CGA Pumas - Girls Level 3-8 Update

Pre-Season 2014

Pre-Season Training

Pre-season is the time when we shift from working on skills, to stringing together sequences in preparation for routines. Gymnasts should expect less skill acquisition and more skill refinement during the pre-season. That being said, we will continue to offer incentives to work on higher-level skills. However, they will need to prove sequence and routine readiness instead of simply skill readiness to work higher-level skills.


Level 3 girls are hard at work mastering the building blocks of their vault skills. The handstand flat fall is key in transitioning to a front handspring vault. Levels 4-7 will compete a front handspring vault this year, and will be given opportunities to work on advanced vaults when they show a high level of proficiency on this skill. Level 8s are working diligently on their flipping vaults with a progress chart that adds height to their landing mats every two weeks.

Uneven Bars

Sequence difficulty will increase every 1-2 weeks, with drill stations designed to aid in adding the skill to the overall sequence. Next-level drill stations will be considered the next hardest skill to add to the routine in the coming weeks. The girls will have “ladies' choice” time when these drill stations and current weekly sequences are mastered (done without more than 1 small deduction per skill). This will allot them time to work on any harder skills they like, including skills from their current level or a higher level. Around the beginning of November, the kids will start doing their actual competition level routines.

Balance Beam

Our pre-season will be spent working multiple element routines (routine skills in sequence without choreography) each day. This will give your gymnasts the chance to do a high number of repetitions on their skills, while also building their routine endurance. Choreography will be worked on separately to focus on fine-tuning and will be done with 1-on-1 attention whenever possible. Advanced skill opportunities will be offered after completing routine assignments.

Floor Exercise

As we get closer to the beginning of season the girls will be expected to do more things that resemble routines. There will be more tumbling on the floor itself rather than the sting mats. Sting mats are used a lot in the off-season to aid in injury prevention. During the season the gymnasts are more prepared to know exactly how it feels to take off and land any new passes. Floor passes will also be done in succession on the 40ft X 40ft floor itself. There will be more tumble track endurance challenges as endurance becomes increasingly important for routine acquisition.

Strength & Cardio

The girls will continue with the strength lists we began in last year's post-season. Many of the girls have progressed onto harder versions of these lists and we are so proud of them! The girls work to show each exercise at a specific level of form and reps before they can move on to the higher level of strength. We do our best to give the kids all the tools to understand the exercises and give them ample to to develop the strength over a month’s time. After that, it’s up to them to take on the responsibility to move up. Each exercise in these lists is an important part of strong knowledgeable gymnastics. The kids have gotten much stronger and just as importantly they understand how these exercises effect the skills in their routines. We will continue this strength through end of the Fall 1 session, before scaling back slightly in Fall 2.

Cardio strength will increase slightly in Fall 1, & cardio and maintenance strength will increase greatly in Fall 2. There will be one day of cardio/endurance in Fall 1 along with the strength training lists. All of the girls will do cardio on Wednesdays. Keep an eye on our Facebook page on Wednesday nights after the optionals practice for our weekly #SweatySelfies! In Fall 2 we will move to 2 days of cardio /endurance days and the remainder of time on maintenance strength.

Getting Enough Sleep

It’s easy to go to bed late during the summer when there’s nothing to wake up for in the morning. It’s also easy to eat and nap sporadically when your schedule is so flexible. This is all changing rapidly now that the fall is here. The kids are back to a tighter schedule and it takes time to adjust. Now that we're moving from the summer to the fall session there will be a number of changes mentally and physically for the kids. One way to get ahead of these changes is to plan on getting good sleep.

There is a lot of focus put on strength and flexibility when considering necessary tools to be a successful gymnast. However, the more time spent in the gym, the more diligent an athlete must be with their recovery. Eating healthier is an important tool that Mike highlighted recently. Getting enough sleep is also vital to the your gymnast's daily routine. There is more sleep than just getting in bed at the right time and waking up at the right time. It takes time to fall asleep at night and to fully wake up in the morning.

In the Morning

Early bird gets the worm
It’s easier to wake up when you have the energy to do so. A big breakfast will get the kids metabolism going to be alert in class. It will set your gymnast up to succeed throughout the day. Eating a big breakfast will get them early to bed and early to rise, so parents can get a little sleep of their own!

Light a fire

Temperature has a lot to do with waking up. Part of getting your body alive and moving is to start a little fire. Not a real fire, but you get the point! Jump into the shower like a moth to the flame! Get the kids a breakfast from the griddle; get them moving with a pet or sibling. In the end it’s about doing something that gets the heart rate up, if even just for a minute.

At Night
Be the “cool” parent

You can also use temperature to help your gymnast the fall asleep. The cooler they are, the easier it will be for them to fall asleep at night. When they’re cozy lying against the cool side of the pillow, their heart beats slower. A cool shower is a relaxing way of getting them ready to fall asleep…Caution: may cause serious bad hair days and late night trips to the bathroom! But hey, we're not advising the ice bucket challenge or anything! ;) The goal, as always, is to strike a balance.

No food before bed, dude

Eating less at night helps deplete all that endless energy the kids have! It’s best to eat dinner before practice when we finish at night. Keep in mind it’s important to at least eat a balanced snack before and after practice to help recovery. A quick snack right after practice will diminish hunger before bed. Prior to bedtime your gymnast should be slowing down the metabolism that we so carelessly sped up in the gym! A nightly routine will slow them down much better than adding calories. It’s also difficult to fall asleep in the middle of heavy digestion.

Counting sheep is not a bedtime routine

If you want good sleep, it’s best to let your mind listen to ebbs and flows of your body. But what if your body just isn’t getting tired when your parent, and your own mind are shouting in harmony “GO TO SLEEP!”? Slowing down your gymnast’s body is easier than shutting off their active imagination. You can realign their biological clock by taking them through the nightly motions earlier in the night. Brushing teeth, wearing pajamas, and reading in bed are all good ways to signal to the body that it‘s sleepy time. Television and other screen time should not be included in this bedtime routine. Screen time has been shown to keep kids awake later.