So, your gymnast wants to quit gymnastics.
This is probably something you never imagined happening, how is this possible? Your gymnast has been so involved with gymnastics basically her entire life. She has spent so many hours dedicating and committing herself to the sport, and you just cannot fathom why she does not want to do gymnastics anymore.
Many people deal with this problem every day, so have no fear when it happens to you because you are not alone.
Sometimes it is the parent that wants their gymnast to stop, and other times it is the gymnast herself. Whatever the reason may be, I have provided three main points below that can help you and your gymnast come to a decision.
Communication is key in every type of relationship. If you or your gymnast is starting to have a problem with the sport it is best to talk to each other to be able to make the right decision. It is important for your gymnast to have trust in you and vice versa. Explain to your gymnast that you are there for her and to not be scared to come to you when she has negative feelings towards the sport. Reassure her that you will not be mad if she does not want to be involved in the sport anymore, and let her know that you are proud of her no matter what happens. Before letting your little gymnast quit the sport, make sure it is something she does want to do. When your gymnast comes to you with this issue, make sure to get to the core of it and that it is not just a temporary feeling.
If you, as the parent, are the one that wants your gymnast to quit the sport it is important to talk with your gymnast and let her express her feelings as well. Maybe tell her that she needs to take a break and be honest why you feel this way; just because your gymnast cannot participate in the sport right now does not mean she will never be involved again. If your gymnast is really upset with the decision, maybe you can start by cutting down the days/hours the sport takes up or let her pick a seasonal sport to try instead of quitting cold turkey.
Coming to an agreement and bargaining will help the process regardless of the situation.
Also, remember that your gymnast’s coaches are there to talk to as well. Many girls want to quit after an injury, mental block, or just not performing to their full potential during a meet. People within the gymnastics community understand how hard the sport is and how it is not only physical but mental as well. Learning skills can take weeks and even months to perfect because gymnasts sometimes get nervous and have mental blocks that prevent them from doing what they are capable of doing. Your gymnast’s coaches are the ones who know her best when it comes to the sport because they are training her and practicing with her every single day. The coaches will have the best advice and will know exactly what to do when it comes to one of their gymnasts wanting to quit, and they may even be able to change her mind.
Let your gymnast try different things
Maybe your gymnast wants to quit because she is tired of doing the same sport all year round. Maybe she is tired of seeing the same group of people every day and wants to meet new friends. Maybe she had a fight with a teammate. Maybe your gymnast just does not like gymnastics as much as she once did and wants to be involved with different things.
Please know that this is all okay. My youngest cousin was a gymnast for a handful of years. She loved the sport, was at the gym every day, was always doing back handsprings, back tucks, handstands, cartwheels, you name it. By the time she entered middle school it was like something changed. She would cry when it was time for practice, would hate missing out on birthday parties or play dates, was always tired by the time school and gymnastics was over and ended up not putting all her effort into the sport.
My aunt and uncle did not want her to quit because they saw the talent she had. They would make her go to practices and meets and to be honest, it made the situation worse. It came to the point where my cousin was being persistent and flat out said she does not want to do gymnastics anymore. After my aunt and uncle talked to her they found out it is because CYO sports (Catholic School) kicked in and she wanted to try different sports with her friends. She did not want to miss out on other sports that she felt she would be better at and would enjoy more.
She participated in other sports with her friends and it turned out that softball became second nature to her. She is now on two travel teams and still plays CYO. She has different groups of friends from all of the different teams and doesn’t always have to miss out on parties or sleepovers. She is so much happier, and my aunt and uncle accepted this because they wanted what was best for their daughter and her interests.
You can’t force your little athlete into doing something she doesn’t like. She will grow to resent the sport even more, or even worse…she will have bitter feelings towards you and feel like she cannot express her feelings to you.
It is healthy to let your little gymnast try different things like I said earlier in this post: Just because your gymnast wants to quit NOW does not mean she will quit FOREVER. Sometimes a break is good, especially from such a very hard and competitive one.
Support your child if quitting is the final decision
Many parents love going to the meets and dressing their gymnast in the fancy, sparkly leos with the ribbons and bows hugging the ponytail. This is something a gym mom or dad would definitely miss, but who could blame them? Like I also mentioned in the communication column above, supporting your gymnast’s decision is foremost.
If you reject your child’s wish of wanting to quit then you may be perceived as a “bad parent”. I am definitely not sitting here and calling you a bad parent but putting your child’s feelings first will produce a healthy relationship.
When your child becomes older it is only natural for her to become interested in different things. She might not find gymnastics as fun as she once used to and rather be involved with clubs at school, other sports, or even just take a break from it all in general. Your child reaches out to you for guidance and support, she just wants to make sure that you respect her decision nevertheless you want her to quit or not.
Please feel free to comment below with any advice or experiences that you have when it comes to your gymnast wanting to quit gymnastics!