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Tricks vs Elements

Coaches! I want to talk to you about the culture of your facility, the language that you use when you are teaching students, the words you use to describe the work that we teach and how it can impact the way your students view the work and approach the work.


I’m talking about ‘Tricks’ vs ‘Elements’.




What language do you use?

Did you know that it can have a profound affect on how your students view the work?


A trick is a stand alone, a one off.

An element is part of a bigger picture.


This differentiation is really important when you are trying to build a safe, progressive program. The getting in and out of an element is just as important as the final moment, the part that you students consider the “trick”. It’s not about being able to throw yourself into it, crossing your fingers, and hoping it works out. It’s not about doing it one time, checking it off the list, and moving on to the next trick. It’s about knowing where your body in space at all times, about being able to control the entry and the exit, about seeing where it could go next. Its’ about creating a consistency in the work. That’s where the beauty lies.


I have a rule with my students, in all apparatus, but in particular with the silks.




“At any point during the preparation and execution of the element I should be able to call STOP, and you have the strength and control to back out of it the way you went in.


This rule means that they firstly must know the exact process they need to go through to execute an element. It also means, most importantly to me, that they have the strength and control to reverse the process. They are never ever just throwing themselves into it.


I encourage you to listen to yourself and see what language you use. Can you switch your focus and language from trick to element? Can you switch the culture of your facility to one that sees more than just the ‘wow’ moment, but the beauty of how you get there.





Not to be a downer, but remember, we literally have the lives of our students in our hands. This is a great honour and it should never ever be taken for granted. No matter how comfortable we are with our coaching skills and the abilities of our students, this is an inherently risky work and one accident can change a students life permanently. We must never forget that and always operate from a safety first standpoint.


Next week we will continue the conversation about culture and talk about drops!




Safety is always first!


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