What is meet day like for coaches?

Jessie’s son with his coach!

“Meet Day” is a whirlwind of nerves, excitement, fun, and accomplishment for everyone! Gymnasts, parents, and coaches alike feel the intensity of it all–but not too surprisingly, they all feel it just a little bit differently!

For a gymnast, getting warmed up, waiting for their turn in front of the judge, and cheering teammates on proves to take up every conscious minute of the competition! The day starts and ends in a blink!

For parents, as I learned this month (at my very first official “Meet Day” on the parents’ side of things (!!!)) the day is certainly filled with excitement, but it certainly does NOT go by in a blink! I have a sudden gratitude (and guilt!) in my heart for the HUNDREDS of meets that my parents sat through to support me as a child and for the HUNDREDS of parents that have come to watch their gymnasts who were under my coaching care. Wow. Though they are hours well worth spending, I have since learned that they definitely don’t zip by the way they do for the gymnast and coaches. Thank you to all you supportive and patient parents out there!

So what’s it like for a coach?! Well, a coach has an entirely different experience (and perspective) than the gymnasts and the parents and we thought that by giving you a little peek into their day, you’d appreciate them just a little bit more than you might already do. It isn’t as easy as it may look.

From the get-go, a coach has the responsibility of making sure all of his/her gymnasts have their names on the roster, USAG numbers up to date, and that all of their gymnast have actually showed up. If you’ll notice, coaches have a “Coach’s Meeting” before the meet begins where judges introduce themselves, and the meet director explains any special instructions there might be, while reminding everyone of sportsmanship and proper orders of operation.

Then, while the coach lines up the gymnasts in the order of competition to take at each event (which is usually pretty calculated and strategic), he/she also organizes score cards, sets up proper mats or boards, and makes sure the judges are aware of anything they ought to know before each gymnast salutes.

As each gymnast takes his/her turn, the coach not only makes sure the gymnast receives proper pre-routine encouragement and then post-routine coaching, he/she is also responsible for making sure the score cards are received and delivered to the right place so that scores are properly reviewed, recorded, and then displayed to all of the patient (or not so patient) supporters in the stands.

After the meet is over, coaches gather the last of the information needed from the judges and hosting gym and then disperse any goodie bags, score cards, or treasures that come as souvenirs or prizes for participation.

Coaches keep pretty busy and don’t get a moment to sit down and relax–as a matter of fact, most often their nerves are buzzing with just as much worry and excitement as everyone else’s! Besides a few treats in the coach’s room, the only (but BEST) reward coaches get during meet season is a hard working, happy, and successful team!

The best way we suggest to help your coach during meet season is to get your gymnast to their meets on time, stay happy and positive during meets, and then continue to be great support systems throughout the season in practices as well as competitions! Coaches always want their gymnasts and parents to be happy–especially since they so willingly endure enjoy hours and hours of “Meet Days” all season!

– Jessie

Do you have any questions about meets or meet season? We’d love to answer them!
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