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We thrive when we have limitations... When we look around and ask, "ok... how can I do this and still be awesome?" You totally can!

Structure and consistency. These two things will keep kids engaged, safe and having FUN!

I remember a time when, as a coach, I use to demonstrate EVERYTHING. I was young, and loved doing gymnastics whenever I could. So, naturally I would use my body as the instrument of communication, showing them the exercise myself, being the visual example for kids to learn the material.

Until a mentor said, “ok, but can you teach it without showing them?”

This blew my mind. I quickly realized coaching is not show and tell, or a chance to prove to these kids that I was the expert. Coaching is more talking than demonstrating! So I worked and worked to become the coach that DIDN'T HAVE TO DEMONSTRATE and still see my athletes making meaningful progress.

A few years later I would get the next big “Ah ha moment” when I watched a training video on teaching a back handspring WITHOUT SPOTTING! Again! Mind blown! This coach had drills for the drills! They were absolutely dedicated to the spot-free system, warmly setting the expectation with the athletes and with a total commitment to consistency. "We move on when", was the key phrase that the students heard over and over.

So, here we are... in a world where spotting kids in recreational gymnastics and ninja is probably not in the best interest of safety (barring injury saving spotting). Here are some great


Do some research! Find all the places you're missing opportunities to spot-free drill techniques and add them into your progressions. If you had 5 backward roll drills, try to find 5 more! If kids can do all 10, they probably won't need a spot.

Check out these fun forward roll drills! YOUTUBE: 10 FUN Forward Roll Challenges!


Repetition is one of the most important forms of learning. Make sure kids get in those QUALITY reps before moving to the next skill or drill.


Get creative with your skills and drills! Smiley faces, themes, games, creativity exercises to get their brains thinking about their skills differently and to keep them engaged through their increased repetition load.


Have them verbalize their expectations! For each skill or drill, SAY what you're looking for from your students, then have them say it out back to you.


Allow your words to communicate the smallest pieces of the learning puzzle. Get micro in your corrections, and then make sure they can REPEAT that micro information back: "my fingers face this way to keep my wrist safe when I push."


Say the same thing to EVERY student, and every time you see the change you want to inspire. This will help with learning through repetition, becoming an expert, and allowing every student to feel like they are getting a shared experience.


Let your students know EXACTLY what happens next in the learning process, and what expectations you have for them before they will be making that leap. They should be able to voice it to you!

Coach: "Emily, when can you move on to the next exercise?"

Emily: "When I have strong, straight arms on my casts."

Coach: "Excellent! Go show me!"

These concepts are ALL PART of the NINJA MONKEY PROGRAM! We are dedicating to great teaching, whether it's Ninja or Gymnastics! Learn more at!

For more tips like this one, check out the blog here.

Reach out with your ideas!!

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