Your son or daughter’s first gymnastics meet is coming up and you are probably beside yourself with excitement. You’ve been to practices, you’ve talked to the coaches, and even older team members parents, so you think you’re good to go, right? Nope. No matter how prepared you think you are, you are probably going to be confused the moment you walk into your son or daughter’s first meet. Below, we have gathered several tips regarding what parents need to know at the first gymnastics meet.
Understanding the Meet Schedule
The first time you look at your son or daughter’s meet schedule, you are likely utterly confused. The schedule is divided into sessions and levels. Some gyms will post all schedules in a communal location, but only give you the schedule that pertains to your gymnast. In general, lower level teams get early morning sessions, and more experienced teams get later schedules. What this means when you first start traveling to meets is that you will likely have to get up and get going early in the morning. The schedule itself will give you important information regarding the time the gym opens, when stretching is required, warm-up schedule, competition start time, and awards. It’s important to note that the exact time and date of your gymnast’s meet might not be available until a week or so before the competition is scheduled.
Arriving at the Gym
As a rule, you want to arrive at the gym your gymnasts is competing in at least 10 minutes before the gym opens. If you can’t get there then, you need to make sure your gymnast arrives before open stretch starts. Arriving early helps your gymnast get a feel for the gym and helps you get a great parking spot.
Capital Cup or Traditional Format
When you travel to a gym, there are two main competition formats; capital cup and traditional. In a capital cup format, your gymnast will warm up an event and then complete it. In the traditional format, your gymnast will warm up all events, and then complete them in order.
Cheering, Recording, and Keeping Track of Scores
During the competition, your only job is to cheer, record routines, and keep track of event scores. When your gymnast is done competing, coaches will likely send them back to you for just a few minutes before awards. No matter what went on during a competition, it’s your job to give your gymnast lots of love, hugs, and encouragement before they walk back out to the gym for awards.
When you are watching your son or daughter at a meet, you need to remember you are a spectator. Don’t try to be a judge or a coach, just be a supportive parent who is eager to watch your gymnast shine. To be a responsible spectator, you need to follow the rules below.
- Turn off your flash
- Don’t enter the competition area
- Record scores (get a program, it’s the easiest way)
Boys Gymnastics Meet Event Schedules
Boy and girl gymnasts have different events and schedules. The Olympic order for boys’ gymnastics meets is:
- Parallel Bars
- High Bar
During a boys’ gymnastics meet competition, you may see boys competing in 4 or 6 events at the same time. Understanding the order will help you determine where your athlete will be going to next.
Understanding Gymnastics Event Scores
Gymnasts are often excited to see their scores and are a mystery to their parents and other spectators. A perfect girl’s score would be 10.0. Boys’ scores are tallied differently under the Federation of International Gymnastics. Boys’ scores are based on 10.0 for execution and also include a difficulty rating. Often the first number you will see will be the start value of the routine if it is perfect. The second score is the score after all deductions were taken. At some meets, the execution score is the only score you may see. Scores for each event determine where your gymnast will place on that apparatus. Scores from all events are added together to get an athlete’s all-around score. In a team meet, the top 3 scores from each event will be added together for team placement. No matter how a score is determined, the individual or team with the highest score wins.
Scheduling, Supporting, Spectating, and Scoring
As a new gymnast’s parent, you need to make yourself familiar and comfortable with scheduling, supporting, spectating and scoring. When you get the hang of the 4 s’s mentioned above, you will be more comfortable with the meet process. In fact, as your gymnast improves throughout the season, you will too. When your gymnast enters their 2nd or 3rd year of competitive gymnastics, you will be an old pro, and newbie parents will be looking to you for guidance.
Hopefully, this can be a good “guide” for new gymnastics parents and your first meet will be exciting for you and your gymnast.
Photo Credit: Rich Dionne