Winning At What Cost?
By Coach Brian Keith Shrewsbury
Winning at What Cost?
Focussing on doing good for kids each day is the main focus of MGA Gymnastics. Our main purposes have never been money, prestige or bragging rights, its always been to do good things for kids. Winning is important of course, and what kids, parents and coaches strive for. But as an owner of MGA, I expect our staff to make our kids experiences with us winning, too.
Over 5 years ago, there were some changes with our company and we needed to grow our programs. We all decided we wanted to affect more kids in positive ways. After 25 years of doing good for kids in our business, it was time to take some risks and expand. I had coached kids for over 25 years, day in and day out, and I felt that I did have a positive affect on my athletes and I wanted to grown that experience.
I realized that I could not grow a good thing just coaching; I needed to concentrate on growing our business and allowing our values and business model to develop. In 2008, I decided to take a sabbatical from the day to day practice schedule and focus solely on the business. I never meant to take more than a year off from the sport I loved, but I soon realized I needed to. My one year turned into two and then three, and I began to realize that I had a new job, and new responsibilities. I now had the ability to take my knowledge of gymnastics and teach other teachers to do it instead of just myself. I look back at my 25 year career coaching both boys and girls, and the Elite gymnasts that I coached too, and I am proud of what we all accomplished. I looked down the path ahead and a passion began to grow inside of me to what I had learned over 25 years and affect more students in better, different ways.
From Winning Competitions to Winning in Life
During those coaching years, I made some mistakes and placed too much emphasis on winning and connecting that to my students. I would get negative and sometimes forget that the people I was coaching were also students I cared very much about. Our practices became excruciatingly long, very strenuous workouts, and were not enjoyable for anyone. I did however developed great gymnasts, and we were winning and creating a name for ourselves. I began to feel dissatisfaction in myself and my team, and my gymnasts were doing the sport for the wrong reasons. My athletes would work hard to say out of trouble with me, and to please me and their parents. When gymnasts stop performing with passion and just start pleasing those around them, the wining stops and the frustration begins. Failure became very real over the next 5 years and we stopped winning. My gymnasts stopped having passion for the sport, and they were not too crazy about me as a coach either. It took me many years and most of my 30’s before I learned that success comes from a mix of passion, believing in my athletes and showing them unconditional love when they win or if they fail: there are lessons to be learned in both
Our Vision Today
Today we run two successful gymnastics businesses. I still coach with passion, I just use my coaching knowledge in a completely different way. Today my duties include guiding coaches and programs, making sure there is funding for growth, and making sure that all of the people that work for MGA are nurturing and passionate. At MGA, I believe that we have just the right mix of the right coaches, the best facility, and the culture and values to make great athletes. We also have something many gyms don’t have: a great experience for kids to grow and develop as they grow from tiny humans into adults. We value the experiences that these very precious young people will have with us, and we want MGA Gymnastics to be remembered for good and for winning.
Be Warned About Bad People
The world of gymnasts attracts both good and the bad people, like many sports. Over the years, I have seen some pretty horrible behavior that hurt the sport of gymnastics, but mostly hurt the kids. In a sport obsessed with winning, it will attract those coaches and parents that must win themselves through their students or children. Some coaches encourage their parents to recruit good kids from other teams, to undermine other programs. Nothing can tear a child apart faster than a coach that is teaching a child poor values and parents that follow these bad coaches and demonstrate poor values in front of their kids. Parents should always remain the parents being the moral role model they need, and coaches should coach gymnastics and maintain a healthy non-stressful environment for their athletes. When we stand together as a team, working together, supporting each other we offer a strong experience and long lasting good memories for our children. When we win we feel great, and when we fail, its our team that should be there to bring us back up and encourage us to try again.
Striving For Success is a Process not an Event!
While we always strive for success, we must also strive to keep the right balance in our programs. Coaches, athletes and parents doing good things for our kids is the most important thing we can do. Our athletes are expected to have courage, integrity and a good work ethic, so should our parents and coaches. None of our athletes are losers when they learn these values. Success in sports, school and in life are developed by experiences both good and bad. Gymnastics will not last forever for our students, and they will take their experiences good and bad into the world. It is our hope that they will leave us having had a good experience, high achievement and the valuable life skills they need for continued success in the real world. MGA will do good things for kids first, create a positive culture second and support our programs and coaches to build passionate, successful and happy athletes.
Day Time Classes Begin Sept. 19th
- Tuesday 10AM and 11AM (1 Hour Class) Ages 2-5 year olds
- Thursday 10AM and 11AM (1 Hour Class) Ages 2-5 year olds
Go to www.mgagymnastics.com for more information about ages, class times, cost and how to register. You may register for the 3 month session or monthly.
From The Bottom to The Top!
From the Bottom to the Top!
By Coach Brian Keith Shrewsbury
A Cheer Teams Beginning
Our cheerleading team started over five years ago. We started out with a small tight bunch of kids and parents. We were proud of our group, and the girls worked really hard. Our team only had about 6 kids. They practiced three times a day, and many of them started out with no tumbling, no jumps or even any ideas about cheerleading. Our coaches worked with them everyday, and encouraged them to be the best they could be.
Our team had set backs along the way. Some of the kids and parents undermined our team, but the core of our kids and coaches kept on going. Our kids would learn new skills and begin to get better, and those students would leave us to be recruited by another team; the environment in Cheerleading is very ruthless. Our coaches and our kids would adjust and never quit. We struggled over the next 4 years to make our mark in the cheerleading community over and over again.
This past year our team persevered and had a winning year. The kids worked together, the parents pulled together too, creating a great organization. Our team is right in the middle of some of the best squads in the industry, but we began to make our mark. Our coaches and our parents worked so hard with our team to produce better and better routines. The team ended this past season on average much better than any of the previous years before. Then tragedy hit yet again for the MGA Storm Allstars; our two head coaches walked out, recruited by another team, and took most of our squad. It was heartbreaking because they did not take everyone, and the students they left were devastated.
This year we are in a rebuilding year. We have started a recreational team with recreational classes. We want to train our kids from the ground up with MGA values and solid tumbling and stunting skills. We are still looking for the right coaches to be the strong leaders we need to once again be an all-star squad that can compete against the very talented teams in Orlando. MGA will reach the top, build our team with good values, and with the support of good coaches, parents and awesome kids have that team we are hoping for.