Before Your Child’s First Meet
USA Gymnastics, @USAGym, Mar 2, 2018 Twitter
Your child has been working harder than ever and finally is ready for her first gymnastics meet! She’s excited and nervous and so are you! More than anything, you want your child to go out there and be rewarded for her hard work. You want her to have fun, and meets should be fun! In all of the nerves and excitement, it’s easy for well-intentioned parents to say and do things prior to a meet that may cause added nerves and extra pressure for their child. So, what shouldn’t you say or do to your child before their first meet?
Things Not to Say or Do Before a Meet…
- “Sweetie, you’re amazing! I just know you’re going to win the all-around!”
Talk about undo pressure! Once you begin talking about scores and placings with your child before a meet, that’s what they’re going to focus on, when they really need to be focused on their routines!
- “Well, if you don’t fall on beam, we’ll buy you that new game you’ve been wanting!!”
While this seems like a great motivational tool, it can backfire because the child hears, “if I don’t stick beam, I won’t get the game I want”. Then that’s all they think about during their whole beam routine, and if beam is first and they do fall, they spend the rest of the meet lamenting over the game they didn’t earn.
- “Little Suzy is good honey, but I think you can take her!”
I hope this one is just common sense, but don’t pit your child against a teammate. They have enough competition with other teams at the meet, they don’t need the added pressure of taking down their BFF Suzie. Again, this might seem like motivation at the time, but really it’s a whole lot of added stress.
Things Not to Do…
- Don’t provide your child with a sugary breakfast on a meet day. They need protein and complex carbs to fuel their competition
- Don’t let you child eat in their competition leotard without draping them with a drop cloth first! Those leos are expensive for one thing, and for another, there’s nothing worse for an athlete than showing up to a meet with a big ketchup stain down the front of their leo!
- Don’t get your child too revved up before bed. She will be nervous and excited enough without you adding to it. She needs a good night rest to do her best the next day.
- Finally, don’t be late! This seems like common sense too, but it happens more often than you’d like to think. If you want to really stress your child out before a meet, get them there in the middle of warm-ups! Definitely, plan and reverse plan and then plan again to ensure you’ll all make it to the meet on time!
These few tips will help you and your child have a happy and memorable first meet and many, many meets thereafter. Good luck and always…have fun!