As parent or guardian of a gymnast we all want to see them achieve their very best. We have put them into their classes hoping to see them flourish and grow into their full personal and gymnastics potential. While that is fantastic, the truth is, they are still people who will feel down on themselves every now and again. That’s when you become vital to their development, as they are still young people, they don’t yet have the full mental capacity to handle stressful situations on their own.
Coaches will try their best to build a gymnast’s spirits back up, no matter how long it takes. However, with your direct support by setting your child up for success before they even step into the gym will benefit everybody involved!
Here’s how you could refocus and guide your gymnast:
Listen to them.
This might seem obvious. Yet how often do we find ourselves projecting our own opinions onto others? Encourage your gymnast to confide in you about how they are feeling, and what they might like to be done about it. Allowing a child to be involved in their decision making WITH you will only build a feeling of trust. The more they trust you, the more likely they are to open about their thoughts and feelings without the potential feeling of disappointment.
Praise their efforts.
We would like to think that we tell our children how proud we are of them often, but sometimes being specific about an action we are proud of can help build character for your child. If you simply tell them “good job” that feels rewarding in the moments. If you were to say, “good job on rings today, you had lots of tries even though you were tired”, your child is going to remember that for next time.
Give them time to rest.
Gymnastics is a physically and mentally demanding sport. It is to be expected that a gymnast of any age will need time to recover and rest. I would also go as far to say that is the same for all sports. Where as most sports seasons run over the winter or summer, gymnastics runs all year round. If they need a week or two off to focus on something else, that’s ok. It doesn’t mean they aren’t progressing at all, it just means they are operating at their own pace.
Communicate this with their coach.
Building a trust worthy relationship with your child’s coach is important for many reasons, but most importantly they are going to be your child’s support down in the gym. If your gymnast has been feeling upset about coming to gymnastics, make sure you communicate that with the gym or the coach, so they can be especially attentive to their needs and emotions. Coaches have a whole range of teaching tactics they can use, and the more information they have about a gymnast… the more the gymnast will get out of their lessons!
Children are incredibly resilient, and with the proper guidance, support and educational environment they can truly flourish. Give them time, kind words and they can achieve anything.
SKILLS FOR LIFE
Signing off for now,