Over the years, I've come to a realisation:
Athletes can be coached by the best technical coaches around, but if all they focus on are the technical aspects of gymnastics, that athlete will NEVER reach any serious level.
It might be a sweeping statement, but it's true, and I'll go even further:
An athlete with tremendous potential and the genuine opportunity to become a world class athlete will NEVER get there if all their coaches focus on is the technical side of gymnastics.
Maybe you agree with me, maybe you don't, but I can promise you that I'm telling the truth.
But despite this being "the truth", it's just not reflected in our community today.
And not because coaches like you don't have their athletes' best interests at heart.
I'm yet to spend time with a gymnastics coach who doesn't love what they do, and doesn't want the best for their athletes, but sometimes that desire for success can manifest itself in the wrong way.
It can lead the coach to spend all their time focusing on the technical side of the sport, as a result of the mistaken assumption that just coaching an athlete to be technically better will be enough to get them to reach their potential.
And I make no apology for repeating this: it is NOT the coach's fault, and it is NOT because they don't care.
In fact, it's the opposite. They care so much that they do hundreds of hours of research.
It's just that the stuff they REALLY need to know isn't out there.
Fire up YouTube, or head onto the various Gymnastics blogs, and you'll find that all the content is technical - that's just where our focus is as a community.
Just to be clear, there's nothing wrong with technical knowledge. In fact, it's vital. But it's not the whole picture, and if you're serious about being successful as a Gymnastics coach, it's vital that you recognise that fact, and then take steps to access that whole picture.
And that - in a nutshell - is what GymCon 2018 is for: to give coaches who care about their athletes' success a more rounded picture of what is required to help them reach their true potential.
At this year's conference, we'll be focusing on three specific areas that will have a HUGE impact on your coaching, your athletes and their ability to be successful.
From all of the work I've done over the last two decades, all of the clubs that I've visited, all of the federations I've worked with and all of the countries I've consulted in (over 14 at last count!), these are the three areas that continue to pop up as the main headache that stunts athlete development.
It's this information that I KNOW will have an instant impact on athletes when implemented.
It'll create positive change in the long run, not just short term.
It'll improve the quality of life of both athlete and coaches.
It'll help you to ensure your athlete has a far better chance of fulfilling their potential.