How Can I Help My Child Succeed in Gymnastics?
Criteria for Success in Gymnastics
As parents we like to fix things for our children. We like to protect them and make sure that they have the best chances possible to be successful in life. After all, that’s what good parents do, right? In a sport like gymnastics where the hours can be long, and the days can be either wonderful or really, hard, sometimes it’s difficult to know what to say or do to help your child succeed. Whether your child is in classes or on team, here are a few pointers on how to support your child in their sport.
1) Just Be There:
The first and, in my humble opinion, most important thing a parent can do to support their gymnast is to just be there for them. Be there to listen to the highs and the lows. Be there to give them a hug on a bad day and a high-five on a good day. Sit through the stories of skills you’ve never even head of before and be excited for the details your gymnast wants to share. It’s really that simple – just be there.
2) Leave the Gymnastics Coaching to the Coaches:
The next, very important way that you can help your child excel in gymnastics is to leave the coaching to the coaches. There is nothing more confusing for a young athlete than to have their coach explaining techniques and progressions for specific skills at the gym, only to get home and have mom and dad suggesting they try it this way or that way to make it “look better” or to make it “easier”. Most kids want to please their parents and their coaches and putting them in this position can leave them feeling torn.
3) Advocate for your child:
Finally, be your child’s advocate. Most of the time I would suggest allowing the coaches to do their jobs and just playing a support role as a parent, but there will be times in your child’s gymnastics career, particularly when they are in advanced team levels, when your child will need you to speak up for them. They may not always want you to, but they may need you to. There are a lot of times when a gymnast is hurting. This can be anything from muscle soreness to a stress fracture or anything in between. Often, they don’t want to tell their coaches that they hurt. It may be because they don’t want to take time off or they don’t want to disappoint their coaches – these are times to step in for your child. Good coaches want and need to know when their athletes are hurting.
Honestly, at times being a gymnastics parent can seem overwhelming, but really it doesn’t have to be. As a parent, you’re not responsible for your child’s growth in the sport. You’re just responsible for providing the opportunity and the support. The rest will work as it should.
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