In general, recreational classes are classes where many gymnasts sit together. In my experience, they are also often classes for which few (good) assistants are available. Over the years I have tried a lot to get results in my recreational lessons and therefore in this blog some tips from my own experience.
When I started teaching, I mainly kept the style of teaching that I was used to. I was always lucky to have been in recreational gymnastics classes where there were enough assistants. There were always three apparatuses set up (jump and beam alternated) and we got assignments for each apparatus. That is also how I started. Because of this, the gymnasts sometimes stood still for a long time and we did not do much more than the fixed parts per apparatus.
When I took the level 3 course, I was offered a different vision. It took me a while to see the benefits of this, because it felt to me as if the gymnasts were given too little time on apparatus or too little time for a particular element. For example, the breaststroke would only get attention once every so often.
However, during, and especially after, the course/training I started to see many advantages of the method of setting up your lesson with 2 cores instead of around 3 devices (as I was used to). Especially if you are alone in front of the group and still want to get some results.
If you work with two cores, you must have many different exercises for the cores to get all your gymnasts going. Fortunately, this is easy to do. There are plenty of exercises and that makes it fun for gymnasts, because they don't have to do the same thing over and over again, but they are still working on the same goal! They may only do the handstand at one station, but at the other stations they work just as hard on finding the right lines.
Many of the exercises are also easy for gymnasts to perform themselves. Ideal when you have few assistants! You can also put many gymnasts to work at the same time, because there are plenty of exercises that require little or no equipment. Because of this they will be bored a lot less!
By defining the exercises small and changing them every few minutes, you do not have to keep giving new instructions. Try to have exercises ready that they can do alone, so you can walk around and give instructions.
Exercises on paper (or with a video)
For a while I worked with groups according to level within a lesson and each group got its own exercises on paper. If, for example, you want to do straight jumps and offer them some variation, it can be useful that they don't have to wait for new instructions all the time. With a list they can get started themselves and for the younger girls you can also add a picture.
A disadvantage is that they go through the exercises very quickly and are not really busy improving. It is therefore important to put the focus on something that they can all pay attention to and that you yourself also come and look at a few times. In case of straight jumps, this can be the landing or the height of the jump.
Helping each other during recreation lessons
If you don't have assistants, you can also have the gymnasts help each other. With a clear focus for that lesson you can encourage them to help and correct each other. Who knows, this way you will also catch the eye of potential assistants!
The best thing is of course if you do have help! Especially if you want to go the extra mile with older girls. But I think a lot can be done this way. Do you need help with ideas for partial exercises? Then take a look at the videos of Gymnastics Tools!