Is My Child Ready for Team?
Gymnastics is a mentally and physically demanding sport. It requires a lot of time and dedication. In gymnastics, there is no “off-season”, and team kids usually train anywhere from 4-hours a week at the “pre-team” levels to 36-hours per week on the senior team levels. So, if you’re wondering if your child is ready for a team commitment, there are a few things to think about and to discuss with your child to decide for sure.
First things first…
If a coach has identified your child as one who would do well on team, listen to them. This means that your child has displayed, not only the athletic ability, but also the maturity level required to be a team gymnast. So, if you’re worried because you think your child isn’t mature enough, chances are, if she wasn’t – that coach never would’ve spoken to you in the first place. That being said, there is more to becoming a team gymnast than talent and maturity.
Here are a few additional things for you to consider when deciding on whether or not your child is ready for team.
- Does your child love gymnastics?
If she doesn’t, it doesn’t matter if she’s 4 or 14 or mature or immature, she’s not going to thrive in a team environment. The hours are too long and the commitment too great if your child doesn’t truly love the sport.
- Is your child resilient?
Does your child take correction well? Does she recover from setbacks easily? How does she handle frustration? These are all things to consider when deciding if your child is ready for team. I’m not saying that a child who isn’t resilient or who frustrates easily isn’t ready for team, it really does depend on the child. What I am saying is that there will be plenty of hard days at the gym. Days where skills don’t flow the way they should or coaches’ expectations aren’t quite met. These days can be devastating for a child who is very sensitive or who is not as resilient as others.
- Does your child understand the sacrifices she will make as a competitive gymnast?
It’s important to let your child know, up front, that their commitment to a gymnastics team will require many hours of training per week, plus certain weekends that will be consumed with competitions. They may have to miss out on school activities, birthday parties, and often, do not have time to fully pursue other passions. Refer back to point #1! Your child really should love this sport before committing to team!
All of these things considered, in the end, when deciding whether your child should be on team or not, there is no scientific formula. What it boils down to is what is in your child’s heart? If gymnastics has grabbed a hold in there, chances are she’ll be able to work the rest of it out.