There is something awesome about working with tremendously talented Rhythmic Gymnasts, to arrive at Competitions and see the interest, experience the encouragement and I suppose the slight pangs of jealousy from other Coaches.
High Performance Coaching is far from glamorous and I believe there are too many Rhythmic Gymnastics Coaches attempting this level without really thinking through the pros and cons of this type of Coaching or really having the proper qualification to do so. That said, if you are truly passionate about it and know in your heart that this is what you would like to do - GO FOR IT!! There are definitely ways to make it work, but it doesn’t happen overnight and you need to have a solid, sustainable support structure in place.
Make no mistake, it takes incredible skill to be an excellent Levels Coach and those Coaches that have chosen to go this route have produced amazing results over the years and have built very successful businesses. This is due to their single minded focus on doing this really well.
Here are a few Pros and Cons for each - the list is definitely not complete!!!
- You can start off your business with minimal infrastructure (literally in a classroom)
- You're able to work with larger groups for a shorter periods of time
- You can work in conjunction with the school terms and take holidays off (I don't think this ever happens though...)
- The purpose of your lessons is to ensure that not only skills are taught but that the Gymnasts enjoy themselves and want to be part of the Sport
- There is tremendous job satisfaction in knowing you've helped develop a child's confidence, strength, co-ordination and agility
- You're able to enter your Gymnasts in Global Events, like the Gymnaestrada every four years
- Parents and Rhythmic Gymnasts may not be as dedicated as you would like them to be
- If your service isn't outstanding (i.e. lesson plans, well organised etc) you will have a high churn rate of Rhythmic Gymnasts
- It can be quite expensive to start the Sport from the Parents perspective (equipment, registration, fees, club leotard and tracksuit etc)
HIGH PERFORMANCE COACHING
- You only work with Rhythmic Gymnasts that show a natural aptitude towards the Sport
- This type of coaching is very focussed and results driven
- One can be very creative with choreography
- There is a possibility to participate in International Competitions around the World
- Finding a suitable venue that's available to you at all times is a huge challenge
- At times you don't necessarily work with 'little ones' but with Rhythmic Gymnasts who have come from other areas to train with you
- Your groups need to be small to ensure that you give the required attention to each Rhythmic Gymnast
- The more advanced the child becomes the more hours they need to spend training
- The drop out rates of High Performance Rhythmic Gymnasts can be incredibly high as this level is not for everyone
- There is an incredible emotional investment from everyone involved - Gymnasts spend more time with their Coaches at times than with their Parents!
- You're never really able to charge for the hours you invest as the majority of Parents would simply not be able to afford it
- School and Public Holidays are extra training days and long holidays are just not possible as you need the time to train
- It becomes an incredibly costly sport for Parents as there is unfortunately minimal funding from Government bodies
Whether you go the Levels or High Performance route I strongly urge you to become as knowledgable as you possibly can. Find a mentor, read as much as you can and watch as much 'good' Rhythmic Gymnastics as you can. Make sure that you're a qualified Judge (even if you don't judge) as you need to intimately understand how the Rules work.