

Senior Year

Senior Year

Whether it was doing a tumbling run that ended in a forward flip or working on my reverse one and half in a pike position, I had to sell out.

Selling out meant trusting your foundation and going for it.

Selling out was important when learning a new routine or dive. If I didn’t sell out to the dive I wouldn’t learn it, and most of the time I would hurt myself with a wicked belly flop. But think of a twisting rotating belly flop. And if you are wondering, yes you can belly flop on the floor mats when doing a tumble run for the floor exercise in gymnastics.

This blog isn’t about all the hard work that goes into the fundamentals, the small steps, but long hours one takes to build strength. It is about those moments before you are about to do a routine on the high bar or attempting, for the first time, a forward 2 and a half forward dive.

Selling out doesn’t eliminate fear, but the mind set allows you to attack the fear. Focusing on selling out pushes the fear to the back of your mind. A moment of honesty here, to calm my nerves I use to sing “You’ve Got It (The Right Stuff)” by New Kids on the Block. I even had a judge ask me what I was singing before I attempted my dives. We all have unique ways to get our mind focused.

Selling out doesn’t even guarantee success, however, it does allow us to recover from failure or a rough spot to be able to succeed. In the 1988 Olympics everyone remembers this dive from Greg Louganis…

But most people forgot he actually came back from that moment to win the gold and he won the 10-meter platform gold, too.

Selling out isn’t just for athletics, though. Life presents us with moments to sell out. To stand moments away from testing our foundations, to see if we can move to the next level. Maybe it is changing jobs. Maybe it is connecting with your family. Maybe it is just going after a goal you keep putting off. But too many people walk away from the diving board.

It is safe that way.

Selling out will not eliminate fear; it is no promise of success. So why sell out? Because, to be honest, it is the only way to find your greatest moments.

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Where does the Learning go?

Photo courtesy of Centura student Angelica

What do your students do with their homework once you have handed it back?

Photo courtesy of Centura student Angelica

I battle with this issue even today, in some ways even more now that I do not have a classroom to even display some of the work my students would do.  What do my students do with their homework?  There are times that a worksheet is a great tool for a lesson, and I expect those worksheets to end up in the recycle box.  I might have used them as a note taking activity. Then using the worksheets, have a class discussion.  As a teacher I try to build assignments that intertwine or build on each other.  In the English Composition class, the students wrote two speed essays that are to be building blocks for their persuasive essay.  But are my students already condition to see their school work as disposable, and worse, unimportant?

Photo courtesy of Centura student Angelica

This morning I checked my kids’ homework, the same worksheets they have been doing all year.  My second son has a 100-math problem worksheet; he gets it right every day.  When can he do something else?  My second son also gets a ring of flash cards to study every couple of weeks.  When the unit is over, he hands that ring of cards back in.  Supposedly, never to interact with those words again (there is an app for that).

My second son has been participating in gymnastics this year.  We started him with the beginners, a 45-minute session.  He is a typical boy, knees and elbows always bruised or healing from a scrape.  He jumps, he tumbles, he would live in a jungle gym if he could.  Halfway through the first six-week session the gymnastics teachers asked us if they could move him to the next level.  He had progressed quickly through the basics.  If you have ever coached a sport, this is how it works.

Start with the basics; build on the basics to improve performance and expectations.  The basics are never forgotten; they are reinforced in different ways throughout a practice. Both the coach and the athletes also develop their expectations of performance as skills improve. Then comes game time, the reason for the basics.  The time to express the skills and expectations.  The really interesting part is that no matter if the game was a victory or loss, there will be a practice.  There will be adjustments, basics will be reinforced, and expectations set for the next game.

This morning I checked my second son’s 100-math problem worksheet.  He got it right again…

Photo courtesy of Centura student Angelica

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