Due to us having new team members join, we have compiled a few of our favorite articles into a Top 7 list to help our new parents, and a little helpful tool and reminder for our current parents, on how to help your child achieve the most out of this sport!
#1. Trust the coaches!
- Leave the coaching to the coaches: We understand that you want the best for your child and you know the best for your child; that’s why you brought them here right?! As a coach, we feel the same way. When you start to coach your child in the lobby, or in the stands, all it does is confuse your child on who they need to listen to. It’s just best to leave the coaching to the coaches!
- Trust that your coaches know how to handle situations with your child: If your child is hurt, scared, being defiant, angry, etc. most of you will want to get up out of your chair and go protect them (which is completely normal!!). The best way to handle any situation like that is to leave it to the coaches. If the coaches need you, they will come get you, or come up to you after class to inform you on the situation. It helps build a trust and relationship with the gymnast and coaches which will then, surprisingly enough, help them achieve much more in the sport.
- Direct questions about practice to coaches: There will be times in this sport where your child will come home frustrated, sad, tired, angry, etc. about a practice they had. Just know these days will happen. They will tell you all about it, and you most likely will be supportive parents and be on their side 100%. Generally when this happens however, comes the blame game, and that is directed at the coaches. Just know there are always two sides to every story. To resolve this, if you are unhappy with how your child went home from practice, contact the coaches directly to see what happened rather than getting upset with them. It all generally ends up with a misunderstanding or miscommunication and can be resolved immediately.
#2 Be on time!!!!
We can’t stress this one enough! Believe it or not, what you see your child doing in practice is not random! The coaches have spent countless hours going over lesson plans and structuring them a certain way. So when your child is late, or they leave early, they are missing crucial parts of a warm-up, or conditioning which can then lead to injuries. You will be amazed at what can be accomplished in 5 minutes.
#3 Be supportive!
- Be their #1 fan: As a gymnast, you get critiqued quite a lot. You are judged on your routine by the judges, and the coaches are constantly trying to make you better by giving you lots of corrections during practice. The last thing they need is to go home and get critiqued in the sport by their family! Your role for them during this sport is very crucial. They work so hard during practice to show you what they have accomplished during competitions. Please try and keep all of this in mind, and instead of saying “you should have kept your legs straight” or “if you only have stuck that landing” try just congratulating them on a job well done or say something like “you’ll get ’em next time”. It will make a world of a difference in their lives!
- Support even on the bad days: There will be bad days! That is life, it will happen and it will help your little gymnasts grow and become stronger. Do not worry when this happens. We know, you will support them as much as you can, just try and encourage them to get through it. Perseverance is a life lesson that every kid should learn early in their life.
#4 Nutrition is VERY important.
We know you are very busy parents. And we also know that you like to treat your kids to yummy foods. All of this is OK! Here are some pointers from previous gymnasts, and coaches:
- Protein, no matter what kind, is always good for building muscle which in turn will help your child progress in the sport.
- Sports drinks are full of sugar! The best thing you can have your child drink is water water water.
- When coaches hear: “Miss Suzy, guess what I had before practice, Ice Cream!” they cringe. Having ice cream is great! We all love it! But having sweets before and during practice will not give them the correct energy they need to get through a rough 4-6 hour practice. Healthy snacks and meals are the way to go!
As a parent, constantly being at practice, is not necessary. To be completely honest, kids perform better when their parent is not present vs. when they are watching all the time. Checking in on your child’s progress is always great. Being there every second, every practice has a strain on the child, and therefore a strain on the trust between the coaches and gymnasts.
#6 Comparing your child’s progress to others is a recipe for disaster:
Gymnasts excel at different rates. Something that is very common, is when parents compare their children who may not be doing as well, to kids that are winning every meet! Sometimes it is frustrating to watch when all you want is your child to be up on the podium after every competition. What us coaches want to stress is this could put a damper on your relationship with your child and will in turn put a damper on your child and the sport that they love. Some progress faster than others, it happens. What you should try and do instead, is to one, see if they are happy. If they love going to practice each and every single day, there isn’t much you should worry about! Two, are they progressing. Not necessarily how you want them to progress, but from where they started, have they gotten better. As coaches, we understand some pick up skills and conditioning faster than others. That DOES NOT mean they are better than the other. We tend to have different goals depending on how each kid progresses. You can do the same!
#7 This sport is so much more than just gymnastics:
You brought your child into the greatest sport of all time! (this might be a little bias coming from a coach :)) Here are just a few, in no particular order, of the many ways gymnastics is much more than just flipping!
- Fitness– The most obvious choice is how fit and healthy these young athletes become! At a young age they are put through tough strength training teaching them about physical fitness. They soon realize that doing gymnastics (being active) is fun! What better way to show kids that being active is actually fun and not a chore. This in turn will help them choose to play outside and be active vs. choosing to be on the couch when its nice outside etc. T
- Social Skills- This helps in every aspect of life! In gymnastics, they learn to become part of a team. They build friendships and relationships with their coaches. They learn how to communicate (something we work on ALL the time in our gym) when something is bothering them, hurting them, or frustrating them, or just makes them happy!
- Work Ethic- This is a big one! In our gym, gymnasts are given assignments that they must finish or there will be consequences. They are taught time management with these assignments. You get your assignment finished, you get to work other things! Even learning their routines, and coming to practice every day, they go to those competitions and have something to show for their hard work. So seeing how hard you have to work, and have something awesome to show for, will in turn help them out at a possible job later down the road, or even something simple as finishing their chores around the house! They also are in the gym several hours per week which means they need to learn how to juggle something they love with school work! It is a tough one, but those who now how to get through it will be very successful down the road.
- Discipline- Learning how to stand in line, wait for your turn, sharing with others are all a part of gymnastics. They are also taught how to listen to their coaches and fix the corrections they give them. They are taught proper etiquette while being in the gym, not running across the floor when girls are tumbling, or at a competition, don’t run in front of the judges, be respectful of others.
As you can see the list can go on and on! Gymnastics is a great sport and we hope, with your help parents, we can show everyone we cross paths with just how amazing it truly is!