Leading anything can be really nerve-wracking, particularly for someone like me; so leading something on my own for the first time was never going to be easy. Part of the problem was knowing that the other coaches were really experienced; I didn’t want to explain anything wrong, because they would know and it would have been embarrassing for me. The first time I led on my own, I was explaining a flying technique. This was probably the best way for me to start because I know the flying technique well and was able to deliver this to the athletes, even if I was on the quiet side!
As the season has progressed I’ve taken on more responsibility in sessions; this has included leading the coaching for the jumps section of the routine, as well as conditioning for the athletes. When leading the jumps I focused on making the jumps cleaner, and the motions sharper. Leading this without a coach has helped develop my confidence because it shows I’m trusted to do the job well. It has also helped my relationship with Prodigy team members.
The first time I helped an athlete achieve a level 1 tumble skill was great! You get to be really excited for the athlete, while also having a sense of pride for yourself- you got to share that special moment with them. The first person I helped achieve a back-walkover was a girl called Sophie Halter. I’ve known Sophie for a long time, and when she made Prodigy I was determined to help her achieve the skill. The first thing I did was help Sophie on her bridge kick-overs using the decline wedge. This would help develop the flexibility in her shoulders as well as the important core strength to hit the handstand split. After achieving this, our next step was to develop her confidence so she could start working on the floor. To begin with, Sophie started by putting her foot on a wall, dropping down to bridge and using the wall to kick over. She progressed to the point where she was able to do it unassisted, so I moved her to the floor. I was nervous and excited for her, but when a she hit it I was overwhelmed. I watched an athlete try a new skill for the first time, and had helped her do it!
My first competition as a coach was at Legacy Cheer and Dance regional event Just Believe; it was a fantastic experience! It was a whole different atmosphere than what I’m used to. I was full of conflicting emotions- not only was I competing, but I was going through the same intense emotions for the team I was coaching; I really hoped their hard work would pay off. When Prodigy were on the mat waiting for the music to play, I was filled with adrenaline because I was so excited to see them perform. They were amazing! When they finished I was so happy and it was made even better when we found out that they’d won. It inspired me to work even harder when we got back to the gym so we could go out and challenge at Nationals.