Completion Mode Vs Performance Mode
Answering the age-old question of
‘Why don’t my flyers perform in the air’
Of all the valuable lessons I have learned through trial and lots of error in coaching, Completion Mode vs Performance Mode may be the most important. In an industry that not only puts a lot of emphasis on the aesthetic, but also assigns it a competitive value (performance, technique, creativity, showmanship, overall impression scores), teams scores don’t just depend on what they do, they depend on how they do it.
As one of the creators and administrators of the Small Cheer Gym Association Facebook group, which is a fb community dedicated to Small Gym owners and coaches, the question, in many forms, that is asked constantly is “Why don’t my flyers perform in the air?” Its usually followed up with “they are flexible, work hard, the group is good enough to nail the stunt, but for some reason they never turn it on and create ‘A Show.’
For me the answer to this question lies in asking yourself are the focused-on Completion of the Stunt or the Performance of the stunt. Because it’s very hard for kids to do both.
In LuxeLand (the Luxe Cheer universe lol) we define being in Completion mode as: when the stunt group is concerned mainly with making it through the stunt. They are actively focused on getting from the starting point of the stunt or pyramid to the end.
The completion phase will vary per group on the team.
Some may be out of this phase fast, while others stay in it for a while.
In this phase they do not trust that they can make it to the end without concentration on every moving part of the stunt and most likely there’s one or two sticky parts of the sequence that they repeatedly miss.
The most important thing to take away from being in completion mode, is that it will almost ALWAYS lead to:
A lack of timing across groups
Inaccurate building formations
Inconsistent performance from your flyers.
Increased stress or anxiety from the group or team
When the athletes are concentrating on just making it through, it leaves no room for details, faces, and growth. And the longer they stay in this place, the more likely you are going to start seeing bad attitudes, frustration, and anxiety from your team members.
As coaches, we put a lot of pressure and stress on ourselves to create and compete the most perfect, win-able routine from the start. We know the grids, the rubrics, the magic numbers and who our competitors are. And we know what skills it takes to be unstoppable. We also know the full potential of the kids in our programs. But knowing their full potential, or how they need to be pushed can cripple us.
So how do we get out of Completion Mode and move into Performance Mode???
Modify the stunt or section of the pyramid that is causing the issue. If 2 out of the 3 groups have no problem with it, leave theirs and take out the 3rd. Knowing your magic numbers (the number you must hit in that section to score in the range you are going for) helps this tremendously. MAKE THE EDIT
2. KEEP THE KIDS IN THE LOOP
When you modify, explain. “Suzie, were going to take out your switch up lib and just do a straight up one for this event. We only need 2 not 3 to score high and I really need you to focus on nailing the dismount.” The older the team, the more likely they believe they know the scoresheet, remind them that their job is to trust your edits. Trust your gut and your edits.
3. REPETITION WITH POSITIVE REINFORCEMENT
Once you modify and get them on board, repetition is key! Have them do the modified section numerous times and point out the good, you as the coach, need to get excited for the good. Help them celebrate the little achievements and growth.
4. MAKE IT FUN!
Games, contests and candy will make superstars out of your tinys all the way up to your open college level athletes. Break up the monotony.
5. REMEMBER NOT TO MAKE YOUR ROUTINE ABOUT A SINGLE KID, SKILL OR SELECTION
If Suzie cannot hit a skill, or will not throw it, take it out and move on. I know it can be so frustrating, but you are letting the one skill or section define the whole team. You may not be in the range you want if you pull a skill, but what’s the likelihood it will be done correctly, if at all, on a competition day? Find another place on the scoresheet to make up what you lost. I.e Lose .2 in standing tumbling difficulty but gain .3 in technique with the ones who are solid.
Once the kids KNOW they can all hit the routine that’s in front of them, you will immediately see a difference. The anxiety of uncertainty is what keeps them from rising to their full performance potential.