The Gymnastics Life
Most Optional athletes train around 20 hours a week give or take, and I think I speak for most when I say that 20 hours (4 hours a day) isn't enough. There's 4 events to get to and that doesn't include warm up and strength.
Early in my coaching career I would come up with elaborate warm ups, complex's, and strength routines. It was like world domination except for gymnastics workouts. The only issue is, it left no time for the most important thing. Doing gymnastics.
Recently, I've went with the approach of keeping the main thing the main thing. If we're sticking with 4 hours per day, I would much rather do a generic warm up with basics (15 minutes) and spend 75 minutes on bars or extra air awareness than 45 minutes on a warm up with basics and 45 minutes on bars (the bar rotation still includes a warm up).
Keeping with this pattern, I've shortened bar warm ups to one turn (for sure with level 9-10, level 8 and under still do longer basic warm ups). There's always tinkering to do but in a perfect world I would love for first turn to be something like this: 3 kip handstand kips, 3 drop kips, squat on, giant, giant, giant, dismount (double if they can). As the athlete progresses I would then subtract certain skills and add difficulty e.g. swing 1/2, swing 1/2, giant 1/1, double, or add toe handstand, etc. During season all athletes get a one turn warm up. Second turn is full set.
If you're looking at a real world example, I currently have a second year level 10 that we're hoping to add a major release to her routine. When she gets to bars her first turn is similar to the example above and then she immediately gets her heel pads and gets in the belt for jaegers. In a 45 minute bar rotation, she's getting 40 full minutes of jaeger practice and probably flips 3 every 4-5 minutes. While she's waiting to get back in the belt she's also doing supplemental stations. The point is, I'll take 9 more flips than 10-15 minutes of a shaping or other complex.
This is not to say there isn't value in complex's but at the end of the day I'm going to spend my time on what is essential to making that athlete successful and motivated, that could include a complex of some sort but more often than note it's going to be skill practice.
My next experiment is trying this with twisting vaults. We haven't had a twisting vault in 3 years and I'm seeing red. My plan is simple: one turn warm up, uphill on one station, twisting to pit or low mat in pit on the other station, cody twisting on tramp between turns.... ALL. SUMMER. LONG.
I think I'm on to something but then again, I may just be on something.
I'd love to hear your thoughts.