“I don’t run away from a challenge because I am afraid. Instead, I run towards it because the only way to escape fear is to trample it beneath your foot.”
Meet season. The season where your gymnast is basically living at the gym practicing routines for the upcoming meets. Your gymnast is working his/her butt off to stick every landing, have perfect form, and make sure everything goes in his/her favor.
Meets can be tough. I have seen many gymnasts cry during meets because they fell off the beam, or didn’t land their bar dismount, and even forgot some skills on floor. There is a lot of pressure for gymnasts during meets. Not only are you watching your gymnast, but so are all of the other parents, grandparents, aunts, uncles, brothers, sisters, cousins, and friends. The judges are watching, and your gymnast’s coach is watching too.
It is typical for your gymnast to become nervous or have butterflies while competing. Gymnasts are brave because they have to put on a show for everyone who is watching, with all eyes on them. I don’t know about you, but I sure would be nervous if I had to do double back tucks on floor or land a side aerial on beam!
Your gymnast not only practices with their body, but he/she practices her mind as well. Your gymnast has to completely block out what is happening around him/her in order to concentrate on what he/she is doing. Gymnastics can be a very dangerous sport if your gymnast does not pay attention to what he/she is doing, therefore practicing confidence and focus is important.
If your gymnast makes a mistake during a meet, it is easy for him/her to become discouraged. He/she might not want to finish the event the mistake was made on because he/she may have a mental block. Sometimes gymnasts cannot get their mental block out of their heads and end up not performing to the best of their ability.
But you know what? It is OK. It is ok if your gymnast makes a mistake because your gymnast is only human! We learn from our mistakes, but it is important to keep encouraging your gymnast for motivation. Just because your gymnast fell, or didn’t land, or whatever it may be; your gymnast is still good enough to be on those mats!
This post is to help you talk with your gymnast when he/she is having, or had a bad meet.
Communication is key no matter what the situation may be. If your gymnast does not want to get back up after he/she fell down it is most likely because he/she is embarrassed or got hurt. It is important to talk with your gymnast after these things happen. I cannot stress enough how much talking to your gymnast can encourage him/her to get back up, or feel OK.
Your gymnast does not want to disappoint himself/herself, his/her coach, or you. Your gymnast may think that you are upset with him/her, so reassuring your gymnast to let him/her know that you are proud of his/her hard work and that you believe in him/her can help change your gymnast’s mindset.
You have to accept the fact that your gymnast is having a bad meet if that is the case. Your gymnast does not want to hear you yelling at him/her or interrogating him/her. I know it may be easy to get upset with your athlete if they do not win, but it is not about winning.
Your gymnast is committing all of his/her time to gymnastics, and mistakes are going to be made. Your gymnast will never be able to get it out of his/her head if you keep bringing up their mistake or give them a hard time about it. If anything, it would cause a mental block which is something that would definitely prevent your gymnast from working to the best of their ability. Your gymnast is capable of doing anything he/she puts his/her mind to and if you are telling him/her otherwise then your gymnast will have trouble moving forward.
The biggest thing your gymnast needs after or during a bad meet is support. Letting your gymnast know that you support him/her will help your gymnast mentally. If your gymnast does not want to get back up after he/she fell, you should show support by still letting your gymnast know that they are doing great and that it is OK to take a step back.
Your gymnast needs to be OK with himself/herself mentally in order to get back up. You are your gymnast’s number one fan, so always cheer him/her on regardless of the situation. Gabby Douglas once said, “Hard days are the best days because that’s when champions are made.” This is a quote that you can say to your gymnast when he/she is feeling discouraged. Remind your gymnast that hard work will pay off!
Like I mentioned earlier in this post, your gymnast is only human. Communication, acceptance, and support are the three things to keep in mind when your gymnast’s meet did not go so well. Regardless of how you may feel during the meet, try your best to keep yourself together for the sake of your gymnast. Meets are not easy, nowhere near easy! Gymnasts practice all year for meets and nerves can definitely get in the way.
Your gymnast is going to need you to lean on during the rough times, so listening to your gymnast’s feelings will help you understand him/her better. There is also the possibilities of meeting with your gymnast’s coaches and talking to them if your gymnast feels a certain way.
Please comment below if you have any suggestions, tips/advice, or questions on the subject of this post. We are always open to feedback and bringing together the gymnastics community!