“We work hard every day. It’s hard to do things by yourself, but as a team you can go so far.”
-Laurie Hernandez in Rio after USA won a gold medal in gymnastics
That says it all, doesn’t it? How do you think the USA women’s gymnastics team dominated the Rio Olympics? Was it because they only focused on themselves and did not cheer on their teammates? Or is it because they were there for each other and had each other’s backs?
Gymnastics is a competitive sport and when it comes to meets, gymnasts perform their routines individually. Each gymnast receives a different score than one another but that does not mean they are not a team. Like I mentioned in another post that I have recently just written, gymnasts individually rack up scores that are combined together to give the total score as a team. Even though your gymnast is great at what she does, I am sure she is even stronger when it comes to being part of her team.
It Seriously Takes Time
It is not always easy to become friends with your teammates, it definitely takes time. I say this because not everyone is going to like each other at first, it takes awhile before you really get to know someone. Gymnasts train with their team for days, weeks, months, and even years. Sometimes gymnasts move up levels, switch gyms, or even quit to try something new so it can be hard to become close with some teammates. Is this always the case? Absolutely not. Your gymnast spends a huge majority of her time with her teammates which leads to getting to know them. She will be able to see how they act, how far they are able to push their bodies when it comes to learning skills and get to learn what their interests are beside gymnastics.
Support, Support, and MORE Support
This is seriously SO important. I have seen bad sportsmanship/bad support from a situation that happened with a gymnast I know. A few of her teammates, along with their parents, could not show happiness towards the gymnast I know when it was announced that she will compete in a few Elite meets this season. How is that fair? It made the gymnast I know uncomfortable and confused when people started treating her differently, and it is all because she was being rewarded for all of her dedication, determination, and hard work.
Support is very big when it comes to gymnastics because this sport is all in the mind. Gymnasts have mental blocks all of the time, it’s very common, but gymnasts need their teammates for that support to help them get through their fears and cheer them on. It is hard to perform the routines, especially when it is individually. Your gymnast’s teammates are the only ones that truly understand your gymnast and how difficult skills can be. Mental and physical support is great for your gymnast’s well-being as well as giving her confidence, so she feels cared about. You want the best for your gymnast and her team so please, if there ever is a situation where your gymnast feels uncomfortable, confront your gymnast’s coach so he/she can have a talk with the team.
Being a Team Means Being Together
Being a team means being together. It means that you win together and lose together. It is laughing together and crying together. It is putting arms around each other and being each other’s shoulder to cry on. But there is something that I do want to state, just because your gymnast’s team didn’t win first, second, third, fourth, or even fifth place does not mean that they truly lost. Your gymnast and her team work day in and day out to get to where they are today. They put so much effort, so much sweat and definitely a lot of tears to be where they are. Just because your gymnast’s team did not receive an award physically, they should still be smiling to each other because they rewarded each other mentally.
Things do happen. Maybe during meet season a few gymnasts are sick or have gotten hurt, therefore, they were not able to perform their routines to the best of their ability causing deductions in scores causing the team to be in a lower ranking. Even if that is the case, it’s okay. Your gymnast and her team are always going to improve and sometimes things happen that are out of your gymnast’s control as well as out of your own control. What is important is that your gymnast’s team still support her and tell her a job well done even after she falls off the beam or forgot her back handspring during her floor routine. It honestly doesn’t matter what the situation may be, your gymnast is there with her team and is competing alongside her team.
It is very easy for your gymnast to focus on her own self and her own goals and her own responsibilities. I am not saying that is wrong because we do need that time to ourselves, but her team is the first priority when it comes down to accomplishing true success. Your gymnast’s respect to her team will go a long way, that’s for sure. Something to remember as well is that your gymnast’s coaches want to see the team work together as a team. They want their gymnasts to rely on each other and help each other out. They want the team to work together and be encouraging towards each other. The coaches want their gymnasts to have a positive attitude and encourage each other. The coaches want their gymnasts to take responsibility for their actions and to be able to talk out their problems and solve them. Sometimes your gymnast might not be able to talk to anyone besides their teammates when she is going through a conflict because she knows her teammates will listen. Like I said, being a team means being together.
Please feel free to comment and share experiences with us that can help improve or add onto this post!
Photo Credit: Ronald Martinez/Getty Images