Everyone’s life took a unique turn with COVID-19. Some of you might have spent time working out and practicing gymnastics in your home or yard. Others stayed busy learning new TikTok dances, catching up on your favorite shows, sending Snapchat photos to friends, or gaming online. We all coped differently.
Most gyms are opening back up. How are you feeling about returning to practice after such a long break? It’s okay to be excited, anxious, or even apprehensive. All of those are normal feelings.
Transitioning back into regular practice isn’t something your coaches would want you to be intimidated by. They understand that these unusual circumstances have affected everyone differently.
Here are five tips from coaches to help make your return to practice successful.
Take it Slow and Steady
You might be eager to start back where you were before the COVID-19 break, but don’t push yourself too hard. It’s best to start by working on basic skills while doing strength training and conditioning.
Start where you feel safe and comfortable. As you feel stronger, both you and your coach will know when you are ready to start working on more advanced skills.
Attempting advanced skills before your body is ready will increase your risk of injury.
Many athletes watch themselves on video after a performance to perfect their skills. What if you could watch yourself before you perform?
Visualization is a powerful technique that gymnasts are encouraged to utilize. Try closing your eyes and taking deep breaths as you relax your body. Now, mentally watch yourself successfully perform a skill or routine. Taking the time to visualize yourself before, during, and after practice has many positive benefits.
Visualization takes practice, but as you get better, you will find that you have more focus and mental clarity, and you’ll start to feel more confident as you perform.
Communicate with your Coach
Coaches care about your emotional health and well-being. They want to support you in every way they can. If you are ever struggling with something, your coach will want to know. Open communication about your feelings will help build your relationship with your coach and improve the way you work together.
Get your Gym Bag Ready
Is your gym bag clean, stocked, and ready to go?
It’s been a while since you have used your old grips. Take them out and gently work and bend the leather in your hands. A new season means new grips! Order your new grips now so that you can start breaking them in and alternate your old grips and new ones while you get back in the swing of things.
Make sure that you have two or more sets of wristbands so that you always have a clean pair ready to use.
Keeping your personal equipment clean and sanitized is more crucial than ever. If you haven’t already, make sure that you have your gym bag packed and prepared for your big return.
Go Easy on Yourself
You will be out of practice, and you won’t be the only one. All of your fellow teammates have also been away from the gym. During your time off, you probably weren’t maintaining the same activity level as you were before.
It will take time for your body to adjust to regular practices and training. Start by working on your strength and flexibility. If you need to take more time than you anticipated, don’t be hard on yourself. Prepare to be sore, and set reasonable goals and expectations for yourself. Be kind to yourself, and have fun!
With the right attitude, expectations, and preparation, your return to the gym will be a success. We hope that getting back to practice is a fun and exciting time for you!