Depositing Pennies in the Bank
Our coaching staff talks about the importance of depositing pennies in the bank daily. In this analogy, pennies are small amounts of drills, strength, reps, etc., adding to significant results. So often, when it’s time for a new level, athletes and coaches face a giant hurdle of upgrades and new skills to overcome. Even when learning a new, difficult skill – If starting from scratch, it can seem overwhelming. Coaches can help alleviate significant roadblocks, stress, and frustration by making small daily deposits towards skills.
Putting pennies in the bank requires having an idea of your long-term plan.
Example – I know that in my perfect world, all my athletes should be able to perform three backhand spring step outs across the beam around level 8. So pennies in the bank would start with my level 3/4s doing consecutive walkovers, level 5s doing connected handsprings on the floor and laser beams, then building up from there. I would give them every conceivable way of completing series connections successfully. When it is time to advance, they’ve been through the motions successfully on multiple occasions. It’s comfortable and confident for them vs. becoming a big scary, insurmountable hill for them to climb.
If you think you might want to teach an athlete a Tkatchev in the future, you can make slow, gradual deposits through the years. Introduce tap swings with dramatic shape changes, back extensions to stand-ups, jump catches on the bar, tramp bar drills, etc. Then, when it comes time to learn the actual skill (the Tkatchev), all of the pieces have already been sorted – you just have to put them together. Without ever knowing it, the athlete will have spent years developing the necessary actions, strength, and coordination for a Tkatchev. Also, starting to create the entirety of the skill at least a year ahead of the competition requirement will allow the athlete and the coach to avoid frustrations caused by timelines and competition pressure. A few good turns and drills a day over time will result in a solid, confident skill.
Front giants and jaegers – be sure to introduce hanging in under-grip, front giant taps, handstands in under-grip, blinds, etc. well before it’s time to start the skills in their entirety.
Keep one eye on the future!
We apply this concept to almost everything in the gym. Level 4s working layouts successfully? Try a jump half or one or two halves onto a safe surface. Rocked your beam routine? Do some drills for aerials on the floor. Are you killing your compulsory bars? Let’s do some lifters for paks. Ideally, we will constantly put in deposits to withdraw for the future.